Sunday, May 23, 2010

Hockey Equipment Websites, Good Or Bad?

Hockey equipment websites are basically everywhere. I know it, you know it. Pretty much anyone that plays the sport in this day and age knows about a webpage that discusses or sells hockey gear. Yeah, it can be good thing to go and surf these sites. When I was younger, most of these hockey sites were not around. In fact, some of them may even have been small hockey shops in some local city area before they went online and became popular. What do you think is better the small hockey shop or the super sized online version. I personally like visiting these sites and just checking out the latest technology that's available. Who knows, I may even end up purchasing a new pair of skates or a stick if I like what I see. Now, lets get down to the real issues at hand here, because lets face it, hockey guys are opinionated people.

Ok, I know alot of hockey players read this blog. I also have to guess that the majority of them at one point or another probably have ordered their hockey equipment online. Do I know what happened in their experiences? No. I do not. Do I know what could happen or might have happened to them. Yes. Why is that? Well, I'm a roller hockey player myself and I have ordered my inline hockey gear from websites. Keep in mind these hockey websites are probably the top ones out there. I did have good experiences with some and well, others weren't so great. Why is that? It all boils down to the one thing that really stinks about ordering things online. The delivery time. When is your order processed and how long it takes to get to your door step can be the monster headache of all headaches.

This delay keeps the equipment out of your hands when you may need it. It also can be a pain contacting these guys to find out what is going on. So people will tell you why your equipment order is still sitting there or has not been shipped others will ignore your emails. I ordered a pair of skates once that weren't available in my size. The website didn't say they were out of stock. I was told they were when I emailed and complained about it though. Was I mad? Hell yeah I was. I wanted my inline hockey skates when I was promised, not when they decided to tell me they didn't have them after I voiced up about it. I was told, we can either refund your order or you can wait. I said refund it. They emailed back and said, the manufacturer just informed us that your skates are on the way to our store in your size. I told them I still wanted a refund. You see, by that point, I didn't even want to deal with this hockey equipment website anymore. Their reputation to me had been soiled by my first hand experience. If I was going to order more roller hockey skates or some other gear, it would definitely be through another website.

The thing I learned here is that you should only deal with websites that your ordered from before and were satisfied with. This new website had these hockey skates for cheap. Cheapest is not always the best option when it comes to buying expensive hockey gear. Buying cheap sometimes means you will get cheap service, which is not the type of service a die hard hockey player will want. I've ordered things from helmets and pants, to skates online. The helmet was the best experience. The pants on the other hand, weren't too bad, but I learned some things.

When ordering a hockey helmet, you need to know if you are a small, medium or large. Most hockey equipment websites will have some kind of sizing chart that you can go by. Just measure your own head with a tape measure and you will be good to go. Most helmets allow you to adjust your fit slightly by loosening the screws and then repositioning parts of the helmet. Keep in mind, if you buy a one piece helmet, you most likely will not be able to do this.

The hockey pants I ordered were too big. I didn't size them right, that means I had them sent all the way back and reordered them. That my friends, is a pain in the ass. If you have a hockey game, you want your hockey equipment when you need it. You don't want the delays and sometimes these things happen when you order online. So all in all it took 2-3 weeks just to get the right pair of hockey pants. If you have to know, they were mission hockey pants. I'll also take the opportunity to tell you that they were very good and I still have them to this day.

Now, I already told you I had an issue ordering some hockey skates from a hockey equipment website. These were a pair of Bauer Vapor skates. This site had what I thought would be the best hockey skates for the best price. It turns out they didn't have the size, but that I would eventually get it. This is not good service. I mean if you are going to buy a hockey equipment drying rack or something, that can wait. It is not essential for you to play the sport, but having a pair of skates that a player needs to play with be backordered and not tell them is a big no no in my eyes. I would say never order the skates if you really need them quickly. Instead, head on down to a local store and look for a pair there. If you do have some time to kill, like a week or two before a game, then maybe you can order some hockey skates online from a website. Just don't skip the sizing at your local store. That is important. Its no use receiving hockey skates that don't fit correctly.

The question is how do you find a good website that sells hockey gear? You can of course use the search engines on the internet. You will probably find dozens of places that are selling hockey gear. I would look for the ones that have a voting system to see weather or not their customers were satisfied. Happy past customers usually makes for happy future customers. Atleast, I think it does. I would stay away from drop shippers. I would not go with a hockey equipment seller who drop ships, because it could take more time. They don't actually have the gear, they have to order it after it was ordered from them. That doesn't sound very time friendly to a hockey player now does it?

