Sizing Hockey Youth Hockey Equipment
Youth hockey is an excellent entry-point into an athletic lifestyle with gates to stardom open for your child. Whether your kid wants to pursue hockey to become a professional athlete or you want them to understand and cultivate discipline, sportsmanship, and athletic values, it is essential that they step onto the ice with the right equipment.
To size youth hockey equipment, you must list the required gear, measure the corresponding body parts, and cross-reference the measurements with the sizing guide of the brands and products you wish to buy.
In this article, you will learn more about the following:
- The critical equipment you need to measure for
- How to measure your chest and height for hockey shoulder pads
- The best ways to measure your arms and legs for elbow pads and shin guards, respectively
- How to find the right helmet for your children
The first step in sizing hockey equipment for your child is to know all of the equipment you need to measure them for. While it is ideal to have all equipment fit the youth perfectly, including a mouthguard, what you need to be the most specific about are the following:
- Skates. You should get the best fitting skates for ice hockey because practicing with the wrong size can develop a poor stance and bad hockey habits.
- Hockey helmets. Whether the helmet has a full shield or a cage, you want to have a helmet that isn’t too large as it will be unsafe for the player.
- Hockey shoulder pads. Shoulder pads protect the player’s shoulders and chest only if they fit perfectly. Having the wrong size may only be a nuisance and provide minimal protection.
- Elbow pads. Like shoulder pads, it is essential for elbow pads to be the right size for the protective function.
- Shin guard. In the absence of a shin guard, the player is at serious risk of getting hurt. The risk can worsen with ill-fitted shin guards as the player may trip or slow down suddenly while skating.
- Hockey stick. Your child is likely to crouch too much or assume an incorrect posture with the wrong sized stick. Not only does this cause pain, but it also becomes a bad habit that coaches will have to work hard to make them unlearn.
- Hockey pants. When you opt for hockey pants, you’re buying not just clothes that cover the body but a sophisticated apparatus that protects your child’s central area and a portion of their legs. This also means the sizing would be different from traditional pants.
Now that you know the critical hockey equipment you need to size, you have to measure the corresponding body parts. These findings will be cross-referenced against sizing charts provided by manufacturers at a later stage. In this section, we cover the aspects you must measure and how you can measure them accurately.
Make a note of the subject’s chest size and height. These measurements can also be relevant for other equipment purchases, so it is advisable to keep your findings in a notebook. Also, be sure to read our article discussing how shoulder pads should fit.
When you measure your chest, you want to know your pecs’ width at the broadest point. Being incorrect in tape placement here can result in an ill-fitting order. Make sure that you use a soft measuring tape and measure from around an inch below the armpit. Another way to make sure you measure for the broadest point is to take multiple measurements and go with the largest reading.
Ideally, you would want to bring the soft measuring tape from behind and put it together around the center of the player’s chest. That brings clarity to your results and helps you avoid errors in getting the circumference. If you do not have a soft measuring tape, you can do the above with a string and lay it down to measure it with a long ruler.
Remember to make a note of the readings and have them labelled as the chest measurement.
While a chest reading is essential for your shoulder pads, your height becomes relevant for multiple pieces of equipment, including your hockey stick. Here is how you take an accurate measurement of height.
You will need someone to assist you in taking the measurement. If you’re a parent sizing their child, you will need to keep a washable marker with you for this. The following is written for the person taking the measurement, so while parents measuring their children can follow along, those reading to get their size must have their friend or sibling read this portion.
- Place the player next to a wall with a flat surface underneath. There must be no sand, shrubbery, or grass underneath the wall (if you’re doing the measurement outdoors).
- Place a flat, light object on the player’s head so that the item makes contact with the wall. You can place a book or even flat cardboard to make sure you’re not introducing errors into your reading because of hair or unsteady marking.
- Mark the wall where the object meets the background. When you place a book on the subject’s head, it sits strictly at the subject’s height, and as long as it meets the wall parallel to the ground, you’ll mark the wall at the subject’s height. For this, you must make sure the book is not sloping downwards or upwards, or you will have an inaccurate reading.
- The final step in measuring the subject’s height is to remove them from the area and take a measurement from the surface beneath up to the mark. Take a note of the results and make sure to label the reading as the subject’s height.
Before you purchase shoulder pads of your choosing, you must remember that every brand has its own sizing guide. You can find the sizing guide from the brand’s website or even from an Amazon product page for the shoulder pads.
As long as your chest and height measurements are accurate, you’ll determine which size fits your child. It is also possible that a brand might have two sizes that closely correspond with your height and chest measurements.
If that’s the case, Mites and above must look for the larger of the two because it provides maximum protection, and the youth will grow into it anyway. For younger players, having pads that fit more comfortably might be a priority.
While parents may tend to underplay the role of hockey pants, these are crucial because of their protective function. A good pair of hockey pants protect the player’s tailbone, kidney area, and quads while giving them enough room to move freely during the match. Follow these steps to find your child the right fit.
- Get the height measurement of the youth. Use the method listed above to get the right measure of the player. If you’ve already taken this measurement for your shoulder-pad purchase, you may skip this step.
