Thursday, 19 April 2012 11:02

Taking care of your equipment - Taking care of Equipment - General Points

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General points

Storage

You should store your equipment in a cool dry place to ensure it dries out properly and there is no material degradation. I personally hang all my equipment in the basement near the furnace. The temperature is constant throughout the year, slightly cooler than the rest of the house and the furnace gets rid of most humidity. Although it is tempting to put your equipment in the garage and save the trip to the basement, this is not good for the equipment long-term. In the winter, your equipment cannot dry out in the garage (in a northern climate where it is usally around -10C) the moisture will freeze on the equipment and it will be wet for your next game. In the summer, the high heat can damage certain plastics components (helmet, skates). You also want to avoid contact with UV light (sunlight) as this may also damage the plastic. Of course depending on your local weather and available facilities (heated/insulated garage) you may be able to store your equipment in various places without damaging it.

Transportation

Transporting your equipment is something you do more often than playing! Ensure you have a bag that is adequate for the task and free of holes so you don't lose any equipment. Some newer bags have wheels on them in order to facilitate transportation. Personally I am not a fan of this type of bag as the backing and wheel placement is rigid and may interfere with getting in/out of certain areas. However some people love them, especially kids that may not be big enough to carry their gear on their shoulder. 

When transporting your equipment, make sure it is placed properly in the bag. Use the skate and accessory compartments if you have any! If you do not have skate compartments use skate guards. I have seen too many pieces of equipment damaged by skate blades during transportation or skate blades becoming dull due to contact with a hard material. Also, make sure your equipment is sheltered from rain. Having your equipment soaking wet and frozen is not a good way to start a game! In warmer weather, ensure there is enough air circulation in your vehicle when parked so the temperature does not go too high and may increase bacteria or damage the equipment itself.

Use outside of the rink

You may want to use your equiment outside the rink for practises or just for fun. If at all possible, try and use an old set of equipment when not on the rink. If you don't have a second set, make sure your equipment is well protected from abrasive surfaces (asphalt, concrete etc.) and moisture (rain, standing water etc.) so they will make it through the season! For goalies in particular, using your equipment for road hockey is a bad idea. The asphalt will rip up those nice pads extremely quickly. For ball/roller hockey on a concrete surface I recommend taking an old hockey sock, cutting it lengthwise, placing it on top of the goal pads and cutting holes for the straps (this will keep it secure on the pads). These will ensure the sock takes most of the damage instead of your pads.  For gloves you may need to get creative, I personally have used duct tape on the surfaces which would come in contact with the ground. However you have to ensure the glue on the tape is not too sticky so there is no residue when you take it off. Also ensure you take the tape off immediately after a game to minimize the contact time.

Washing

Even if you properly store your equipment it can get quite stinky! In some cases you may not realise it but your team mates certainly do. In some extreme cases they may even offer to wash your equipment for you (One of my teams has done this to a player in the past!). The point is stinky gear is ... well ... stinky. The easiest way to prevent odour is to wash the equipment that comes into contact with moisture regularly. For players this means washing your under layers, socks, jersey and shower towel every few games at the most. For goalies, you can add the sweat band in your helmet to that list. As these items are regularly machine washable (unless specificly indicated) you can throw them in the machine on a gentle cycle and have it fresh smelling. 

It is also a good idea to bring your equipment to a commercial washing facility designed for hockey equipment every few seasons (or when it starts smelling). Some players throw everything they can in the washing machine but I would strongly recommend against it as this will put excessive wear on both your equipment and the washing machine. The commercial facilities are able to handle large equipment pieces without any risk of damage. Besides, the cost of getting your gear washed every 2-4 seasons is minimal compared to your equipment costs.

 

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Read 7085 times Last modified on Saturday, 25 August 2012 01:19
Jean-Michel Roy

15+ Years experience as a goaltender

20+ Years experience playing hockey

Currently a goalie coach for Phil Martin's Goalie Academy.

E-mail: jm@thehockeyresource.ca

Connect with me on Google +

Website: www.thehockeyresource.ca
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