As it’s played at such a high speed, with the puck flying at speeds of up to 100mph (160kph) and players whizzing around and often intentionally colliding with one another, ice hockey is evidently a relatively hazardous sport. So, as can be expected, you’ll need a fair amount of safety equipment in order to get started in the game. However, wearing all the additional protective kit means that playing ice hockey is much safer than it looks!
Skates for ice hockey
Ice hockey skates are more specialised than standard ice skates. They are usually made of a thick layer of leather or nylon which protects the player’s feet and lower legs against injury. The blades on the skates are rounded at both ends to allow for easy manoeuvring.
Ice hockey sticks
Ice hockey sticks are usually made of wood or carbon fibre. Carbon composite sticks tend to be favoured by most players — although some still prefer to use wooden sticks.
Pucks in ice hockey
Pucks are made of vulcanised rubber, and are frozen before the game to reduce bounce and allow them to slide across the ice quickly and easily.
Helmets in ice hockey matches
All players must wear a helmet, and younger players are often required to wear a helmet with a half visor which partly covers the top half of the face. To err on the side of caution, some adult players also opt for the half visor helmet. Goaltenders must have full face protection to save them from direct hits. Some leagues may require full face protection for all players — so check out what type of helmet you need before you start playing the game.
Mouth guards or gum shields
Players protect their smiles by wearing a gum shield. A gum shield will protect you from a hit by a puck or stick or a collision with a player or wall.
Various padding for ice hockey play
All players wear shoulder pads, elbow pads, heavily padded shorts (sometimes known as ‘breezers’) and protective gloves to protect them from blows while on the ice. And that’s not all: to keep fully protected, you can also wear a groin guard, shin guards and occasionally also a neck guard.
Buying your ice hockey gear
It’s worth remembering that brand new gear can be expensive! So, if you’re not sure what to buy or whether you can afford it, your best bet is to get some second-hand gear from a more experienced player — particularly if you are just starting out. It’s certainly worth starting with the basics before moving up the ranks.