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Customizing hockey skates can be smart and even advisable, assuming you’ve first done your research and purchased a pair of skates that fit properly. Hockey skates can be baked for the perfect fit and can be adjusted with inserts. You can also purchase custom-made skates. The first step is to make sure your new skates fit correctly. If they’re the right length and width, you can then take additional steps to enhance their comfort and performance.

How to Adjust Your Hockey Skates Manually

You can adjust a pair of hockey skates yourself fairly easily. Most manufacturers prioritize adjustability and customization and offer a variety of ways to improve the fit and comfort of their skates. This is particularly true of high-end skates that feature more customization options than recreational or performance-level skates.

Hockey Skate Inserts and Gel Pads

Plastic inserts can be a great way to help avoid nagging and potentially debilitating lace bite. They’re typically inserted into a slot in the tongue and provide additional ankle and instep relief beneath the laces.

Lace bite gel pads are another manual solution that helps many skaters. These pads adhere to the underside of your skate tongue while a soft gel rests against your sock or skin. Elastic ankle sleeves with built-in gel pads are also popular.

You may also be tying your laces too tightly. Try loosening your laces, but also re-lace your skates through the eyelets from the outside in, rather than the inside out. This helps the laces to follow the curve of the tongue better, thus relieving some pressure.

Skate Insoles

Hockey skate orthotics come in many versions, and they’re an affordable way to improve your skate’s fit and comfort. If the stock insoles don’t provide the support or comfort you want, custom insoles are an easy solution. You’ll find insoles that provide greater arch support, offer better cooling and ventilation, wick away moisture better, or that are simply more plush. Remember, if you do purchase a thicker insole, you’re reducing the negative space inside the skate and may end up creating or exacerbating other fit discomforts.

Baking Hockey Skates

Most high-end skates have thermoformable boots. These skates soften when baking and will permanently mold to the skater’s foot shape when worn during cooling. Baking is a common practice because it greatly enhances the skate’s fit and comfort.

If you’re wondering how to bake hockey skates, we recommend letting the pros at Pure Hockey do it for you. Retail stores usually have an oven designed specifically for baking skates, and the in-store experts like those at Pure Hockey possess the knowledge to do the job right.

Custom Hockey Skates

Some skate companies, including Bauer and CCM, will make custom hockey skates for the interested buyer. These companies have developed technologies that electronically measure your entire foot in 3-D. The manufacturer can then use this information to recommend the best hockey skate for your foot. You’re still getting stock skates, but the technology helps you zero in on the right pair, essentially minimizing the shopping process and giving you peace of mind.

A step beyond this is to have actual custom skates tailor-made to your foot and ankle dimensions. CCM and Bauer, for example, can build skates based on your 3-D measurements—CCM will build you a one-piece skate—that will give you the best possible fit. You’ll pay a premium for custom hockey skates, but the ultimate comfort and fit may be worth the price.

If you’re shopping for a new pair, know how to fit hockey skates to help ensure the best fit. Remember that your skates will break in over time and become increasingly comfortable as the internal padding molds to your foot and ankle shape. This is especially true of high-end skates with stiff boots—and especially after baking. Consider customizing your hockey skates after you’ve properly broken them in.

Are you new to hockey or buying a pair of hockey skates for a child? Check out our hockey resource center for insightful buying and fitting guides. Our Low-Price Guarantee promises the best deals available on everything we sell.

The post How to Customize Hockey Skates for Maximum Comfort appeared first on Pure Hockey.

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According to David A. Jensen, it’s important that a hockey player prepares both body and mind for an upcoming game. And as a former player in the NHL, he should know; he credits his father with helping him hone his own pregame rituals. Now the owner and operator of DAJ Hockey, New England’s premier hockey skills training company, Jensen shares the methods he developed as a pro with young players looking to take their games to the next level. The five steps range from the mundane (drink a lot of fluids) to the metaphysical (visualize your game), and these complementary rituals come together in the final step, during on-ice warm-ups. Here are Jensen’s top five ways to prepare for peak performance in a hockey game:

