The number one concern is safety. The second concern is comfort.
Style and performance at this level are not really a factor. But if you are inclined to put your child in the latest and greatest gear, by all means go for it. (As long as the extra expense doesn’t cause you put your child in a size they will “grow into”.)
It is mandatory that all the following gear be worn before any player goes onto the ice. Should any official coach or manager notice a player is missing gear or is concerned about a safety issue the player will be removed from the ice immediately.
Take the time to make sure all gear fits properly and does not have any cracks or missing padding. Here are some more specific guidelines for sizing:
This is the most important piece of equipment and you should always buy new. Hairline cracks in used equipment can be hard to detect. And it’s protecting the most important part of your child. It should be comfortable–not be so snug that it will give them a headache. The child’s chin should rest in the chin cup. And the chin strap must be done up and should not be dangling or constricting the throat. Make sure the helmet has a CSA sticker and is approved for ice hockey. WVMHA uses black coloured helmets.
Fit Tip: Ask your kid to shake their head “no”. If the helmet moves around more than their head, it’s too big.
Are not yet mandatory. Some players do wear mouth guards and we recommend you consult your dentist or family doctor regarding the benefits or hazards. If your child does wear a mouth guard it is recommended the guard is secured to the face mask to avoid being swallowed.
All kids need to wear a Kevlar neck protector. The less expensive model is stiffer and is more likely to stay in position.
These should rest in position without constricting, or wobbling. And must not extend past the elbow.
Fit-Tip: Have your child put them on and take them off in the store. This will point out if the head hole is too small.
These should protect above and below the joint, and not wobble.
These should protect against sticks and provide good freedom of movement when holding a stick, handling the puck.
Fit-Tip: Drop a stick on the ground and ask them to pick it up with their gloves on. This is how the gloves will be most commonly used during the first few practices.
Most models do not require suspenders. Make sure all of the padding is in place. Even with new gear. The pants should hang to the middle of the knee cap.
Fit-Tip: Ask the child to put them on and sit on the ground and get up a few times. Any issues will quickly become apparent. This activity will be frequently repeated on the ice.
Don’t be afraid to try multiple pairs in different sizes to get the right fit. The best models imitate the Jofa molded-knee-cup design.
Fit-Tip: When they drop to one knee, place the pad on the leg that is still upright. You can see if the shin pad is too short (doesn’t quite reach their instep) or too long (floats above the top of their knee).
Look into “Jock” (or “Jill” for girls) shorts. They looks like soccer shorts and have Velcro patches that hold up the socks and a built in protector cup. At this age, anything they can put on by themselves gets “two thumbs up”.
This is the trickiest thing to size because their feet grow so quickly, and you can’t really find their toes by squeezing.
Fit Tip: Have your child wiggle their foot so their toe just touches the front of the skate-but still keeping the foot flat. While the skates are still untied, you should be able to fit 1 to one-and-a-half fingers between their heel and the back of the skate. Two fingers deep = too big.
Once you’ve selected the proper skates, the next important step is lacing them up. The skate should be laced in a cross-laced manner keeping pressure on the laces as you go. Start from the toe and tighten up the laces towards the ankle area. The bottom three or four eyelets over the ball of the foot should be pulled tight with moderate tension. The next three eyelets should be pulled tight enough to close the leather around the arch of you foot and take up slack. However, don’t pull too tight or circulation can be cut off. The final top three or four eyelets should be pulled tight gathering all of the loose leather around the upper ankle area. Many players do not lace the top eyelet so their ankle has more room to move and they can bend their knees more effectively. Players should never wrap their laces around the ankles of their skates or tape their ankles. It is important to allow complete flexibility in your ankles, wrapping or taping restricts the amount of movement. Remember that the counter is what provides the proper support, not the ankles.
Make sure your child can pick up their stick with their gloves on. Length is usually up to around the mouth or chin with their skates on. They should be able to comfortably move the but end across their body while stick handling on the ice. An elbow jutted up in the air is also a dead give-away. Hockey tape must be wrapped around the butt end of the stick to form a knob that is large enough so the end of the stick cannot go through the face mask. The knob also makes it easier for the skater to pick the stick up off the ice.
Fit Tip: Look for tape wear on the bottom of the stick blade. It should be even. Too much wear on the heel means the stick is too long. Too much wear on the tip means it’s too short.
Clear plastic tape may be needed to secure wobbly shin pads.
Cloth “Hockey” tape is used for blade and butt-end of the stick.
Time Out Source for Sports in North Vancouver has excellent WVMHA specific gear and is a recommended supplier: http://www.timeoutsports.ca
North Shore Sport Swap is always an option for new and used equipment.
2021 Old Dollarton Road, North Vancouver
(604) 983-2272 http://www.nssportsswap.ca
Sportchek at Park Royal has fair prices, broad selection and an excellent skate trade-in program.
Larry’s in North Van also has high-end equipment and extremely knowledgeable staff.
Likewise for Scoff’s in Burnaby. (http://scoffshockey.ca)
Check all your gear before you leave home. If your child is missing any equipment he or she won’t be allowed on the ice!
Pack gear in bag in the order it is going to be put on, from the top down. It saves time not hunting through the bag.
Dress in the following order
Tips, Tricks and other things you need to know!