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What Equipment is Required for Hockey?

Now that you have decided to join a team, you are going to need to start thinking about assembling your very own set of hockey equipment. There are several fundamental things that you are going to want to buy, and some of them might not be as obvious to you as others. When you get to the athletic supply store, these are some of the things that you will be looking at.

There are three essential bits of gear which are entirely necessary if you get the chance at all of participating in this sport. If you don’t have these items at the very least, you just can’t play.

Without good quality skates, you won’t be able to streak around the ice as fast or as accurately as you will need to. Unless you have a stick, you are going to be kicking the puck a lot. And without a helmet, you run the risk of serious injury, perhaps even death.

So there are at least those three items that you will need to get sorted out. The skates should fit you well and provide enough ankle support for you to make those hard turns and braking maneuvers. You will be wearing them for possibly more than a couple of hours at a time, so it is also a good to make sure they are both comfortable and warm. Your feet will swell a bit after you have been skating for a while, so be sure to take that into account.

The stick comes in two basic varieties. The curvature of the blade is different for left handed and right handed players, and if you get the wrong kind, you will find it almost impossible to handle the puck properly.

Also, make sure that the stick is long enough that you can use it effectively but not so much time as to be cumbersome. NHL rules prohibit sticks longer than sixty-three inches, and the usual range is between forty-six and sixty-three inches. A good rule of thumb is that the end of the stick should come to your chin when you have all year gear, uniform and are standing in your skates.

Your helmet is most definitely the most important piece of gear that you will buy. A good face mask or shield will be helpful, and the helmet must fit snugly. Make sure it is rated by a standards board to be used as a protective device. It is not usually a good idea to opt for a cheaper helmet when you can afford one of higher quality. Head injuries are common and often traumatic in this sport.

In conclusion, Pads, gloves, and of course a crotch protector are all going to be good ideas as well. But so long as you have a helmet, a stick, and some skates you are well on your way to being the next Guy LaFleur. Take your time and select the best hockey equipment you can afford, or that simply fits your budget. It will probably be worth it in the end.

Dangers of Playing Ice Hockey

Hockey is both enjoyable and yet, one of the most dangerous sports ever played. Most hockey players get hurt in the process of playing this game. If you choose to play hockey, you need to be physically fit. You might have trained well on how to play this game and still get injuries. Hockey players can be severely injured while playing this rough sport. The reason for injuries is because the team players usually end up fighting during the game. Also, players very often slip and fall when playing this game. Why is hockey such a violent sport? Let’s take a look.

Head injuries
Most players normally get head injuries after playing ice hockey. You are likely to get head injuries after coming into contact with a fellow player or with the boards. You are also likely to get head injuries due to slipping and falling. Head injuries can lead to problems such as loss of balance and dizziness at best, but concussions are unfortunately prevalent. You are also likely to develop other injuries such as facial lacerations and bruises.

(Here are a few safety tips)

Back pain
One has to be aggressive when playing hockey. In this sport, you have to bend your knees. Bending the knees help to lower the center of gravity. This posture can make you develop back pains and injuries. If you are playing ice hockey, it is advisable that you stay close to the ice so that you can defend adequately. However, you are likely to develop back pains after the game is over.

Loss of teeth
A hockey puck struck with the hockey stick can reach a speed of 150 miles per hour. If you are hit with this heavy puck, at best, it will leave you with a bruise. But, if you are hit in the face, you are likely to lose your teeth. Depending on the speed, a puck that hits an uncovered head can be fatal.

You can readily play this game with your teens or kids. However, it is important that you be cautious when playing this game. Ensure that you have hockey gear so that you can play effectively. Ice hockey can be enjoyable but can dangerous at times. Millions of hockey players normally suffer from broken bones each year. Some of them have even been hit with the puck. Others have lost their teeth in a fight that ensued. Some of them are not able to play this game again. Regardless of how careful you are, you are likely to get an injury at one time or another. If you are planning to play hockey, you should be ready to encounter the above-mentioned dangers and be sure to buy the right protective gear.

 

6 Tips for Ice Hockey Skating Skills

There is a lot to learn when it comes to ice skating for hockey. You’ll need to get a good coach and do your research taking advantage of online tutorials and videos. But for starters, we’ve listed a few tips to keep in mind as you beginning your training in this action-filled sport.

