Ottawa Senators star defenseman Erik Karlsson’s recent injury has made plenty of headlines. Both in Canada’s capital and around the hockey world fans, players and coaches aren’t just discussing the play that injured the defending Norris Trophy winner but they’re discussing ways to prevent future incidents.
Karlsson’s achilles tendon was cut when Matt Cooke’s left skate came down on an exposed portion of Karlsson’s leg in a collision along the boards. In what was little more than a body check gone wrong, the skate found its way past Karlsson’s padding and registered a serious cut. Now, just a few weeks later, the Winnipeg Jets are dealing with an equally scary situation as Zach Redmond suffered a similar, scary cut that sent him to the hospital.
The question is how can I ensure that I stay safe during a game?
Ensuring safety from sticks, pucks and skates is the primary focus of all traditional protective equipment, of course there are holes in the armor. Depending on what type of equipment you wear there will be gaps in protection around your wrists, neck and ankles. Goaltenders can wear collar-style neck guards to keep their neck safe and now players have an option for their wrists and ankles too.
A number of players around the NHL have been wearing Kevlar reinforced socks and the number of users has spiked lately due to the two recent injuries. In fact, Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee brought an entire case of the socks for his players to try out.
There are a few different forms and styles of the socks (and similar wrist guards) currently on the market. There are also talks of game socks sharing the same design features but there are still issues with the performance of those socks.
In addition to coming in various lengths – some go right up to the knee cap – there are a number of other features in these socks that are important to take into account. The Easton protective socks carried by Great Skate have an impressive amount of protection right where it matters, around the ankle where your tendons are at the most risk. These also have the look and feel of a traditional sock in the foot area, ensuring maximum comfort.
The socks ensure that your achilles and other tendons that can be exposed between the top of your skate and bottom of your shin guards will remain protected. The taller models also provide coverage up your calf – an area that remains uncovered by shin guards.
For some players the biggest adjustment is ensuring that they aren’t bothered by the fit or feel of the reinforced socks. Luckily most models – Easton’s to be specific – fit in a similar manner to any long skate sock you may already be wearing.
The only true adjustment will be the slight added weight that accompanies the new product. Aside from that minor adjustment there is little to worry about when adding this to your game. And when you consider the safety these provide, there is no reason not to deal with how they feel during first few practices you wear them.