  1. Stay Hydrated. It seems obvious, but it’s extremely important to drink enough during the day leading up to your game. Dehydration can affect not only your physical performance, but also your mental performance. If you are not well hydrated, you can suffer from fatigue, headaches, and cramps as the game goes on. Just as important, dehydration can affect your concentration and mental sharpness. You don’t want to be locked in a tight third-period battle and not be in top form.
  2. Stretch and Stay Flexible. There’s a lot of contradictory research on the value of stretching before athletic activity, but it seems clear that your focus should be on flexibility. The goal is for your body to be loose and to have good range of motion. Start by warming up with a little light jogging in place or skipping rope, and then work on loosening up your ankles, knees, hips, and shoulders with dynamic stretches—that is, those that don’t involve holding the same position too long. (Those classic stretch-and-hold routines are better performed the day after a game.) No one routine will work for every player, so try some dynamic stretches to combat stiffness that can slow you down. Examples include ankle rotations, knee cradles, hip bridges, and the shoulder towel stretch—you can find a multitude of online videos that demonstrate them.
  3. Warm Up Your Hands. You also want to loosen up your hands and reinforce proper muscle memory just prior to games, so Jensen recommends off-ice stick-handling drills with a ball—either in the locker room or out in the hall. Spend just ten minutes with the ball, maintaining control and practicing some of your favorite moves. This will also “warm up” the connections between your brain and your hands, so you’ll have better control when the puck drops.
  4. Visualize Your Game. Here’s one that might not occur to many players, but which Jensen believes is really important. In the hours leading up to the game, he would always visualize himself in game situations. “Visualization and positive reinforcement of every conceivable game situation is important for confidence,” he argues. “And it gives the best chance of being mentally sharp at puck drop.” If you’re a forward, imagine yourself receiving the puck in front of goal, and work out how you’d get the shot off and where you’d aim. If you’re a defender, picture making that incisive forward pass that puts your teammate through on goal. It’s almost like you’re adding practice repetitions to work your mental “muscles.” This may seem silly or new-agey to you, but Jensen swears it helped him make better, faster decisions in games.
  5. Do On-Ice Warm-Ups at Top Speed. The final step in preparation is one that Jensen’s dad always insisted on. When you step on the ice before the game, don’t simply cruise through warm-ups. Treat every drill like it’s an actual game, and do everything at top speed. That way, your muscles and your mind will already be at game sharpness when you go over the boards for your first shift. You won’t have to “play yourself into the game.” While the opposition might be just warming up during the first period, you’ll be at peak performance.

As soon as the puck drops to start the first period, hockey is an intense, fast-paced game; there’s not really time to “get up to speed.” You need to be ready—physically and mentally—to play your best during your very first shift. And what often separate a good player from a very good player are the little extra things that help on-ice performance—the kind of pregame preparation that might give you the edge you need to overcome the opposition. The best way to ensure this kind of readiness is to prepare properly in the hours and minutes before the game. Laying the groundwork for peak physical and mental performance will give you a leg up on the competition and help you come out of the starting blocks at top speed. Following these five steps before every game can help you take your performance to the next level.

The post 5 Ways to Prepare for a Hockey Game appeared first on Pure Hockey.

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When it comes to buying a new hockey stick, a dizzying array of options is available, and trying to find just the right twig for your style of play can be confusing. The part of the stick where you’re confronted with the greatest number of choices is the blade. Major manufacturers such as Bauer and CCM typically offer at least a half-dozen different blade patterns from year to year. Some blade patterns are named for NHL players, while others have such descriptive titles as PP28. It’s tempting simply to choose the blade pattern your favorite player uses (or your favorite among those with blade patterns named after them), but that’s not the best way to ensure you match a hockey stick blade curve to your style and skills.

A hockey stick blade is not a flat plane of wood or composite material; it is both curved and twisted. The angle of the face (the loft) can be open or closed to varying degrees, the heel and toe can be square or rounded, the angle between the blade and shaft (the lie) can vary, and blades come in different lengths. Today, we’re talking about the curve and how it affects your play on the ice.

Understanding Hockey Blade Curves

The curve of a hockey stick blade is not uniform, as if it were a segment of a circle. In fact, the curve can be focused at any point along the shaft. When you’re handling a puck, it will naturally go to the deepest part of the curve, called the pocket, and this can exist anywhere along the blade. Stick blades are usually described as heel curve, mid  curve, or toe curve, depending on whether the pocket is closer to the rear or the front of the blade. The mid group is further broken down to mid and mid-heel.

The other variable to consider is curve depth. The deeper the curve, the easier it is to control the puck as you skate. (Both international and NHL rules restrict the depth of the curve to ¾ of an inch (19mm) to limit a player’s level of control.) A deeper curve also allows a player to lift the puck off the ice more easily, so limiting the depth is a way to keep the puck down. Of course, there are two sides to the blade. A lot of curve may help you control the puck going forward, but it will make backhand passes and shots more difficult and less accurate.

Although many players focus on how the blade curve can affect shot velocity, the truth is that curve probably has much more influence on puck control and shot accuracy. You probably spend a lot more time during a game stick-handling than you do shooting, anyway. Shot velocity can be improved with the right kick-point and stick flex, but it is mostly determined by a complex combination of strength and form, developed over years of practice.

So, which should you choose? True heel curves are usually considered best for defensemen, who need to make long clearances and slap shots from the point. Good choices for heel curves include:

Settling on a Hockey Blade Curve: Choose Your Weapon

True toe curves are for snipers who want maximum control of the puck, a very quick release, and ultimate shot accuracy. If you want the ability to dangle like a pro and find the top corner from the slot every time, this might be the blade for you, but these blades are recommended for experienced players, because using them requires more skill on the player’s part. Blades designed with toe curves include:

The mid-heel is a good choice for a defender or defensive-minded player who wants an improved stick-handling ability while still maintaining the benefits of the heel curve. Mid-heel curve configurations include:

The regular, old mid curve does everything well, but nothing exceptionally well, so it may be a good place to start if you’re not sure what kind of curve you prefer. A solid choice is a mid curve that’s about ½ inch deep, which offers the best all-around performance. Examples of mid curves include:

As a player progresses in skill and learns which position on the ice best suits them, the most appropriate blade curve will become clearer. Defenders will most likely gravitate to heel and mid-heel curves, while forwards probably want mid or even toe curves. Eventually, it comes down to personal preference and desire for performance. Luckily, there are enough options that any player can find the curve that suits them best.

