In the Crease: Maintaining your gear

Perhaps no one position relies more on their equipment than goaltenders. From your skates to your helmet, every piece of gear can be used to make a save and is therefore vital in each and every game. Making sure your equipment is maintained is an important part of playing between the pipes.

While goaltending equipment is anything but fragile, it is important to ensure it is maintained properly. Ensuring to properly dry and store your equipment is an obvious rule of thumb but there are some other actions you can take to ensure your gear will help you perform at an elite level.

- Maintain the shape of your glove’s pocket

Each model of catching gloves have different features and construction methods for the pocket. Some have a hockey lace pocket, some use basic twine. Some have a split-T, some a reinforced-T and others a simple single-T. However, it is vital to make sure your pocket maintains proper integrity at all times.

A simple way to do this is to pop a softball in your glove when you’re storing it. This may not work for those of you who dry their gloves in the open position. But whenever you have the opportunity, toss a regular softball in the pocket.

The size of the softball will keep the T fully shaped and also keep the twine or lace pulled out with the T. This will ensure that the pocket will not collapse or lose its original structure. While it may not seem like much, it will help with popouts when making saves with your glove and sealing on the ice when covering the puck.

- Save your laces

All goal pads come with very generic twine to tie your skates into the pad at the toe bridge. This twine isn’t the best option for you to use when tying your pads into your skates. One of the first things I do when I get a new set of pads (which isn’t often enough) is to pull out the stock twine that the pad is manufactured with and replace it with skate lace.

Skate lace is far more durable than the stock twine and can also be adjusted to any length that you’re comfortable with. Using skate lace will give you a long-lasting product on a portion of your pad that is under constant stress and wear. Skate last will last far longer than the life expectancy of the stock twine.

The skate lace will also allow you to cut it to the exact length you prefer when tying in your pads will all but eliminate the lace from either coming untied or hanging down around the ice during games or practices. Stepping on a loose piece of twine is a terrifying feeling and putting your own skate lace in will make you feel very secure.

Another helpful hint with the lace: don’t buy a brand new set of laces for this. Collect old or ripped laces from around the locker room (or if you replace your laces). You don’t need a full 96” lace for your pads and even an old, ripped lace will be cut and adjusted anyway.

- Make those laces last

Most goal skates have a full plastic cowling these days. The plastic is rounded and smooth which makes the area between the blade and cowling an area far less susceptible to wear. However, older skates and some lower price point models still have exposed steel. Whether you have a full-plastic cowling or exposed steel, it is wise to wrap tape around those areas your pad lacing and straps will rub against. The tape will limit wear and add life to those parts of the pad. Once again, another nice way to prevent the laces that you use to tie into your pads from ending up on the ice.

- Dry your pads upside down

This is only a recommendation you should follow if you really like having a significant s-curve in your pads. If you prefer or use a stiffer pad, don’t try this. By storing your pads upside down, the wettest portion (the bottom) will help to add pressure on the rest of the pad while drying, thus slowly creating a more pronounced s-curve. I used this on my old Vaughn Velocity models and it led to great closure along the ice and at the five hole when I was in the butterfly. I have since stopped since going to a longer pad that has a different construction.

The main drawback is that this will shorten your pads over their lifetime. So if you don’t have a tall enough pad, or don’t want to lose that vertical length, don’t give this a try. However, the s-curve it creates will help when the pads are on the ice.

If I were to go back to a leg pad with a softer construction (Velocity or even Bauer’s new Reactor) I’d consider flipping my pads once again. This is definitely not for everyone, but I loved the way my pads performed when I tried it.

- Treat your gear as well as you want to play

This is more about the mindset associated with playing the game more than anything else. As the saying goes, “look good, play good” (sic). If you’re happy with how your gear feels and performs, you’re likely to respond in a similar manner. If your equipment is soggy, feels awful and is breaking down, you probably won’t play very well.

Make sure you fully air out your equipment, take sweatbands out of your helmet or other removable areas on your gear. You should want your gear to last as long as possible and perform at the maximum level. Hopefully these tips will steer you in the right direction.

