Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Low Down on Hockey Skates, Sticks and Equipment

I am constantly asked about skates (sharpening, what type, stiffness, how tight/top eyelit, etc), sticks (how stiff, height, color of tape, etc) and general equipment (helmets, shin pads inside or outside of skates, etc). I love to discuss and answer these types of questions. With that said, it is all personal preference. What I like and feel comfortable with is not necessarily the best for other players.

Personally I skate fairly low and use a very short stick and a low lie. It just feels comfortable for me (sternum area). I have also played with and against players that use exceptionally long sticks. Cal Clutterbuck of the Minnesota Wild uses a stick that is a half inch over his eyebrow's!! That is the other extreme!! Brian Rolsten uses a very stiff 120 flex stick where as Phil Kessel has been known to use a 67 flex intermediate stick!!

With regards to skates, I like my skates with a radius of 7 and the toe and heel of my blades grounded down further. I sharpen them very rarely and when I do I get them sharpened I get them done at 7/8's...where I feel I am on top of the ice. Again I know players that use an exceptionally deep hollow (3 Players on the Edmonton Oilers that are 3/8's), some that do not get their skates contoured, and some that have their skates sharpened all the time.

I personally like a stiff skate that are almost 3 sizes smaller than my shoe. I lace them up lightly until the top 2 eyelits and then I tighten them quite tight. Their are others that wear a more flexible skate, some tape there ankles (as I used to), some where shinpads on the outside/some on the inside of their skates. Mark Messier used to love new skates and was constantly wearing new skates. When I was playing Junior B and then in the OHL...I wore the same skates 3 years in a row!!

What I am trying to get at is there are so many options and every player is different!! I personally like things the way I like them....where many other players wouldn't even consider having their skates, sticks or gear anything close to mine. You need to get properly fitted by a knowledgeable professional, ask questions (to people like myself - who knows the players tendencies), experiment and do what feels right for you and not what Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin or Drew Doughty do!!