The post Understanding Hockey Blade Curves: What’s Available, and What’s the Difference? appeared first on Pure Hockey.

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Hockey rink dimensions, and everything else on the ice for that matter, can be mysterious to the new hockey player, parent, or casual fan. A glance at the typical rink shows lines in various colors, and circles with dots in them in various positions—some with hash marks and some without. How big is a rink, and what do all these hockey rink lines and circles mean?

How Big Is an NHL Hockey Rink?

An NHL hockey rink is rectangular in shape at just over 200 feet long and just over 85 feet wide. The rink features rounded corners to keep game play fluid, and is surrounded by walls, called “boards,” that rise between 40 and 48 inches from the ice. On top of the boards rests a series of plexiglass panels.  (The NHL required all teams to convert their arenas to plexiglass systems for the 2011-12 season, due to safety concerns with the older, less forgiving tempered glass systems.) The glass allows fans to have a near-perfect view of the action while keeping them safe from flying pucks. It rises an additional five feet over the boards and eight feet at either end of the rink. Another 18 feet of netting on top of the glass at both ends of the hockey rink protects the fans behind the goals from tipped and deflected shots that can sail high over the glass and out of play.

Though ice skating rinks can come in many dimensions, most hockey rinks in North America, including those used in the NHL, are uniform.

What Do the Lines Mean in a Hockey Rink?

Hockey rinks have three wide lines: two blue and one red. The red line divides the rink in half while each blue line is 25 feet on either side of the red line, creating a “neutral zone” of 50 feet between them. Additionally, at either end of the ice is a thin red line that reaches across the entire width of the rink. The puck must completely cross this “goal line” (into the goal) to count as a score. The goal lines are 11 feet from the boards at either end of the rink, and they’re about 64 feet from either blue line.

What Are the Zones in a Hockey Rink?

A hockey rink is divided into three zones. Were you to stand in front of one goal and look at the opposite goal, the space from the boards behind your goal to the first blue line is the “defensive zone.” About 75 feet long, it’s the area your team defends. The 50-foot space between the two blue lines is called the “neutral zone” and the space beyond the second blue line to the far end of the rink is your 75-foot “offensive zone” or “attacking zone”—the area from inside which your offensive players most typically score.

Behind each goal is a trapezoidal area in which the goalie is allowed to handle the puck. Two lines extend diagonally from either side of the goal to the boards behind the net. The width of this area along the boards is 28 feet and its width at the goal line is 18 feet.

What Is the Goalie Crease (And How Big Is It)?

The goalie crease is the area where goalies are allowed to operate without being touched, at least in theory. The crease is a half-circle with a 6-foot radius that in recent years has been extended by one foot from the goal line, increasing the area of goalie protection in front of the net.

What Are the Faceoff Circles and Hockey Dots?

A hockey faceoff can occur at any one of the nine dots on the ice hockey rink. Two dots are found in the defensive zone, two in the offensive zone, and five in the neutral zone. Game play starts at the center dot at the beginning of the game, at the start of each period, and after goals are scored. The four other dots in the neutral zone are used to restart play after offsides violations, or if the puck leaves the playing area from the neutral zone.

The two dots in both the offensive and defensive zones are used to restart play in the event of icing, if the puck leaves the playing area from that zone, or if it is “frozen”—prevented from moving by players’ skates along the boards, or if the goalie covers the puck, resulting in a whistle and a face-off.

Circles 30 feet in diameter surround the center-ice dot and the four dots in the offensive and defensive zones. Only the two players participating in a faceoff are allowed to be inside the circle. The hash marks indicate where the other players must be positioned.

What Are the Penalty Boxes and Hockey Benches (And Where Are They?)

Each team has a bench where players sit when they’re not on the ice. These benches are positioned on either side of the center line and stretch from the center line to either blue line. There is no glass on the boards in front of either bench, to allow players to vault quickly onto the ice. Players leaving the ice typically use a door.

Opposite the team benches are three small boxes with three small benches. The box in the center is where the scorer’s table is positioned. On either side of the scorer’s table is each team’s penalty box. All three of these small boxes are protected by glass. There are many different kinds of  penalties that earn various amounts of time in the penalty box. When a player is in the penalty box, the other team has an extra-player advantage called a “power play”—one of the game’s most exciting aspects.
Of course, all this is purely academic until you watch a game and get familiar with how all these lines and dots and circles give structure to the game. Better yet, head down to the arena and take in a game live—there’s nothing quite like an arena full of screaming fans and a fast-paced hockey game. And make sure you know what to wear to a hockey game—it’s fun to look the part!

The post Hockey Rink Dimensions (And Mysterious Markings), Explained appeared first on Pure Hockey.