CCM helmets boom in popularity

CCM Hockey Helmets

This shot of the Maple Leafs’ bench shows all but three players wearing a CCM model helmet

Laying claim to the most popular piece of equipment in the NHL is no easy feat. With players using custom models – and even some prototypes – determining the most widely used piece of equipment might not be the easiest task.

However, just look up and down any NHL bench and you’ll see one obvious trend; more players in the world’s best league are using CCM helmets. In fact, I reached out to CCM on Twitter and found out the V08 model is the one that has become the most popular helmet in the NHL

The CCM shell design meets all the requirements that players look for. It has a narrow, low-profile look with plenty of ventilation and an overall design that passes the ever important mirror test. All of CCM’s helmets have a similar shell design, but only the VECT and V08 models use the same ventilation layout and on-the-fly adjustment tabs.

In fact, CCM’s helmets sport 19 total vents in various areas of the helmets to ensure maximum airflow for the wearer. The vent layout on the front of the helmet has a somewhat futuristic look to it that adds some attitude to the look of the shell.

What might be interesting to hear is the fact that the V08 has more popularity amongst professionals than the VECT model. However, the liner foam in the V08 is made up of dual-density VN foam that has long been wildly popular at the pro ranks. This type of liner is used by all manufacturers and although it doesn’t have the bells and whistles of the liners used in each company’s top helmet model, it is extremely comfortable despite some of the technical shortcomings

CCM’s VECT model uses EPP foam with memory foam padding at strategic points in the liner. This combination provides excellent protection and actually offers some improvements over the traditional VN foam liner in the V08 model (CCM’s V06 model also uses the EPP and memory foam combo). When it comes down to choosing one model over the other the determination comes down to comfort.

What shouldn’t be ignored are the safety and comfort of the EPP and memory foam found on the VECT model. As someone who has used helmets that utilize both a traditional VN foam liner and the more advanced EPP with memory foam pads, I’m not sure if there is a clear favorite.

Amongst the numerous helmets I’ve donned are a Bauer 4500 and 5100 (current) along with a RBK 8K which, at the time, was their top model.

The 8K had the EPP and memory foam combo and was extremely comfortable to wear. The specific design of that helmet allowed for a lot of airflow and the memory foam pads were strategically positioned for maximum comfort. Much like my old 8K, I’m certain that the VECT liner construction will offer the same comfort if you should choose to make it your next purchase.

The main issue many have is that the EPP and memory foam combination doesn’t always feel as comfortable for all wearers. That is the beauty of the VN foam liner. It is a generic liner that cushions your head no matter what comfort level you’re seeking. While the foam doesn’t have the same properties as memory foam, the sweat and heat produced during play will help to break in the foam and it will end up molding to your head over time.

I’d have to say that if tasked with choosing a new helmet that a model with VN foam would be what I’d purchase. However, that shouldn’t direct you or anyone else from the protective qualities that a model, like the VECT, with EPP foam has. Ultimately it is all about finding the delicate balance between comfort and

Composite Mini Sticks

Bauer Vapor APX Mini Stick

Manufacturers bring top-end sticks to childhood favorite

 

Manufacturers bring top-end sticks to childhood favorite

Knee hockey is one of the numerous things that makes hockey what it is. Not many sports have a portable, miniature version that can be played just about anywhere.

Just think back to travel tournaments and the countless hotel hallways you were expelled from when playing knee hockey. Knee hockey just happens to be a portion of hockey culture that makes our sport so incredibly unique.

Not unlike the full size version of the sport, knee hockey has seen a number of advances in recent years. Manufacturers now make miniature nets (not necessarily a new development) which inevitably saves desks, tables, chairs and hallway radiators from the beating that comes along with the game. In addition, the days of dipping your straight-blade plastic stick in boiling water to create a curve are over. Now you can choose a mini stick from a plethora of choices that are near mirror images to the full size sticks made by hockey’s biggest manufacturers.

Warrior, Bauer, CCM, Reebok and Sher-Wood all have created their own composite mini sticks complete with curves and identical design patterns to that of the full size retail sticks you use on the ice. What these sticks do is add a little style and extra performance to a rec-room or travel tournament classic.