1. Find the right skate:
You need the perfect fitting skates to skate well on the ice. One way to measure for proper size is to take the sole out of the skate and match it up to your bare foot. So long as the edge of the sole is just under a half an inch, you are good to go. Your toes will be cramped if your skate is too short, which will cause your heel to lift by the arch that is created in your foot. You don’t want skates that are too big either. Loose skates will cause you to trip over your own feet and leave the heel wobbly causing you to lose control on the ice. You need your heel to be snug in the skate and strapped tightly around the ankle to give you support as you increase your speed on the ice.

Don’t spend too little time picking out a pair of skates. Do your research, then go to a specialty store and speak to a professional who will offer you the right brand for what you’re attempting to achieve.

2. Push yourself to new limits
Often when skating, we get accustomed to having fun without pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zone. We usually will let the weight of our body lead us, rather than choosing to mentally take the lead, and training your body to follow. You have to fight the urge to get lazy by aggressively thrusting yourself in a controlled and deliberate manner across the ice. It’s crucial that you are conscious of each part of your body and its movements instead of skating without thinking relying on old beginner habits.

3. Keep your knees bent
You have better balance on the ice when your knees are approximately two inches out over your skates, at about a 90-degree bend. Your belly at this angle is the center of gravity helping you to stay on your feet. You need one dramatically bent knee to allow you to push off with your other leg enabling you to gain a decent speed while covering a great distance.

4. Practice your speed while holding your stick
During the game, you’ll always have your hockey stick, so it’s a good idea to practice your speed skating with your stick as well. You’ll have to get used to switching hands routinely and keeping your balance without losing speed. Also, you’ll want to practice speed skating while moving your arms forward and back rather than side to side so you can propel yourself forward and keep momentum.

5. Keep your hips in line with your skates
Every beginner is tempted to keep their eyes attached to their feet as they skate. Routinely looking down is a mistake, though, a very natural tendency. This habit will not help you better your performance, so keep your eyes straight ahead to maintain your balance and accuracy.

6. Wear proper gear and don’t be afraid to fall.
It’s ok to fall! The best skaters are those who wear durable protective gear and aren’t afraid to give it their all, even when they fall repeatedly. Every slip-up or mistake that you make will only improve your skating skills.

So, here are a few tips to get you going. Remember, practice makes perfect. You’d be wise to set aside large blocks of time for practice and most of all, be patient with yourself as achieving a professional level of ice hockey skills will take years.

Here’s more:

 

Choosing the Perfect Ice Hockey Skate

When choosing new hockey skates, it’s crucial that you find a pair that is durable and fits your foot well. If it’s your first time playing hockey or getting involved in the sport, it’s good to find a skate that will allow you to grow in skill and experience at every level at the start, and down the road. Eventually, you will need to purchase the highest quality professional skates, assuming you stick with the sport.

For those who are just testing out the sport to see if it’s one you’ll enjoy, it’s most likely you’d find what you are looking for in sports related department stores, or you could even rent the skates at the rink. But for those who are committed to learning and participating in the sport long term, you’ll be better off at an ice skate specialty store.

The advantages of the specialty stores are the capability of asking those trained in ice hockey whatever series of questions you might have, as one who is new to the game. Additionally, you’ll be able to try on the very best quality skates. They will carry well-known brands as opposed to general sports stores who will carry a lesser known name. Also, the stores will be able to do the adjustments you might need, sharpen your skates, or order a more precise size if necessary. You could check online after you talk to a professional at the specialty store, this way, you may find those brands somewhere else and cheaper. 

It is possible to cut costs and save money by purchasing used skates but be careful when pursuing this option. The blades of skates need very specialized care including frequent sharpening and the occasional replacement. A set of replacement blades can easily equal the cost of a brand new pair. When you think about it this way, it isn’t a good idea to pay for skates well-worn. Also, keep in mind that a used skate will be conformed to the previous owner’s foot. At this point in the life of the skate, reforming, or re-breaking them in is impossible. You’ll probably discover that unless the deal is too good to pass up, it’s probably a better idea to pass it up.

Ask what comes with the skates for the price you’re going to pay. Again, you’ll need to get your skates sharpened often, and some stores will offer this assistance and may even give you a flexible price if you’re a regular customer of theirs. There are a few specialty shops that offer a feature known as “baking in”, which means the skate is baked to mold to your foot for a closer fit. It’s important to ask before you buy the skates though as most shops charge extra for these services.

There are more hockey skates on the market today than ever in history. The type of skate you need will largely depend on the position you play, the size and shape of your foot, and your level of experience on the ice. Keep these things in mind as you look for hockey skates and you’ll be sure to find skates that will bring your game to new levels.

