“My skates are too small!”
If that’s not the rally cry of August heard by hockey moms all over the world, I don’t know what is!
As with most hockey families, it’s normal for our family to start thinking about hockey equipment right about this time of the summer: what fits, what doesn’t, what’s broken and, I am ashamed to admit, what still needs to be washed since the season wrapped up a few months ago!
Not surprisingly, back-to-hockey shopping in our family is met with a lot more enthusiasm that back-to-school shopping. Anything to do with school shopping could wait until Christmas if my kids had their way. The fact that the kids’ growth spurts coincide with their most active years in hockey means that some equipment will need to be replaced annually.
With three kids playing the sport, back-to-hockey shopping can be expensive. Though our hockey-spending budget has shrunk with just my daughter playing as my boys have now graduated from high school. There was a time in our lives when we outfitted three goalies, two lefties and a righty no less. We learned a few tricks of the hockey equipment trade. Here are some ways you can reduce costs:
Equipment exchange / trade via your association
Kids outgrow equipment before they actually wear it out. Knowing this, many hockey associations hold an equipment exchange day for you to trade up your child’s outgrown equipment. Check out your association’s website. If they don’t hold one, you might consider recommending one (but know that if you suggest it, the association might suggest you handle it).
Post it to social media or online classifieds
Alright, maybe you won’t often see posted in the classifieds, SMHP seeks GUS7S (Single Male Hockey Player seeks Gently Used Size-7 Skates), but the power of social media can certainly lead you to someone looking to offload their no-longer-needed hockey equipment. Don’t be afraid to post what you’re looking for to your Facebook page.
That chain of used sporting goods stores
Again, knowing that kids outgrow equipment very quickly, consider buying used equipment, at least until your children’s growth spurts stabilize!
Financial support through various sponsors
Hockey Now has teamed up with Kidsport to provide grants for registration fees and equipment. Similarly, Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart Charity in partnership with Hockey Canada to assist kids from financially disadvantaged families with the costs of hockey registration and equipment. Many hockey associations provide financial assistance as well.
We hang on to some equipment just in case my daughter, or another family member, might make use of it. In fact, while writing this post, I asked my daughter what her favourite part of back-to-hockey shopping was. She replied, “I don’t know. I’ve never been back-to-hockey shopping. I get hand-me-downs.” Oh the poor, deprived life of the third child – and third player - in the family. The truth however, is that hand-me-downs are one way of contending with the high cost of equipment replacement.
When all other avenues of cost efficiency fail, there is no shortage of sporting goods stores that carry a wide variety of hockey equipment. Some of them may even offer trade up deals, where you can return the equipment after it’s been used for a year or two and get a discount on buying your next set of new equipment.
No matter your chosen path of back-to-hockey shopping, August is when you’ll likely be doing it. With a little bit of looking and asking around, you stand to save some money. Oh, and in case you’re interested, we have a pair Vaughn 31-inch goalie pads for sale!
Three cheers for back-to-hockey shopping and the season that will soon be upon us!
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