Reebok not only has a mini composite version of their new 20K stick, they also introduced a composite goal stick that is patterned after the 11K composite goal stick that is being used throughout the NHL – this follows previous miniature versions of the O-Stick and A.I.9. CCM also produced a mini composite of their premier stick with a mini RBZ. Like the 20K, the mini RBZ also sports the same markings and art that the top model does – although it doesn’t provide some of the technological advances that the full size stick does.

Both CCM and Reebok have their own net models as well which can be set up in your basement or rec room to add even more of an ice element to each knee game.

Bauer actually has a Vapor APX and TotalOne NXG for you to choose from while Sher-Wood’s collection spans the entire NHL. So, for those of you who are nostalgic for the straight plastic, team-branded sticks of the past, perhaps the Sher-Wood team models would provide a nice transition.

While I can’t attest if the composite mini sticks can add performance to your knee hockey game as their full-size cousins do for ice hockey, I can say they bring a cool wrinkle to a game that you should never need an excuse to play.

I, for one, am seriously considering setting up a knee hockey rink as part of my man cave in the very near future.

Finding Your Hockey Stick Flex

Wandering through Great Skate’s stick section provides players with a plethora of options from manufacturers like Bauer, CCM, Reebok, Warrior and many others. Picking the right stick for you is determined by many factors that ultimately will help find the right stick for your game.

The right look, feel, weight, curve and flex of a stick are all determining factors for a player making this choice. Determining the right curve and weight is often something that has developed over a number of years and that has been determined by the style of game you play. In many ways the flex of any stick you buy will be determined in the same manner. However, how do you know which flex suits you best?

There are a number of different flexes available for players to choose from the range upwards to 110 (very stiff) to 40 (junior flex). It is important that the flex used by a player meets their specific strength and skill level.

In the case of young players who are still perfecting stickhandling and shooting, ensuring that the flex of your stick is adequate for your physical strength is just about all that needs to be considered. For those players who are stronger and more developed, finding an adequate flex will be more important.

First off, understand that different stick manufacturers utilize different practices and construction methods. Just like Ford, Toyota and Chevy all make different four-door cars, Bauer, CCM and Warrior make different composite sticks. So you may find that the 100 flex on the new CCM RBZ will feel differently from the 100 flex on a Bauer Total One or the new Warrior Covert.

Another thing to keep in mind is that lengthening or cutting down a stick will affect the flex. Each time you cut down a stick, you add stiffness to the original flex. You can expect to increase a stick’s flex by about 10 if you take off 2-3 inches. The opposite is true if you add length to a stick as it will add whip.

When it comes down to choosing the right flex there are a number of determining factors that come into play. For players who aren’t fully developed, an intermediate flex – between 50 and 75 – is a good starting point while 90 or 100 is a good place to start for those players who are fully grown.

Going up or down in flex will be determined by a few different factors that include playing style, strength and how skilled you are. Bear in mind that a player who isn’t as skilled and is still working on developing different facets of their game will struggle with a stick with a stiff flex (anything above 100) as it will not only limit your ability taking slap shots but wrist shots too.

If you’re a player who has a heavy slap shot, a stiffer flex would be best for you. In addition, physically strong players will not only have an easier time flexing stiffer sticks, they will gain more benefit from using one. The inverse is also true. If you’re slap shot is lacking and you aren’t as physically strong as others, going with a lighter flex will allow you to fully utilize your specific skill set.

Conferring with a Great Skate sales associate will also provide expert guidance to your specific needs when shopping in the store or online.

At the end of the day, finding a proper flex is going to be based largely off personal preference. But if you find a certain area of your game lacking, consider going up or down in flex to see if there is a noticeable difference.