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The best youth hockey camp will be the one that addresses the skill(s) you want to improve, that offers the most fun at an appropriate level, and that falls within the family’s budget. Whatever age or ability levels the hockey camp addresses, or whatever its focus, you want to get the most value for your money in the form of the best instruction possible—and have the most fun. Develop a list of priorities and then choose the camp that most closely matches your goals.

Kinds of Hockey Camps

There’s a dizzying array of niche hockey camps for players of every ilk, including camps for adults, overnight hockey camps, defense hockey camps, girls-only ice hockey camps, hockey camps for beginners, camps for elite players, and general hockey skills camps.

Once you’ve established your priorities and which camps will best meet them, consider the following factors as you narrow your choice.

Hockey Camps Near Me vs. Overnight Hockey Camps

It may be wise to choose a hockey camp that’s within reasonable driving distance. Remember, you’re going to be making that trip twice a day. Decide what the point of diminishing returns is. If you’re spending two or more hours a day in the car driving back and forth from camp—remember, you’re paying for the gas, too—is that hockey camp worth it? You’re going to the camp, too—at least for drop-off and pick-up—so your convenience can make a big difference, particularly if you need to go to work afterwards.

If your child is looking for a summer hockey camp for something fun to do, or is more of a casual player, it might be wise to look for a local camp. Similarly, if your child is uncomfortable being away from home, an overnight camp may not be appropriate.

If your child is serious and skilled, it may make sense to invest in a highly regarded sleepaway camp or traveling, even by plane, to an elite hockey camp in another city or state, assuming there isn’t one nearby. If your child’s highly motivated and committed to the sport. There’s no substitute for surrounding your child with the best players and instructors possible.

Ice Hockey Camp Skill Level

Don’t waste time and money sending your child to a camp that doesn’t suit their skill level. Your child’s experience at any camp should be a positive one. Enrolling them in a camp where they’re surrounded by significantly more skilled players will lead only to frustration. On the other hand, sending them to a camp beneath their skill level can also lead to frustration and boredom.

Most hockey camps will advertise the skill level(s) they teach. If you’re not sure whether the camp will be a good fit for you or your child, contact the camp administrator and ask them directly what sort of kid usually attends the camp. It’s to their benefit, too, that your child has a positive experience, and they’ll tell you whether the camp will be too difficult or too basic.

Hockey Coach-to-Player Ratio

The more instructional staff there is, the more individualized instruction you or your child will receive. The coach-to-player ratio is a statistic camp administrators should have at the ready if it’s not mentioned in the literature. Look for a low ratio of about eight (or fewer) campers per instructor.

While group instruction is necessary to introduce concepts, drills, and skills, you’ll want some level of individualized instruction and tailored feedback. It’s important for the hockey coach to interact with and get to know campers, preferably by name.

Hockey Camp Names

What’s in a name? Don’t be fooled by the razzle-dazzle of a star player’s name. Often the star is there to sign autographs and open the camp with a speech, while most of the instruction is left to teens and local coaches. Rely on the camp’s reputation over its name. Read the marketing materials. Call and ask questions. Remember—hockey camps are businesses. They exist to instruct, but also want and need to make money to survive.

If the camp is disorganized or the instructors can’t effectively teach—even if a hockey camp is staffed with the best players around—then what’s the point? Ask your fellow hockey parents what the word on the street is—they understand the position you’re in and will offer unvarnished answers.

Cost and Time Considerations

Expect to pay the most for longer overnight hockey camps, and add a premium if the camp is attached to an NHL star’s name. Local or reasonably nearby day camps should cost between $25 and $30 an hour. Factor in your gas and food for an accurate sense of the camp’s total cost. You shouldn’t need to donate a large chunk of your tax return for a week of hockey camp.

Of course, it comes down to how much you’re willing to pay, but don’t feel ashamed if finances are a determining factor. Remember, you want the most value for your money—if that expensive camp offers an unmatched experience, it may be worth it to you and your child to pay up. On the other hand, if your child’s friends are all attending a local camp staffed with respected and familiar local instructors, then that might be the most valuable experience.

At the end of the day, it comes down not just to what is best for the child, but what works best for the parents, too. The whole family ultimately has a stake in the hockey camp you choose—make sure it’s fun and productive for the kids, but also a good fit for your budget and schedule.

The post How to Choose the Best Summer Hockey Camp appeared first on Pure Hockey.

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Pure Hockey Blog by Pure Hockey - 3M ago

Your hockey equipment bag is one of the most important pieces of gear you own. It carries your skates, helmet, and pads, but it’s also home to all the hockey accessories that can be critical to keeping you on the ice and off the bench.

Essential Accessories to Carry in Your Hockey Bag Hockey Tape and Scissors

How many times have you been in the locker room and heard, “Who’s got some clear?” Don’t be the guy who is always using someone else’s hockey tape. Cloth tape—usually in white or black and also called “stick tape”—gives you extra grip on the blade. Clear tape is used to hold up your socks and secure your shin guards more tightly. Both are necessities for just about every player. And a small pair of tape scissors makes dealing with tape much easier.

