Find the best helmets and skates
Hockey is a fast-paced, exciting and sometimes dangerous sport. For all these reasons it's a great game, but in order to play your best you need to stay injury-free – and that requires the best hockey equipment.
If you play ice hockey, you need a helmet. Unlike some sports where helmets are merely a precaution, a helmet is an absolute necessity in a sport with body-checking, fast-moving people, pucks and an incredibly hard playing surface.
When you buy a hockey helmet, fit is very important. If a helmet is too loose, the cage or visor could obstruct your view, making you less effective as a player and more likely to fall on the ice or crash into the boards and sustain an injury. Try out several different styles and brands, and don't be afraid to move around in the store to recreate game situations. If you're buying goalie equipment but are uncomfortable with a wire mask because the bars block your view, try a Plexiglas visor. It provides comparable protection without the obstruction.
Hockey skates are arguably the most important piece of equipment you can buy. Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for a pair. First, just because your favorite player promotes a particular brand of skate doesn't make it the best for you. Sometimes the most economical option is also the best-fitting, so don't let what your friends or the pros wear decide what's best for you. Second, when you try on a pair of skates, lace them up just as you would for a game to confirm that the in-store fit matches the one you'll have later on.
Keeping your hands and wrists protected is also important, since you'll need them to juke and deke around defenders and fake out goaltenders. Like hockey pads, the most critical feature of hockey gloves is that they provide enough protection, and that means purchasing a set that properly fits your hands. Players with larger hands and wrists should make sure that smaller gloves, while sometimes lighter and more maneuverable, reach beyond the wrist and up the forearm. If not, you risk serious injury if slashed by an opposing player. Having a full range of movement with your hands is important – but mobility won't do you much good if you're stuck on the sidelines with a cracked wrist, wearing one of your team's jerseys but not helping win the game.