The Basic Rules for Ice Hockey

Ice hockey has continuously improved since its discovery. It was originally played using a ball and stick in the early 1800s. Today, it has a set of rules or regulations that keep the players in check. Ice hockey is played on a standard playing field more referred to as the rink (measuring 200 feet by 85 feet).

Just like any other ball game, the objective of the game is to lead the puck and shoot it into the goal which is enclosed in a net that is six feet wide and four feet tall. It’s guarded by the goaltender of the opponent. The winner must shoot more pucks into the net than the opponent.

In ice hockey, a team comprises of six players; a goaltender, two defensemen, and three forwards. The players have three periods to play and shoot the puck into the opponent’s goal. Each period has twenty minutes.

Rules for Ice Hockey.
The game starts with a face off where a referee drops the puck between the forwards of the two teams. The other players are on the defensive side, waiting for the puck to be passed on to them. Substitution of players is also not allowed while face off is ongoing. Body contact is also not allowed during this time; otherwise, a penalty will be called. The players are then required to scatter into the rink.

Players entering the opponent’s field into the net for a goal should ensure that the puck precedes the player currently controlling it. Unlike the rest of the players, the goaltender is not allowed to roam the court, as his job is to guard the goal.

During the game, a player passes the puck to their teammate to reach the opponent’s goal. Sometimes back, a player was not allowed to pass the puck directly to their teammate on the opponents side when the offensive team is still in their court. Otherwise, he/she will commit the two line pass. However, the National Hockey League (NHL) currently changed a set of rules and allowed the two line pass.

A hand pass is allowed as long as the puck is slid along the ice and not towards the teammate. The defending players try to steal the puck from the opponent by hitting their shoulder, hip, or torso and subsequently getting hold of the puck, a move called body check. A body check is illegal when a player is not in possession the puck.

Players’ substitution is unlimited and can be done anytime after the face off time. It is allowed without the referee’s permission as long as the player is substituted within five feet from the bench. The Official Scorer awards goals and not the referee. In the case of questionable merits or controversies, a video replay can be sought to clarify things.

Below is a video on a beginners guide to Ice Hockey:

A goal is awarded when the puck is propelled by the player and enters the net. In case the puck is passed directly to a teammate but hits him accidentally and bounces off towards the net, this is also considered a score to the team.

During the 2005-2006 NHL season, the National Hockey League had some of the rules changed. The first one was noted above. Other changes are:

  • Restricting the playing field of the goaltender.
  • Making the uniform lighter but offer protection to the player at the same time.
  • No tolerance for aggressiveness towards the opponent.

A shootout is used in the case of ties. The NHL enforced more fines during this season. Furthermore, the area of the neutral zone was decreased. This increased the playing field.

Let’s meet in the field!

The Best Age to Start Hockey

Hockey is an exhilarating sport. Whether you’re watching or playing, there’s something about some action on the ice that gets people excited. Sports are a great extracurricular activity for kids and teens, but how do you know the best age for your child to start? Many sports offer leagues for children as young as toddlers. Is hockey the same, or do you need to wait a bit to avoid putting your son or daughter at risk? In this article, we’ll talk about some things to take consideration when deciding the best age to start hockey for your child.

Every Child is an Individual

There’s no hard and fast rule for the best age to start hockey that applies to everyone. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy, and you’ll have to consider a variety of factors specific to your kid before signing them up for a hockey league. Leagues are available for most any age, so consider each category in this list before making a decision one way or another.

Consider Your Child’s Growth

If your child is small and tends to get injured, you may want to wait a few years before having them start the sport. Hockey for young children isn’t violent, but there are always risks when skating on hard ice.

Another aspect to consider that ties in with this category is the expense of hockey gear. The price to get a child outfitted with the proper gear and equipment is several hundred dollars at a minimum. If your kid is in the midst of a huge growth spurt, the equipment you buy may not last for long. Young kids grow very quickly, so waiting a bit may save you money in the long run.

Make Sure Your Kid is Ready and Willing

This may seem obvious, but it’s worth a mention considering how obsessed some parents get about pushing their children towards sports achievements. Does your child want to play hockey, or do you want your child to play hockey?

It’s important for kids to have some extracurricular activities to be a well-rounded person and keep busy, but try to let them guide you towards what they’re interesting it. Forcing it will never work long term.

Give it a Try

If you can find used gear and your child is interested, why not give your child the chance to try? As long as they’re signed up for an appropriate age range and they have the protective gear, there’s very little chance that your son or daughter will be seriously injured.

There’s no hard and fast rule to determine the best age to start hockey, but if you take these guidelines into consideration and test the waters, you’ll find out very quickly whether hockey is the right choice at your child’s current stage in life.