Skate Laces

There’s nothing worse than breaking a lace right before you’re about to hit the ice. Laces get nicked by skate blades and sticks and will break eventually, but you can be ready with a spare pair of waxed and/or unwaxed skate laces. You’ll be happy you have them when the time comes. Keep a lighter in your hockey bag, too: it can help you manage frayed ends to make lacing up a lot easier.

Honing Stone

A honing stone is a smart addition to your hockey bag. You probably already know that the guys who design hockey rinks didn’t take your skate blades into consideration. Long stretches of concrete, even beneath the bench, will wear your edges. Avoid blowing a tire at a critical moment in the game: a honing stone doesn’t replace a proper skate sharpening, but is an excellent on-the-spot resource for smoothing out burrs and rebuilding your edges on the bench. A honing stone is also a handy tool for those who live far away from the skate shop and can’t easily have their skates sharpened professionally.

Skate Guards

Not only do skate guards prolong your blade life, but they also save the rest of your hockey gear (including your gear bag) from being torn up and sliced by your skate blades. They’re a smart investment.

Hockey Helmet Repair Kit

Helmets get banged around a lot, whether that’s in your bag or during the game. Screws loosen and disappear. Chin straps fail. A helmet repair kit is a useful addition to your bag. Many kits come with basic helmet hardware, like replacement screws, but some kits are flush with buckles, straps, screws, and usually a screwdriver. If you forego the kit, spare screws and a screwdriver or multi-purpose tool—like a Swiss Army knife or Leatherman—are handy hockey bag essentials.

Replacement Skate Blades

Whether they’re simply worn beyond use or suddenly damaged, you’ll eventually need replacement skate blades. A spare pair of skate runners is an excellent item to carry in your bag, especially if you skate a lot.

Some manufacturers, like Bauer and CCM, use release systems on their higher-end skates so players can swap their blades on the bench in seconds. Bauer uses Tuuk’s Lightspeed Edge holder which employs a trigger release. CCM has recently introduced their new Speedblade Xchange System which also allows for fast blade replacement.

If you don’t own a pair of skates with removable blades, you’ll need the right tools—usually a socket and wrench. Many skates come with the necessary socket extension.

Hockey Pucks

If you’re usually the first player on the ice—and even if you’re not—spare hockey pucks are always useful to have. You can’t play shinny or run a stick-and-puck session without one. Carry two or three and get the action started.

Water Bottle

A good water bottle is a must-have accessory. You’re going to sweat a lot and you need to replenish all those lost fluids. Squirt bottles work well, especially if you wear a cage. You’ll want a bottle that can deliver from a distance, too, for teammates who’d like a squirt from yours. It’s nice to share, but keep the germs at bay with a rugged, non-leaking squirt bottle.

Hockey Equipment Care

Keep your gear smelling fresh by airing it after every practice or game, and using equipment care products to knock down bacteria. This is particularly true for your gloves—but any piece of gear that gets damp from sweat will benefit from a quick spray of antimicrobial deodorizer before you pack it up. It’ll keep your hockey bag smelling pleasant, too.

Shower Shoes and Personal Hygiene Items

A bar of soap, a travel bottle of shampoo, and a stick of deodorant will help make your post-game dinner date a success. Shower shoes or shower slides are particularly important, as many facility showers are breeding grounds for athlete’s foot and a host of other unseemly bacteria.

Anti-Fog Spray and Microfiber Cloth

A quick hit of anti-fog spray between shifts makes a big difference for players who prefer shields. Apply it with a microfiber cloth to keep your visor free of scratches.

Spare Towel

A spare towel is a handy item to carry in your hockey equipment bag. You can use it to keep your visor streak-free and to wipe the sweat from your face between shifts. Towels are also great for keeping your blades dry after the game, which will help them resist corrosion and last longer.

Food

Good nutrition is a must for everyone, and particularly athletes. It’s always smart to keep an energy bar, banana, or orange on hand for a quick potassium boost. The right healthy snack can give you the shot of energy you need when you’re tiring, and will help prevent cramping after the game.

That’s a lot of stuff to carry back and forth to the game. The good news is that most of the hockey bag essentials you’ll carry are very small. Hockey bags, too, come in a variety of sizes, so you should have no problem finding the right one for everything you plan to carry.

Are you new to hockey or putting together a hockey bag for your child? Pure Hockey offers equipment and accessories for players of all ages and at every level of play. And our Low-Price Guarantee promises the most competitive prices on everything we sell, so shop online with confidence for all your hockey gear.

The post Hockey Bag Essentials appeared first on Pure Hockey.

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The 2019 CCM Tacks 9040 protective gear is slated for release May 24 (pre-orders start April 26) but Pure Hockey gives you a first look at it today. Beginner or casual hockey players will love the combination of performance, comfort, and adjustability in the Tacks 9040 protective gear—and all at a low price point.

CCM Tacks 9040 Hockey Gloves
2019 CCM Tacks 9040 Hockey Gloves

CCM Tacks 9040 hockey gloves offer a range of protective and comfort features perfect for the player who enjoys mixing it up with his buddies, but who isn’t going to push his equipment to its performance limits.

