While putting your kids in hockey for the first time can sometimes feel overwhelming (and expensive!), a handy hockey equipment checklist can go a long way in making sure you’ve got everything covered—and staying within your budget.
From kids’ hockey skates and goalie equipment to shoulder pads, hockey sticks, pucks and mouth guards, here’s all the hockey gear you’ll need for a safe, fun and stress-free start to the hockey season.
Plus! Read on for tips on surviving your kid’s first hockey season. From cleaning hockey equipment to suiting up your kiddo more easily, these handy hacks will have them hit the ice running.
Youth Hockey Equipment List
To safely suit up your kid, Hockey Canada recommends all players invest in the following hockey gear:
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Goalie Equipment List
Goalies are the last stop between the puck and the net, which means they need specialized goalie equipment to keep them safe. According to the Ontario Minor Hockey Association, all goalies should have the following ice hockey goalie equipment:
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Additional Hockey Accessories
Now that you’ve got the basics covered, consider these additional items to enhance your family’s hockey experience and overall safety:
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Cheering on your kids from the sidelines is fun, but all the more so when you’re well prepared. Consider stocking up on the following for maximum enjoyment:
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Hockey Season Tips for Parents
Read on for helpful tips to get you through your first hockey season.
- Check the proper fit before each and every season using the sizing listed on the equipment product page. If unavailable, you can also refer to this hockey equipment fitting guide as a general reference.
- Clean all equipment and bags on a regular basis to avoid infections.
- Choose socks with a cotton-polyester blend for ventilation and comfort. They should be tight and wrinkle-free when tightening skates.
- Replace cracked equipment and hard, brittle or cracked pads immediately.
- Hockey pants should have as much padding as possible. Repair tears immediately.
- Avoid lacing up skates or taping around the ankles to promote proper circulation.
- Sharpen skates regularly with a skate sharpener and wipe dry after each use.
- Never remove glove laces as they prevent tearing. Check the padding by pressing the back. Your child should not feel the compression inside the glove.
- Bib style throat protectors offer more chest protection than collar-style throat protectors.
- In Quebec, all throat protectors should have the Bureau de normalisation du Québec (BNQ) logo.
- Ensure kids hockey helmets, face protectors and visors have the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) mark.
- Helmets should have a chin strap and be stamped with a date that is less than five years old.
- Never alter a helmet or face protectors.
- Face protectors sold separately should be compatible with your helmet and include all hardware and instructions.
- Never remove ear guards from a helmet to ensure it remains CSA-certified.
- Mouth guards are still recommended even if your child has a face protector.
- To avoid injuries, tape the top end of the hockey stick where the hand holds the stick (also known as the butt end of kids hockey sticks). Wooden plugs must be inserted and taped.
Choosing the Right Fit
- Equipment should be snug but comfortable, and allow the player to manoeuvre with a good range of motion without it coming loose or shifting.
- Pads shouldn’t dig into skin or cause discomfort. When trying equipment on, practice walking around and handling sticks (and gloves, if your kid is a goalie) to get a good sense of fit.
- Note that skates typically fit a half-size smaller than street shoes. When trying them on, kick the heel into the boot and lace up the first three eyelets snugly with a lace tightener, the next three to four eyelets loosely and the remaining eyelets very snugly.
- Laced eyelets should be 1.5 to two inches apart. If they’re further apart, you may need a narrower boot.
- Have your kid walk around for 10-15 minutes in the skates then remove them and check feet for red areas or pressure points—both are signs of ill-fitting skates.
- Helmets should fit snugly but have room for final adjustments. When you shake your head from side-to-side and back-and-forth it shouldn’t shift or cause discomfort.
- The front of the helmet should fall right above the eyebrows.
- The chin strap should be snug to the chin and not loose, which can cause helmets to fall off on impact.
- Face shields and cages should be compatible with the helmet.
- To check the fit of a face protector, one finger should fit snugly between the bottom of the chin and the chin cup of the protector.
- Practice jerseys should easily fit over all equipment and still offer a good range of motion. It should also be tight enough so that it doesn’t catch on bench doors and other objects.
- For better control, choose a junior stick with a straight blade where possible. If your kid is in street shoes, the stick should reach between their chin and mouth (with the toe on the ground). If your kid is on skates, the butt end of the stick should reach just below the chin.
- If your child is a goalie, check how leg equipment fits while they’re wearing skates.
Budgeting for Hockey Gear
Depending on your child’s skill level and whether you enrol them in a travelling team, hockey equipment can be expensive. Fees also vary by region and organization.
Here are a few costs to consider when starting out:
- Registration and ice time: Hockey Canada estimates an average cost of $1,200 per season.
- Insurance: This costs roughly $21.30 per player, but is only applicable in Hockey Canada sanctioned tournaments.
- Equipment: Parents spend between $500 and $1,000 on equipment each season. Parents of goalies may spend slightly more for the specialized equipment.
How to Clean Hockey Equipment
Just because kids play hockey on the ice doesn’t mean they don’t work up a sweat—sweat that dries in all the crevices of your kids’ hockey equipment.
If you want to keep stink at bay while ensuring your kids’ stuff remains sanitary and clean, Hockey Canada recommends the following tips for cleaning hockey gear: 
- Wash all equipment, including the hockey bag, on a regular basis.
- Periodically spray equipment with an alcohol-based equipment disinfectant.
- Get equipment professionally cleaned at least once a year.
- Wash all undergarments after each game or practice.
- Remove plastic components before machine-washing, if possible.
- Scrub non-machine-washable equipment with a mixture of laundry soap and water.
- Hang all equipment up to dry.
- Air dry skates, gloves and helmet after each practice or game.
How to Put on Hockey Equipment
Getting kids dressed on a regular day can be a chore, let alone all of that hockey equipment. Here are some handy tips for time-strapped parents looking for ways to cut down on time (and elbow grease!) in the dressing room:
- Dress kids in their base layers and tracksuit overtop before arriving at the arena.
- Make sure your child uses the bathroom before starting hockey practice.
- Dress your kids from the bottom up, beginning with socks and shin pads.
- Have your kids step into their hockey pants and adjust the belt.
- Place feet in loose skates, then have your kids kick their heel against the floor so the heel is secure.
- Brace the skate between your legs, then begin tightening laces from the toe, pulling down rather than up and over, for a tighter fit.
- Secure the laces with a double knot.
- Continue with the neck guard, shoulder pads, elbow pads, jersey, helmet, mouthguard, gloves and stick.
Print this Hockey Equipment Checklist
- Ontario Minor Hockey Association. Equipment.
- Hockey Canada. Answers to questions asked by hockey parents.
- Government of Canada. Sports gear safety tips.
- Hockey Canada. Safety and Teamwork.
- New York Times. In Canada, the Cost of Youth Hockey Benches the Next Generation.
- Goalie Coaches. How Much Does it Cost to Be a Hockey Goalie.
- Source for Sports. How to Dress Your Child in Hockey Gear.
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