So, basically it all comes down to who you order from. If you saw a couple posts back, I was wondering weather or not I would go with buying a pair of hockey skates. I was impressed by the current state of Reebok hockey skates, but my favorite skate in the past was Bauer. How did I choose? Well, I introduced a combination of reading reviews online and my gut instinct on my past experiences. The same can be said for ordering your gear from an online hockey shop. You just really need to research. You'll eventually be comfortable enough to make your own decision regarding who to order from.

Hockey Players need their equipment. You just need to make sure that if you order from a hockey equipment website, that it is a respectable one.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Roller Hockey Equipment For Kids

To any of you hockey players out there that have young ones, or any parent that has a child that might want to play the sport of inline hockey, then pay attention to the next few sentences. I honestly believe that if a young child is starting off in the sport of roller hockey, then they probably do not need the best hockey equipment. Why is that? Well, kids can't be on the next level when they start off. How fast can a kid move? How fast can a child hockey player really skate? They aren't going to be on a high school hockey level or college level. Its just not possible.

Some kids are good for their age though. This is why it is important to get them real hockey equipment. Not the recreational hockey gear that is sold for cheap. Take for example a nice pair of hockey skates. The best hockey skates that you can get for a kid is probably a pair that have abec 3's. I don't see any reason to go out and buy the an extremely expensive pair of Reebok hockey skates that have abec 5 or higher. Why do you ask? The reason is a simple and logical answer. A kid hockey player will never be able to fully utilize the the power of such a pair of skates. A teen player maybe, a college player definitely, but a child? I don't think so.

Does this mean that you should go out and buy crap for your kid? No, getting good gear can help slowly help elevate their game in the sport of hockey. They will improve and adapt and then will be ready for upgrades once that gear is worn out. Remember, roller hockey is expensive and it just keeps getting more and more expensive as you get older and become more advanced in your hockey skills. There's no need to spend a huge amount of money on equipment this early in a young hockey player's career.

Is kids equipment different from an adult hockey players? Yeah, they usually call it junior hockey gear. If you go to the online hockey gear websites, you will find them selling junior sticks and junior helps and such. These aren't really that different in material as they are in size. Although I must mention one thing that you may see differently in a child hockey player's skates. Some hockey equipment companies have their junior hockey skates come with one wheel less than their adult sizes. That means you will get only 3 wheels on a hockey skate rather than the standard four. This is basically just a foot sizing issue. They don't need four because the foot is only the size of the 3 wheels together. Can this be a good thing for a young hockey player? Yes, and it's good for the parents too. Why is that? Because you don't have to pay extra money for more bearings and more wheels that's 2 less hockey wheels you have to spend money on. Don't take this time for granted though as your kid most likely will grow out of it quickly and then you'll have to buy all new roller hockey equipment.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hockey Season Is Almost Over, Give Your Hockey Gear A Rest

That's right your hockey gear will make you sick in this weather. Its starting to heat up and summer time and hockey are not good bed fellows. Maybe you can find some hockey sales in the summer season, who knows? Clearance equipment is a plus side of the summer, but you can always get that on black friday anyway. Getting those best hockey skates can hold off until then.

By the way, I'm not talking about ice hockey. If you can play hockey in the summer time, the place must have an expensive air conditioning bill. I'm talking about playing street hockey. Yeah, its fun to play pickup games and choose teams, but make no mistake. You can get dehydrated playing hockey in the summer. Your hockey gear will make you overheat in about 10-20 minutes of playing. This will especially happen if the sun is beating down on you. Hockey equipment is heavy and unforgiving. Your body will not be able to breathe.

I played hockey in the summer time on many occassions. I played in 90 degeree weather and nearly vomitted. It wasn't fun thing to have happen to me. Yeah, I love roller hockey. If you love it too, you know that it can be hard to sit back when you could be out there scoring goals. Who wants to wear hot hockey skates anyways. Do you know how bad your feet will burn. Especially after skating hard? It's not worth it.

Just remember, everyone likes to play sports. Some sports cannot and should not be played in certain seasons. Outdoor roller hockey is one of them. Now don't be mistaken, if you find a good indoor hockey league, be my guest and join. You will be paying alot, but you won't get sick. So, give that hockey gear a break and wait until September rolls around.