If you are new to hockey and need help buying equipment — don't worry!
While it might seem intimidating at first, there are plenty of guides, checklists, and helpful sites out there to help you get your child ready to play. A really helpful and straightforward site is: NewtoHockey.com
This process can be overwhelming but here are a few tips to consider BEFORE you go out and buy an entire set of new equipment:
- You don't have to buy BRAND NEW equipment. In fact, some items are arguably better when they are used, i.e. broken in. Try places like Play It Again Sports where you can go and peruse a larger selection of used items.
- Quality is important, but top of the line isn't necessary for new players. In fact, for kids under 8, brand new top of the line equipment can be frustrating to break in and play with. Stick with reputable hockey brands (e.g. Bauer, CCM, Warrior) but you shouldn't be buying the pro model of any equipment for kids.
- The DHA has rental equipment available through the Pro Shop. This is a great option for kids who want to try out the sport, but might not want to purchase a full set of equipment until they are ready to play full time in a league.
- Try equipment on before buying it whenever possible. Yes there are deals to be had on websites, but nothing can ruin the fun of hockey like poor-fitting equipment. For some kids, the fit and feel of some equipment isn't a big deal, as long as it is the correct size they will wear it and play fine. For others, fit and feel are everything.
- Beware of the fads and gimmicks. If you walk into a hockey store you will be blow away by the number of items that are NOT NECESSARY to play the game of hockey. From training aids, to non-essential equipment items, to personalization and equipment accessories. (Yes, accessories for equipment!)
- Training Aids. I want to say one thing about that here. Over that past few years all sorts of training aids (both on and off-ice) have become popular and produced. For most kids, the most valuable items you can buy to help them learn hockey skills are a tennis ball and a street-hockey stick. (Street hockey sticks have plastic or wood blades and won't wear out as quickly as the newer carbon/fiberglass sticks. Many NHL players grew up learning to shoot, stick handle, and pass using a tennis or golf ball in their driveway.
Links to local hockey stores: