Ice hockey is a sport that is favored in colder climates during winter and has fans all over the world. It is believed that hockey is tied to prehistoric times, although the word hockey has only been used since the 16th century to describe the game. In 1893, the first of the matches were held at both Yale University and John Hopkins University and in 1903. The first professional team formed was called the Portage Lakers in Michigan.
Since those times, indoor Ice hockey has become a popular sport. With the hard surface of the ice, pucks flying at over 100 miles per hour at times and the rough way that the game is played by teams opposing each other, Ice Hockey can be very hazardous for the people playing it.
Safety gear has been introduced to the game to keep players from sustaining serious injury. Some of the main safety gear that is used by professional and amateur players alike is:
And, often, neck guards.
Goaltenders also need specialized equipment such as masks and extra padded equipment to keep them safe from flying pucks while defending the goals. All of this safety equipment is a must when playing the game and most of it is considered mandatory.
Ice Hockey Skates
Another bit of equipment that is used for playing ice hockey are ice hockey skates. These are made from a base of leather or nylon boots. Professionals prefer not to use nylon as they are said to make it harder to manoeuver in them. The thick leather or nylon in the boots helps players to protect themselves from being hit in the shins and ankles.
There is also a blade used at the bottom of the skates. This blade helps to make moving on the ice easy. Ice hockey skates are much the same style as figure skates, although ice hockey skates have a rounded blade on them to help avoid injury to other players.
Ice Hockey Sticks
Ice hockey sticks are one of the main tools used in the game and are generally made of wood. The hockey stick is around 200cm long and has a flat extension at the bottom of the stick known as the blade. Blades and sticks can vary in size depending on the player who is using them. Many professional players have their sticks customized to suit them.
The blade is curved in the same direction the ice skater moves, the stick has been designed that way to assist in lifting and keeping the puck off of the playing surface.
Ice Hockey Helmets
The ice hockey helmets need to be measured by the size or circumference of the player’s head just above the eyebrows to ensure a proper fit. An ideal ice hockey helmet will fit comfortably and not shift around the head. There should never be rotation or looseness in a helmet as this may cover the player’s field of vision.
The inside of a helmet is made of a material called Vinyl nitrate. Vinyl nitrate is especially useful for absorbing force or impact from direct hits to the head from pucks, hockey sticks or direct contact with the ice.
Helmets are often fitted with visors. This is mainly to protect a player’s eyes. With younger players and in some leagues, it is mandatory to use a visor while playing. Other mandatory equipment includes special masks, especially for young players or those who play ice hockey at a university. These players are required to use a mask made from metal or thick plastic attached to their helmets to protect their face from injury.
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