For quick reference here is the order, in the following pages you will find detailed instructions including some tips:
- Compression/Wicking under layer
- Athletic Support
- Socks (optional)
- Knee Pads (recommended)
- Goal Pads
- Neck Guard (optional)
- Chest Pad
The first step in getting dressed is to put on your compression/wicking under layer. I use a one-piece system but there is a variety of combinations out there so you can mix and match with whatever you like. Some players like to wear some compression under layers that can help them cope with old injuries. The most important part is to be comfortable.
Once you have that under layer on, put on your athletic support (Jock strap). Make sure it is positionned correctly, that it will not move out of place and that it appropriately covers your genitals. Tighten the leg straps and double loop them to ensure they will not become loose with movement. The last thing you want is a shot straight to the groin with no protection!
Once your athletic support is properly positionned, put on your pants. The system to hold the pants up varies per model but usally features a lace and some straps. You may also purchase some suspenders especially if the straps will not keep the pants in place. Goaltenders usually try to get the biggest equipment possible in order to cover more room (without affecting agility) and so your pants may be much bigger than your body. In my case, my pants were purchased when I was still growing and now require no extra support system.
After putting the pants on, the next step is to put your skates and knee pads on. Now while knee pads are not required I highly recommend them. As you will see later in this article, the knee protection system on pads is just not adequate. It only takes one good shot to your knee to cause some long-term damage and cut your hockey career short.
Putting on your pads comes next. This part confuses most new goaltenders, how exactly are you supposed to attach those pads to your skates with the lace? Well you're about to be answered! Note that this is the way I attach them, there are variations depending on the preference of the goaltender as well as the design of the pad. I personally like to have my pads tied tight at the ankles, others like it very loose so try different variations out and see what you like.
First, position the pad in front of the appropriate leg (buckles and the wide part on the front of the pad are towards the outside), the following picture depicts the right skate and the right pad.
Then take the laces and cross them through the first hole between your skate boot and your skate blade.
TIP-> If you want to increase the distance between your skate and the pad, you can tie a knot in the laces close to the pad (betwen 2-7 cm away from the pad). When you will pull the laces tight, the knot will keep the distance you want between your skate and your pad.
Take the laces and cross them through the second hole.
Simlarly, cross the laces through the third and last hole.
Now take the laces and tie a simple knot at the top of your skate boot and finish it off with a bow. If you have long laces, you may also want to wrap them around your ankle prior to tying the bow.
Now that the pad is tied to your skate, bring the pad to an upright position on top of your skate and attach straps of the knee protector around your leg.
As I mentionned previously, the knee protectors on pads are usually inadequate. As you can see in the following picture, there is a gap near the attachment of the knee protector to the pad (on either side). This area is certainly large enough for a puck to make direct contact with your knee. This is why I highly recommend knee pads unless you have an extremely good knee protector on your pad. Your knee protector should also go under your pants to ensure you have better flexibility (unless you have thigh boards).
Once your knee is properly secured, begin attaching your straps. The top two are usually simple buckles that require no adjustments. The first few times you wear the pads, adjust the length of these straps so you are comfortable both standing and when in a butterfly. They should not be so tight that they stop your circulation when your knee is bent, but also not so loose so the pad does not follow your leg. For the other buckles, tighten them to your liking but ensure you always have them at the same length from game to game (after your adjustment period). If you change the tightness of your straps, your pads will be positionned differently when you are in a butterfly/half butterfly. Small details like this can mean you let in goals or you are not comfortable while playing.
TIP--> I personally count the number of holes in the strap to know which one is my regular position (I use 4, 6, 8, 8). If you don't want to count, you can also mark the strap with a permanent marker.
TIP--> Don't tighten your straps too tightly, your pads are meant to move to be properly positionned when you are in a butterfly. (I like mine tight as this was the style before pads were built for the butterfly style, but I also have developped the flexibility to use them that way throughout the years) If you are just starting out, try to get them fairly loose, especially towards the top of the pad.
The final step in getting the pads on is to tighten the bottom strap. This strap passes throught the last hole between your skate boot and your blade so it is properly secured to your leg.
Now that the first pad is on, follow the same procedure for the second one ensuring the buckles are tigntened to the same degree for both pads.
Now it is time to put on the chest protector. Simply slip it over your head and fasten the straps around your waist. Then slip the arms into the arm sections. Ensure you tighten the straps near your wrists. The chest protector is designed to stop before your wrist so your blocker/trapper can fit without interference.
TIP--> Adjust the buckles on the arm sections to your liking then use some hockey tape to secure the straps so they will not loosen.
The next step is to put your jersey on. (And if you're lucky it's a MoHockey Movember Jersey!)
Next up is the glove. Make sure it is properly adjusted by using the wrist strap, and the hand strap (red arrows).
Also, make sure your thumb and your pinky finger are in the straps intended for them. You may have to adjust these so they are reasonably tight on your fingers but not too tight as to have to loosen them to take the glove off or put it back on.
Next up is the blocker. Adjust the wrist strap on your blocker so it holds on your hand nicely. I personally find most manufacturers make these straps too loose and I usually pull it as tight as it can go.
Finally, put your helmet on (using your blocker hand) and you're all set for the game!