The Tacks 9040 gloves offer an anatomical fit that’s comfortably snug in the backhand and open in the one-piece cuff for some nice freedom of movement. The gloves’ high-quality lightweight polyester construction is durable enough for plenty of on-ice action, and features PE foam and PE inserts in the backhand and finger to keep the player’s hands safe. The thumb also includes PE material for protection, while the reinforced Nash palm provides great stick feel and resists premature palm wear.

CCM Tacks 9040 Hockey Shoulder Pads
2019 CCM Tacks 9040 Shoulder Pads

The slick-looking Tacks 9040 shoulder pads have an anatomical, molded front base jacket with molded PE foam construction for good protection and a super lightweight fit and feel. In fact, CCM uses the same highly durable and protective PE foam in the JDP shoulder caps to help disperse impact energy, in the torso, spine, and more molded PE in the sternum, giving the entry-level player good, lightweight protection throughout the entire pads. And the adjustable bicep on the Tacks 9040 shoulder pads allows the player to enjoy just the right fit.

CCM Tacks 9040 Elbow Pads
2019 CCM Tacks 9040 Elbow Pads

The new Tacks 9040 elbow pads offer a nice level of protection, comfort, and adjustability, thanks to their stretch forearm and bicep straps, and a webbing forearm strap that keeps the pad in place for consistent protection and comfort.

The bicep features molded PE inserts with extended coverage for a little additional protection, and CCM has strategically placed a molded PE guard in the forearm so the protective material is situated where you really need it.

The high-performing JDP elbow cap provides a great level of protection at this key point of vulnerability, with a  lightweight design that disperses the force of impacts away from the elbow joint.

CCM Tacks 9040 Shin Guards
2019 CCM Tacks 9040 Shin Guards

This year’s Tacks 9040 shin guards attach with a wrap lock and calf strapping system that’s very comfortable and easily adjustable for ideal placement to protect the player. The calf guard features an anatomical design with extended calf protection to protect the rear of the player’s leg, while the JDP molded knee cap provides more high-level impact protection at the joint.

Players will appreciate the shin guard’s removable comfort liner, helping them to obtain a personalized fit for just the right level of comfort and protection.

CCM Tacks 9040 Hockey Pants
2019 CCM Tacks 9040 Hockey Pants

CCM constructs its new senior Tacks 9040 hockey pants with 400D nylon and polyester panels for enhanced durability, while the junior pants are made with lightweight 210D and 400D nylon and polyester panels.

The JDP hip cap is reinforced with PE foam so it not only disperses impact energy, but also provides an additional layer of comfort and protection.

The kidney features a molded PE cap for reliable protection and the fixed, molded spine protector provides a good level of protection for the lower back. The molded PE thigh and kidney caps round out the protection in these high-performing but very affordable hockey pants.

The 2019 CCM Tacks 9040 protective gear offers quality features and technology for the price. Entry-level players will appreciate the protection and comfort features that elevate the 9040 protective gear to the top of this price-point class, sure to make them a popular offering this year.

Are you in the market for new CCM protective gear? Pure Hockey carries a wide array of hockey shoulder pads, elbow pads, shin guards, gloves, and pants for players at any age or skill level. And our Low-Price Guarantee promises the best deals available on everything we sell. Consult our Resource Center for equipment and fitting guides; they’ll help you choose the best equipment for yourself or your child.

The post Introducing the 2019 CCM Tacks 9040 Protective Gear appeared first on Pure Hockey.

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The slap shot is one of the more exciting moments in a hockey game, partly because you can see the whole process unfolding—the player setting their feet; the big, dramatic backswing; and the loud impact of the stick with the ice and the puck—before the puck rockets toward the goal. But in order for that shot to have maximum speed and accuracy, a lot of things must go right. Like a long golf drive, a good slap shot is the culmination of proper mechanics, body position, and weight transfer, none of which come naturally. The way to develop a powerful slapper is to practice a lot and pay attention to the specific elements of the process. Here are five things to focus on as you work to improve your long blasts.

1. Starting Foot Position

To generate the most power, start with the puck in front of you and slightly behind your front foot. You don’t want the puck directly between your feet because you’re going to shift your weight forward and move the stick and your body through the puck for maximum power. Ideally, when the blade of the stick makes contact with the puck, your body and your bottom hand should be directly over the puck. You also don’t want the puck outside your feet because then you will end up reaching for it and the stick won’t flex as much, which will rob you of power.

2. Hand Positions

A common mistake is placing your bottom hand too low on the stick during a slap shot. It’s understandable because it makes you feel like you are exerting the most arm power on the shot that way. However, most of the power in a slap shot does not come from your arms: it comes from the flex of the stick and the weight transfer of your body. The last thing you want to do is restrict the flexing of the kick point on the shaft, which will rob your shot of power.

Instead, start with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width. Most sticks have a mid or low-mid kick point, and the flexing of the shaft there will generate the most power. Therefore, you want to leave that part of the stick free to do its job.

3. Backswing

It seems logical that the bigger the backswing, the harder the shot, but that’s not necessarily the case. You want to ensure that all the power and momentum of your body and the stick are focused in the same direction, so it’s the efficiency of the backswing that you should work on. During the backswing and the shot, you want the stick blade to be moving in a straight line toward the target—not coming around in an arc like a golf club. If you twist your body during the backswing, so the blade ends up behind you at the top of the swing, the energy of the forward motion is dissipated somewhat because it isn’t pointing toward the target.

Start with a low backswing—say, shoulder height—to establish this straight-line velocity, and then gradually go with a bigger motion as you become more comfortable. If you feel as if you start twisting too much with the bigger motion, drop the height of the swing to reestablish the straight-line power, and then work your way back up again. In some situations—especially if you play high-level hockey—you won’t have time for a big wind-up, so you want to practice generating as much power as possible out of a lower backswing.

4. Weight Transfer

As you make your backswing, shift your weight to your back leg. The key here is keeping your knees bent; if you are too upright, the force of your weight transfer will go down into the ice instead of toward your target. As you begin the forward swing, push off the back leg and let your hips slide forward toward your target. Again, try to keep all motion in a straight line toward the goal. When your stick blade makes contact with the ice behind the puck, this weight transfer to the front leg should put your hips right over the puck. The power of your body mass going forward will help flex the stick and add power to the shot.

5. Impact Point and Follow Through

At the bottom of your shot swing, the blade of your stick should hit the ice before it makes contact with the puck, to give the shaft of the stick more time to flex. Aim to hit the ice five or six inches behind the puck. Your bottom arm should be straight during the forward swing, to ensure the maximum transfer of energy to the puck. The impact point should be between the middle and the heel of the stick blade.

As you strike the puck, look at the point you’re shooting at. For a golf swing, you want to keep your head down, but for a slap shot you want your eyes directed exactly where you want the puck to go. Taking a slap shot without looking at where the puck is going can actually be dangerous, so keep that head up!

Finally, you want to follow through after the puck has left your stick. In general, the higher the follow through, the higher the shot. You have a better chance of hitting the target or getting a deflection if you keep the shot below waist-height.

Practice these aspects of good slap shot technique, and you’ll improve both the power and the accuracy of your blasts. More than likely, the results will be more goals and assists. And be sure to check out the Playing & Training Tips in our Hockey Resource Center to learn more about the four types of hockey shots.

The post Five Tips to Improve Your Slap Shot appeared first on Pure Hockey.

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The 2019 CCM Tacks 9060 protective line is scheduled for release on May 24 (pre-orders start April 26th) but Pure Hockey has the inside scoop right now on the new gear. CCM’s mid-level Tacks hockey equipment offers many high-end features at an attractive price point—its incredible value will impress cost-conscious, performance-level players.

CCM Tacks 9060 Hockey Gloves
2019 CCM Tacks 9060 Hockey Gloves

The new CCM Tacks 9060 hockey gloves are lightweight and durable, thanks to their high-quality polyester construction. They offer an anatomical fit with a comfortably snug backhand and an open, segmented Flexcuff for enhanced freedom of movement. The two-piece thumb boasts CCM’s Pro-Flex design (senior model only) for excellent mobility and stick grip.

For protection, the fingers and backhand are flush with dual-density EVA foams and PE inserts, giving the player’s hands plenty of lightweight security.

The 9060 hockey glove palm is made of Nash, with reinforcements in the high-wear areas for a great feel without any dip in durability.

CCM Tacks 9060 Hockey Shoulder Pads
2019 CCM Tacks 9060 Shoulder Pads

The new Tacks 9060 hockey shoulder pads feature an anatomical dual-layer base jacket with 3D design and construction, to help keep the pads close to the body for consistent protection all game long. The shoulder caps, torso, spine, and sternum all offer superior protection, thanks to high-performing PE foams designed to disperse impact energy. The torso, sternum, and spine are also molded for a high level of comfort and protection.

CCM Tacks 9060 Elbow Pads
2019 CCM Tacks 9060 Elbow Pads

This year’s Tacks 9060 elbow pads feature excellent protection at an affordable price point, consistent with the rest of the 9060 line of protective equipment. A lycra mesh middle lock strap, elastic bicep strap, and nylon forearm strap secure the elbow pad in place for high-level protection and comfort. They also feature a molded PE forearm guard, while the cap’s molded foam disperses impact energy away from the elbow joint. The articulated bicep design comes with an extended-coverage, molded PE insert for even more upper-arm protection and comfort.

CCM Tacks 9060 Shin Guards
2019 CCM Tacks 9060 Shin Guards

The latest Tacks 9060 shin guards maintain CCM’s admirable combination of quality and affordability with customizable adjustments: An upper lock strap and a length-adjustable calf strap promise a perfectly snug fit for any calf size. The calf itself features compress-molded exposed foam and PE inserts for excellent protection.

The JDP molded PE cap is designed to disperse the force of impacts away from the knee as it does in CCM’s premium shin guards. The anatomical PE shin cap features hard plastic for durable protection and a tape groove to help lock in your hockey tape—the same feature you’ll find on the AS1 model.

Players will appreciate the removable comfort liner with knee cutouts, providing a custom fit for ample comfort.

