(Flickr photo by bnilsen)
You know what I dislike?
… shopping for hockey equipment.
You know what I dislike more than shopping for hockey equipment?
… shopping for hockey equipment just a few months after I already shopped for hockey equipment!
I know it’s a cliché, but kids really do grow like weeds. And sometimes these weeds seem to outgrow their hockey equipment during the same season! There is only so much allowance for “room to grow” that you can make for a ‘weed’ when buying hockey equipment.
Some equipment – like skates and helmets - must fit well for proper development and for optimal safety. Other pieces – like chest protectors, hockey pants and pads – have straps and Velcro providing some room for some adjusting and readjusting but eventually you run out of Velcro and strap.
There are roughly 21 pieces of equipment required before putting a child on the ice for minor hockey (yes, I’ve counted) and unless it’s just their pinkie finger that grew, it’s very likely your young hockey player is going to need some equipment – again – at some point in the season.
Come the Christmas holidays and suddenly the skates are too tight, or the hockey pants are riding a little too high above the knees, and that hockey stick is looking more like a plastic mini-stick. In our household – with all our goalies - it was always the skates and sticks. We somehow always managed to make all the equipment fit throughout the season but not always the skates, and definitely not the sticks. It’s surprising what an extra inch of wood or hunk of plastic retails for! And we all know there is no "sharing" in hockey; plenty of hand-me-downs, as my youngest will attest to, but no "sharing"!
While I am always tempted to put that stick or pair of skates under the tree, it’s a bit more practical to wait until a post-Christmas sale. It’s no wonder there are so many used sporting goods stores that have sprung up all over Canada over the last decade. And it’s no wonder that our local one knows my husband and me by our first names!
Remember, 21 pieces of equipment: long underwear, t-shirt, jock or jill, socks, left shin guard, right shin guard, left hockey sock, right hockey sock, hockey pants, left skate, right skate, chest protector, right elbow pad, left elbow pad, neckguard, mouthguard, jersey, helmet, left hockey glove, right hockey glove and finally, a hockey stick.
Twenty-one may be a lucky number in blackjack but there’s no such thing as a lucky hockey mom, not where equipment is concerned. If you do have one of those kids that doesn’t outgrow their equipment during the season, you probably have one of those kids who manages to break their equipment somehow or misplace it altogether. We hockey moms just can’t win!
Perhaps there is a good argument not start your kids in hockey until they’re much, much older –after they’ve pretty much finished growing! (Hope there was a sporting goods gift card in your stocking this past Christmas!)
Three cheers for new hockey equipment – at least it smells better than the old set!
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