The equipment strapped onto your head, elbows and knees whenever you take to the ice is specifically designed to take a beating and still provide ample protection. Ice hockey gear can only handle so much of a pounding, however, before straps start to fray or screws start to wobble. At this point, damaged equipment becomes a major liability to health and safety. Whether you’re preparing for opening night of the season or the championship game, take precautions now with your equipment to increase its lifespan.
No other piece of gear in the hockey bag will spend its entire life in such close contact to ice and water as your skate’s blades. As anyone who has left a bike out in the rain knows, metal and water make for a very messy combination. Immediately after each game, wipe your skate’s blades with a dry towel — not a sweaty article of clothing or a rag that has been in a humid bag for weeks. When keeping your skates in your hockey bag, use skate guards to make certain that further moisture does not come into contact with any metal parts. Finally, ensure that the skate rivets — which connect the metal blades to the underside of the skate boot — remain tight. Whenever you sharpen blades at a pro shop, ask for the rivets to be tightened. It’s possible to buy a riveting machine if you have the funds and prefer repairing your equipment without a professional’s help.
There are fewer sweat glands in the hands than in most other areas of the body, but after a long intense game, you can be certain your gloves will be drenched. Gloves that have been too wet for too long will begin to lose the attachments connecting the leather to the fabric — forming massive seams that affect your ability to handle a hockey stick and create blisters. Air dry gloves by placing them on a peg close to an open window or a fan. If you find any small seams within the contours of your gloves, do not use tape or superglue to repair the area. Instead, put a small patch of leather over the hole and use a sewing needle and thread to patch your mitts.
Helmets need to be able to take the most amount of punishment to protect the most important part of your body. A helmet’s plastic frame is able to withstand immense force, but only if the screws holding it together are firmly in place. Always check the screws connecting the helmet clasps to the frame prior to each game; and never use a helmet with even one loose screw. Keep a screwdriver in your hockey bag to tighten helmet sockets before and after games. Just like the helmet, a visor must keep pucks and sticks away from your vision. If you use a visor, ensure it is covered within your bag. NHL teams recommend covering visors with hockey socks in order to prevent scratches or loose screws. A helmet bag can provide excellent protection for both helmet and visor — off the ice.
The hard plastic and fabric that keeps your elbows and shins from hitting the ice or a teammate or the boards are more durable than nearly every other piece of hockey equipment because there are no metal parts that can become loose. Even so, the Velcro straps on pads need to be checked frequently and replaced when necessary. Just like with gloves, it’s important to dry pads after each game so moisture does not wear away at the soft parts; likewise, never repair faulty Velcro straps with glue or tape.
About the Author:
Erin Wozniak is the Director of Marketing for Pro Stock Hockey, an online resource for pro stock hockey equipment, including hockey pants, sticks and more. PSH offers new and “dented” gear to help you find what you’re looking for at an affordable price. Erin is passionate about hockey and remains a devoted Chicago Blackhawks fan.