How to Care for Your Hockey Gear

Ice hockey equipment is traditionally well-built, strong and durable. But to keep it that way, you MUST take care of it. Not properly caring for your gear will contribute to its early demise. Some articles of equipment are more susceptible to premature deterioration than others. So, the following article will offer some tips on how to keep those particular pieces in good shape.

Skates

  • Dry, Dry, Dry: Always wipe your skates dry after every use. Yes, EVERY use. Not just the blade either, but the whole boot and tuck as well. Lingering snow will cause the rivets to rust over time. Once dry, DO NOT just throw them in your hockey bag resting against your other wet gear. This will defeat the purpose of wiping them down! Buy a skate bag, or at the very least put them in a plastic bag by themselves. Trust me, it’s worth it.
  • Tighten Your Rivets: Having your rivets tightened often can really increase the lifespan of your skates. When a rivet loosens, the others are forced to compensate, resulting in an overall weakening of your rivets. The next time you get your skates sharpened, ask the technician if they can tighten your rivets. Doing this around once a month will keep your rivets tight and doing their job.
  • Remove Your Soles: Rivets can also be attacked from the inside of your boot. After using your skates, the boot is usually soaked in sweat. That moisture can rust your rivets from the inside, not to mention affect the padding of your boot. So remove your sole and let it dry before putting it back.
  • Change Your Laces: Just like your soles, your laces retain water and sweat after skating. Believe it or not, your wet laces can damage the material of your skate tongue, which can affect your skate stiffness in the long run. By replacing them often, you eliminate that extra moisture resting on the top of your skate. When I say often, I mean every 2-3 weeks. It really helps.

Helmet

Like your skates, wiping your helmet dry is the first line of defense against premature breakdown. Besides that, it’s also a good idea to check your helmet regularly for cracks, chips, or missing pieces. The foam inside your helmet should not be cut or modified and should feel spongy-soft, not hard. Remember, a damaged helmet is never as helpful as it should be.

Hockey Gloves

Just in case I haven’t said it enough, DRY YOUR GEAR. Gloves are no different. However, it’s important to note that when you hang up your hockey gloves, avoid open heat sources like register vents. Direct exposure to heat could shrink the inside or alter the shape of the outside. Check your gloves for rips or tears to either repair them or replace them.

Get the picture?

As you can see, dry is the key. It’s definitely the best way to ensure your gear’s durability and longevity. Though I’m only highlighting the pieces most affected by moisture, ALL of your gear will benefit from air drying after each use. In addition to preserving its integrity, drying out your gear will drastically reduce its risk of stink! Wet gear breeds bacteria. That bacteria is smelly, smelly, SMELLY. So do yourself and everyone around you a favor and dry your gear. Everybody wins!

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