 

Pros and Cons of Kids Playing Hockey

Hockey is a game that over the years has diversified and branched out into different parts of the world. It has also increased in popularity and admiration. Every so often, you can trace a legendary player’s background to their young age. In this light, hockey has become more accommodative to kids and junior players. Now that you think whether this is the next leap for your child, below are a few pros and cons of playing hockey that should guide your way to making a decision.

Let’s have a look at the positives first.

Pros of playing hockey

Valuable experience
It’s no secret that the more you partake in an activity, the better you get, and hockey is no different. Imagine if your child could begin their practice an early age, they would have increased exposure to the sport, as well as accumulate years of playing while gaining a wealth of knowledge and experience.

Time well spent
Let’s face it; we’re in an age where phones, TV’s and the fancy electronic gadgets have taken prevalence over many physical games and sports. You can now play a whole league on your phone, though it’s not entirely bad, it wouldn’t hurt actually to play the game. And hockey will not only get your kid in shape, but it’ll also give them time off the virtual world.

Confidence builder
Unlike the virtually simulated games, hockey being a real sport is played in front of the live fans. With time, your child will not only build their confidence performing in front of a crowd, but it’ll also boost their trust in the team, by working together and creating ambition.

It’s fun
The bottom line is, your child is just that, a child. They need something that will not only keep them active but will allow them to have fun, and hockey is as fun as they come. Moreover, they stand a chance to make new friends –within and without their team.

And now, the flipside, here are the cons of your child playing hockey.

Cost
Like any other game, hockey has its fair share of cost implications. Between the jerseys, equipment, and traveling. You might have to adjust your budget.

School
Your child is still in school, and they need to understand that. Adding another activity to their schooling life can cause an imbalance or even a potential drop in their academics. However, the possibility can be avoided by creating a schedule that fits in all the activities accordingly.

Injuries
Hockey is not the softest of sports, injuries are bound to happen now and then and even though they have protective gear, they are still susceptible to injury.

There you go, you can now objectively weigh the options and see if your kid is ready for hockey. But whatever decision you make, try to involve all parties and keep in mind what’s best for everyone.

Top Ice Hockey Movies

There are some ice hockey movies which are very entertaining both to the people who love ice hockey and those that do not even understand ice hockey. The main reason that makes these movies outstanding is that they are easy to comprehend. They also have compelling story lines which can be grasped by almost anyone. Some of the movies have been produced recently while some are a bit older. Here are some excellent ice hockey movies – most of which you can find on Amazon.

Miracle

This is an ice hockey movie that tells a true story of Herb Brooks who is played by Russel in the movie. His story is that he is a player turned coach and led the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team where they went on to defeat the Russian squad which was regarded as invincible. The main point of this particular movie is to show that Russel inspired the U.S. team which was seen as the underdog. In fact, most of the people expected the Russian team to win, but Russel inspired and motivated the U.S. team until they won. The movie was released in 2014, and it lasts 135 minutes. The director of this particular movie is Gavin O’Connor, and the main characters are Kurt Russel, Nathan West, Patricia Clarkson and Noah Emmerich.

The Rocket

This is another awesome ice hockey movie that was released in 2005. This movie is about Maurice Richard who was nicknamed “the rocket”; he was the most famous hockey player in Quebec. The movie highlights the struggle of the French Canadian in the league which was dominated by Anglophones. The film lasts 124 minutes, and its director is Charles Biname. The main characters are Roy Dupuis, Julie LeBreton, Stephen McHattie and Philip Craig.

The Mighty Ducks

This movie is another one about ice hockey which is worth watching several times mainly because it’s a great story with a light touch. The movie is about a selfish lawyer from Minnesota who is has been sentenced to community service coaching an off the wall youth hockey team. The lawyer struggles to instill discipline amongst the players, and the movie explains the challenges that he has to goe through. The length of the movie is 100 minutes, and the director is Stephen Herek. The main characters are Emilio Estevez, Lane Smith, Joss Ackland and Haidi Kling.

Slap Shot

This one is a relatively old ice hockey movie, but it is still relevant and entertaining. The movie is about a failing ice hockey team that finds success through using violence and constant fighting during games. The team learns that to beat the opponents it must use different tactics and as a result, the players are led to violence. The movie lasts 123 minutes, and the director is George Roy Hill. The main characters are Paul Newman, Strother Martin, Michael Ontkean and Jennifer Warren.

In case you’re looking for more reviews, we’ve included this video:

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