CCM Tacks 9060 Hockey Pants
2019 CCM Tacks 9060 Hockey Pants

The new Tacks 9060 hockey pants are designed with high-quality 400D nylon for optimized durability and a close, anatomical fit. They come with an array of pro-level features, including highly durable PE foams and molded PE constructions in the hip, kidney, spine, and thigh areas.

The Tacks 9060s are adjustable with an internal belt system, giving the player a custom fit; taller players will appreciate its one-inch length extension.

The 2019 CCM Tacks 9060 line of protective equipment makes an excellent alternative for performance-level players who are looking for solid protection and some adjustability features, but don’t require the options of more elite-level equipment.

Are you in the market for new protective gear? Pure Hockey carries a wide variety of CCM shoulder pads, elbow pads, shin guards, gloves, and pants for players at any age and skill level. And our our Low-Price Guarantee promises the best deals available on everything we sell. Consult our Resource Center for equipment and fitting guides designed to help you choose the right equipment for yourself or your child.

The post Introducing the 2019 CCM Tacks 9060 Protective Gear appeared first on Pure Hockey.

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Unfortunately, there’s no standard lifespan for hockey mitts. If you’re a parent, you can expect to replace your child’s hockey gloves about once a season—maybe every other season—to keep up with his or her growth. If you are an adult player, your current gloves may last five years or they may need replacing after five months.

The main reason ice hockey gloves need replacing is palm wear. There are a variety of other reasons, too—they loosen over time and don’t perform the way you want, they get torn, they exude an unbearable level of hockey stink, etc., but palm wear is the main and most common reason to replace your gloves.

What is a Hockey Glove Palm Made Of?

Back in the day, hockey gloves were made of high-quality leather—they took months to break in and years before the leather broke down. Today’s glove palms are not typically made with real leather—they’re usually made with a combination of nylon and synthetic leather with names like Nash and Clarino. Many glove manufacturers strategically double the layers of material in the high-wear palm areas in some models. And while there’s a significant difference in palm quality between inexpensive and premium gloves, neither Nash nor Clarino is as durable as natural leather. These faux leathers imitate the look and feel of suede—they’re soft, comfortable, pliable, and offer a great stick feel. The downside of all this comfortable palm pliability is they’re prone to wearing out faster than many players would prefer.

While the backhand of your gloves will show wear in the form of scuffs, small tears, split seams, and protruding padding—none of which requires glove replacement—the palm typically shows the most wear and can be a game changer if the damage is significant.

What Causes the Holes in My Hockey Mitts?

A combination of pressure from the fingers and friction from the stick causes gloves to develop holes in the thumb, fingertips, and palm. And if you’re one of the many players out there who does not dry their gear between games or practices, you’re very likely contributing to the speedy breakdown of your gloves due to bacteria buildup. A quick hit with an antimicrobial deodorizing spray is advisable after every session, as is the use of an equipment rack for drying.

Grip tape is another culprit for premature hockey glove breakdown. Anecdotal evidence suggests that coarse or extra sticky grip tape will cause hockey glove palms to wear quicker than normal. There are many different grip tape options on the market—find the one that provides the grip you like, but isn’t so tacky it’s damaging your hockey equipment.

Repalming vs. Replacing Hockey Gloves

Some players are afflicted with a severe case of GAS—Gear Acquisition Syndrome—and will take the opportunity to bring home a new pair of gloves (or any other piece of hockey equipment) at the first sign of wear. If you are a little more cost-conscious, and if you really like the fit and feel of your hockey gloves, repalming them might be a smart option.

For a reasonable fee, you can purchase replacement palms and have a local tailor or seamstress remove the old palm and stitch on the new one. You can also send your gloves away and have the job done. Obviously, if you play regularly, sending your gloves away for a week or more may not be optimal.

One downside to purchasing hockey glove replacement palms is the glove fit may be altered upon return. The new palm will not be broken in and the glove may be tighter in areas that previously fit perfectly.

You can also purchase hockey glove palm repair kits and try to do the job yourself. Some popular kits come with a piece of palm material that you cut to size, peel from the backing, and then apply like a sticker. Granted, this isn’t a long-term fix, but it can get you through the next few games or until you’re ready for a permanent solution.

How Long Should My Hockey Gloves Last?

A lot depends on how often you play. If you play six hours a week, your gloves are likely to wear out much more quickly than if you play six hours a month. If your child plays hockey, you can expect to buy him or her new hockey gloves every season or two. If you’re an adult, the signs will be obvious. The good news is, gloves are still functional even with moderate amounts of wear in the backhand and palm. If the palm is brittle or full of holes, you can take steps—like repalming your gloves—to forestall buying a new pair, until the entire glove needs replacing in earnest.

Some hockey gloves are made with replaceable palms. For example, TRUE Hockey offers the Z-Palm replacement for select glove models, featuring different constructions to suit different styles of play.

Are you new to hockey or buying a pair of hockey gloves for a child? Make sure to visit our Hockey Resource Center and read our hockey glove guide for the information you need before making your purchase. We carry a wide array of ice hockey gloves for players of every age and every level of play, and our Low-Price Guarantee promises the best deals available on gloves.

The post Is It Time for New Hockey Gloves? appeared first on Pure Hockey.

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