CCM RBZ Grip Senior Hockey Stick 100 Flex

CCM RBZ Grip Senior Hockey Stick 100 Flex

Warrior Covert DT1 Senior Composite Hockey Stick - 85 Flex

Warrior Covert DT1 Senior Composite Hockey Stick – 85 Flex

Bauer Supreme Senior TotalOne NXG Hockey Stick - 77 Flex

Bauer Supreme Senior TotalOne NXG Hockey Stick – 77 Flex

The Help You Need Finding Reebok Skates

Purchasing ice or inline skates isn’t like buying a pair of shoes. The skates need to fit as snugly as possible to provide you with the stability you need. Generally, the best advice is to buy skates that are about a half size to a full size smaller than your regular shoe size.

How do you know if you have the right fit? If you can fit more than one finger between your heel and the skate, than you need a smaller size. If you shop at Great Skate Hockey Supply Company, we’ll not only help you purchase a pair of Reebok skates, but we’ll refund your order within 30 days if the skates don’t fit.

Here at Great Skate Hockey Supply Company, we sell skates by all of the major brands including Reebok, Mission, Bauer and CCM. When you log on to our website at www.greatskate.com, you can search for either inline or ice skates to find the products that match your desired sport. Upon ordering, your skates will be shipped within 24 hours, ensuring that you get your order in the shortest amount of time possible.

Shopping for Reebok skates shouldn’t be difficult or confusing. When you shop with us at Great Skate Hockey Supply Company, you’ll be greeted with exceptional customer service, a large selection of products, and the lowest possible prices on our full line of hockey gear. If you’d like to speak to a representative, please contact us at (800) 828-7496 or email us at greatskate@greatskate.com. Let us be your best resource for Reebok skates and other pro-quality hockey gear!

Shopping Confidently for Reebok Goalie Equipment

The goalie, or goaltender, plays a very important role in the game of hockey. If this is your position, you know how important it is for you to have the proper equipment. Not only will a proper stick and glove make stopping the puck much easier, but the right protective gear will help prevent injury–a definite bonus!

Here at Great Skate Hockey Supply Company, we sell Reebok goalie equipment that’ll improve your game, keep you safe and fit within your budget. If you’re only interested in Reebok products, you can run a search by manufacturer on our homepage, so you’ll only be presented with products that match your exact needs. By making our website as user-friendly as possible, we’ve made it simple for you shop efficiently. Check us out atwww.greatskate.com.

After you search for Reebok, you’ll be presented with pages of products that include sticks, pads, helmets and other types of equipment. To narrow down your search, you can choose the category that best represents the items you’re looking for, whether it be goalie masks or pants. And with detailed photographs and descriptions of every item we carry, you can shop with confidence.

We understand that even the most seasoned goalie might have questions about choosing goalie equipment. Our customer service associates aren’t just eager to help, their hockey experts who are committed to offering you the best advice possible. If you have any questions about our Reebok products, please call us toll-free at (800) 828-7496 or email us at greatskate@greatskate.com. Start browsing for great goalie equipment now!

Reebok Hockey Equipment

Reebok 5K Sr. Inline Hockey Skates

Reebok 5K Sr. Inline Hockey Skates

In the world of sports, the name Reebok needs no explanation. For well over 100 years, the company has been manufacturing equipment for an array of sports, including running, tennis and basketball. Now they have entered the arena of hockey as well, creating equipment under the names Reebok and CCM. An official sponsor of the NHL, Reebok / CCM hockey equipment is endorsed by two stars of pro hockey, Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin.

Few other brands have saturated the athletic wear and sports equipment industry more than Reebok. Chances are you’ve owned a pair of Reebok shoes or other piece of apparel at some point. If so, you know they’re durable, comfortable and stylish. Trust them again for your hockey equipment needs!

Saving Money on Reebok Hockey Equipment

If you’re a faithful Reebok customer looking for professional-quality hockey equipment at a low price, the only place to shop is Great Skate Hockey Supply Company. Located online at www.greatskate.com, our inventory includes lots of great products by Reebok and its subsidiary CCM. From hockey sticks to face masks and skates, we have just what you’re looking for.

Want to save $100 or more on a pair of Reebok hockey skates? We’re always offering amazing sales on hockey equipment and apparel, making it easy for you to get the gear you need. If you need any assistance with your purchase, or have a questions for us, just ask! You can call us toll-free at (800) 828-7496 or contact us.