How to buy and select hockey equipment

Choosing a stick, skates, and protective equipment. For a beginner the traditional wooden hockey stick (ash or rock elm) is best. A player on an organized team might appreciate the advantages of an aluminum stick: it’s lightweight with a foam-filled shaft; the blade of the stick is wooden and detachable if a replacement is needed.

A hockey stick’s lie (the angle between its blade and shaft) is an important consideration for competition. There are ten lies; No. 6 is the most popular. The angle between the blade and the shaft decreases as the lie numbers advance.

Stick shafts go up to 53 inches; blades up to 141/2 inches. To find your correct stick length, hold it with the shaft vertical and the tip of the blade touching the ice; the top of the shaft should touch your chin. A goalie needs a heavier and wider stick than other players.

Wrap some friction tape around the blade; it will give you better control of the puck. Wrap some too around the top of the shaft for a better grip.

Buy skates in your shoe size or a half size smaller. They should fit snugly over thin woolen socks. For good circulation, leave the top three eyelets of the boots loosely laced; some players don’t lace them at all. Protective equipment

Any form of hockey is a rough game. Broken teeth and bones and facial cuts requiring’ stitches can result. Buy and wear shin pads, elbow pads, hockey gloves, and a helmet. Strongly recommended, even for pond hockey, is a wire face mask.