Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hockey+Equipment = Expensive

Yes, you've read the title correctly. Hockey+Equipment = Expensive. This post is for any kid who may be thinking about playing hockey. Its also for would be hockey moms to tell them what they are in for price wise. I'll be sticking to inline hockey prices since that was the particular sport I played. If you wish to play on ice, then it will be a little more expensive.

First things first. You need to know how or learn how to skate. Good inline hockey skates generally run between $200 and $300. You can also upgrade the bearings in the wheels. I would go with abec 5s or above. You can also go with swiss bearings too. Abecs run around $25-$35. Swiss run around $45-$55. You will also need shin pads. Expect to pay around 25-$30 shin pads.

Next thing you would need are gloves. I would pay around $30 for gloves, but you can go higher. The stick is also important, wooden sticks can be around $20. You can also buy stick shafts with replacement blades, so that if the blade breaks, you can replace it. A cheap stick shaft will be about $40.

As we wind down to whats needed, you'll notice I didn't mention elbow pads. I don't use em, they aren't really essential, although some leagues do require them. Helmets are the last item you need to get running 60-$80. It is up to you weather or not you want to get a cage for the helmet. Oh and I almost forgot, you will need inline hockey pants which can run 40-$70 depending on the brand that you get.

Now if this all sounds too expensive, you can go cheap and not get the most pricey equipment. The way i started was, I had a stick, then I got skates, and then I got shin pads. Everything else came after awhile of playing. This was just with friends of course, if you want to join a league you will need most of the items above. Indoor leagues are especially strict about the type of wheels you buy, so that can factor in on cost as well. Like I've been saying all this time, hockey plus equipment equals expensive.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Alexander Ovechkin Celebrations - Not That Great

Ok, probably one of the most annoying sports players in recent history is Alexander Ovechkin. He's probably the Dion Sanders of the NHL and that is not a complement. If you don't know what I'm talking about check out the Ovechkin 50th Goal Celebration. Wow, can a hockey player look and act more stupid? I can't wait until they start putting his celebration dances in videogames, or have they done that already? That would be awesome. NOT!

My point being that if you are good, you don't have to act like a complete tool. In my honest opinion, Gretzky and Mario Lemieux's flashy goals were something worth celebrating over. In fact they have had countless opportunities where they made incredible plays and it would have been warranted. Ovechkin? Not so much. He's a good player not great. Not yet at least. The Canadians probably like him because he puts butts in the seats. Oh well, you can't argue with money makers. They'll always be around. The NHL has their first Youtube star and its this guy.

CCM Tacks Longest Lasting Skates

In the previous post I mentioned my Bauer skates and how they were the best hockey skates that I've had. Well the CCM Tacks were also a good pair. They weren't the greatest, but they were the longest lasting skates that I've owned. Where the CCM Tacks' shined was the fact that they had everything you should expect from a good hockey skate. They came with an aluminum chassis or frame depending on what you want to call it. The wheels were Kuzak sport court wheels. These were awesome and last a long time. The bearings that it came with were Abec 5 bearings, which at the time were pretty fast. The bearings were also silent, a good sign of quality in my eyes.

The only thing that I did not like about the Tacks was the way the boot fit me. It did not seem as snug as the Bauer boot and I had to adjust my balance and skating in order to compensate. Needless to say the first 4-5 times I played hockey with them, I was falling alot. This pissed me off, because I never fell with the bauers. I started wearing double socks to help with this, my foot was probably too small for the skates at the time. Eventually though, I grew into them and they lasted me a good 6 years, with additional maintenancing of course. So my opinion of CCM gear is pretty high.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Hockey Equipment And Athlete Endorsed Sports Products

Hopefully we can teach you how to shop for hockey equipment. Ok, you read the title "Athlete Endorsed Sports Products". My situation involved hockey equipment that a major athlete had put his name on. Lots and lots of people out there seem to think, if a major sports athlete endorses this product then it must be good. Wrong. Athletes are all about money most of the time. I would suggest buying a discounted brand name sports product from a company that is known to produce good quality equipment. For example: CCM, Bauer, or Mission. Those 3 are top hockey equipment manufacturers. While this blog is mainly about hockey equipment, alot of what you will find in here could be applied to any sport of your choice.

Now, back to what we were talking. I'm going to tell a story about an athlete endorsed product that I decided to buy back when I was younger. They were a pair of hockey skates. Inline hockey skates to be exact.

Wayne Gretzky Inline Hockey Skates

Ok, back when I was playing roller hockey or inline hockey if you want to be more precise, Wayne Gretzky was at the end of his hockey career. He was still playing in the nhl, but was only getting assists and a few goals here and there. Everyone still knew him as one of the greatest hockey players of all time though. Naturally, when I decided to join a roller hockey league, I bought Wayne Gretzky's skates. Good idea right? He was a brand name! Wrong. These skates were the worst. To put it simply, I had a pair of CCM skates that were buckle roller blade type skates. They weren't made for hockey, but they handled better, skated better and lasted longer than the Wayne Gretzky brand of skates.

How Long Gretzky's Roller Hockey Skates Lasted

Well, I just joined a hockey league and couldn't wait to try them out. They skated ok, but the boot on the skates was kind of loose and not tight. After a game or two of playing with the skates, the wheels started to rattle. They have always been noisey, but now these wheels started rattling. By the way, hockey skates with bearings that are noisey are a sign of poor quality or they are old and need to be changed. I decided to put up with the noisey bearings and keep playing. Then, BAM! The wheels started to split down the middle. I mean split in two. I could no longer skate correctly. It was like I was running. Like I was playing foot hockey. No big deal, right? I took the wheels off, bought really good inline wheels, bought some fancy abec 3 bearings, and I was good to go.

Remember when I said the skate boot was loose and wasn't tight? Well it started to rip a bit, but I was good. I had my new hockey skate wheels and bearings. I was soaring on the scoreboard. Okay not really, I had about 1 goal so far the whole season. My next goal was about to come though! It was a killer break away goal. I was flying towards the goalie, faked them out and scored!

I noticed on my skate back to the bench I was skating kinda wobbly. When I sat down, I looked at my Gretzky skate and low and behold.... The skate boot had seperated completely from the frame that held the wheels on. It was like a damn shoe now, not a skate. This marked my learning experience and first lesson on why you should never trust an athlete's own brand of equipment. I now had to find a new hockey skate and upgraded with a good choice, Bauer.

Hope you've found something useful about hockey equipment and athlete endorsed sports products.