- Measure the player’s waist. To measure the subject’s waist, bring around a soft measuring tape around the waist where the youth typically fastens his belt. Bring the tape around the back and while keeping it parallel to the ground, bring it all the way around. Note down the circumference.
- Look at the sizing guide of the specific brand you’re shopping from and get the size that corresponds to the height and waist measurements you have taken down.
Aside from shoulder pads, gloves, and elbow pads, pretty much every other measurement requires that your child has his hockey skates. That is why it is advisable to measure the skates and purchase them before shopping for additional equipment.
If you visit a hockey equipment store and an expert in assisting you with sizing, he can provide temporary skates to wear while shin guards and hockey sticks are being sized, but at home, you do not have this luxury. Here is how you find the right skate size for a youth hockey player.
Unlike some other equipment, hockey skates don’t come in S, M, And L. More nuance and finer detail are required to get the right fit. Therefore, the first step involves going through your order history to find the exact size of the shoe that most comfortably fits your child.
This measurement must be in USA shoe measurements. If the shoe you have comes with the UK or Europe measurement, you must use an online converter to get it in the American size. It would help if you did this because while brands like Bauer offer sizes in three standards, most sizing guides only offer American shoe sizes for reference.
While it is often said that a hockey skate is 1.5 sizes lower than one’s street shoes, for youth hockey, it is advisable to go only a point below the street standard. As younger players grow fast, it is enough to purchase skates that fit comfortably and won’t become too tight in a year.
Be sure to take a read through our guide on how to tell if your skates are too small. Otherwise, you risk hurting or causing issues with your feet while on the ice.
Now that you have the skates, you can measure the most crucial piece of hockey equipment: the stick. Getting the wrong hockey stick is an error that compounds in adverse effects for youth.
While adult players can acknowledge that a stick is too big for control or too small to maintain the right posture, children are more malleable and will learn to work with the wrong size. As a result, you can have problems like bad posture. Here is how you can get the right hockey stick for your child.
We also have an article discussing some of the benefits of a shorter stick. It’s really up to the player to decide what is best for them.
If you visit a hockey equipment store, make sure to bring your child along and have them carry their skates. That way, you can have them stand in their skates while you measure the right stick for them. Place a stick with the toe of its blade touching the floor. The other end of the stick should come up to your child’s nose. That is the ideal hockey stick.
Some adult players end up leaning towards shorter sticks (ones that come up around the throat) or longer ones (that reach the eyebrows), but for a youth player, it is ideal to train with a centrist approach, so he has more room to shift towards shorter or longer sticks.
Many parents sizing their child for hockey equipment are ordering the hockey stick online. If you’re doing the same, it is advisable to find your child’s skate-blade to lip height. For this, just as with measuring height in general, you will have them stand next to the wall (but this time with skates on using skate guards) and mark the wall next to the child’s nose. The length from this mark down to the floor is what the hockey stick’s A to C length must be.
When you order a hockey stick online, you may notice the length listed as ‘A’ to ‘B’ or ‘A’ to ‘C’. The A to B measurement covers a hockey stick’s length from the handling end to the heel. A to C measures it from the top to the toe. If a stick’s length is not mentioned with these letters, it could be either, and you should clarify with the seller before making your purchase.
When measuring a shin-guard, you need to know your child’s guard-wearing preference. If the child wears the guard below the skate tongue, you’ll have to measure differently than if he wears the guard over the tongue. Either way, as long as you fit for the player’s preference, you will be OK with the order as neither pick has an extreme edge over the other.
If your child wears the guard over the skate tongue, you have to make sure the guard is long enough, or loose lips will interfere with the player’s performance. The last thing you want is the player stopping on ice because a lip slipped out of the guard.
- Seat the player and position his foot. To measure for this style of guard-wearing, have your child sit on a flat bench with his thigh parallel to the ground. When the subject does this correctly, the thigh and the shin form a right angle, the bench may need to be high enough to accommodate for the skates worn by the player.
- Measure down from the center of the player’s kneecap to an inch below the top of a skate’s tongue. The rationale is to have a guard long enough for the lip to be tucked behind.
- Cross-reference the measurement with the sizing chart provided by the specific manufacturer or brand you’re shopping from and order the one that matches your readings.
When someone is said to wear a guard under the tongue, it is technically not the case. The guard isn’t tucked under the tongue by an inch or so. The shin-guard is short enough to barely reach the tongue. Here is how you make sure to size accurately for that.
- Seat your subject the same way as the previous measurement method (on a flat surface with skates on so that the knee bends at a right angle).
- Measure down from the kneecap but only until the top of the skate’s lip. Alternatively, you can measure using the previous method and subtract an inch from your findings.
- Cross-reference your conclusions with the sizing chart provided on the shin-guards product-page you want to order.
Elbow pads are one of the few pieces of equipment that do not require you to have skates to be measured accurately. If you have already ordered the skates for your child and are waiting for the delivery, you can measure him for the elbow-pads fit in the meantime using the following steps.
- Use a marker to identify the starting and the endpoint of the elbow pads. Remember that an elbow pad is meant to protect the upper and the lower arm without preventing function in either area. That is why it must start at the center of your child’s bicep and end at the center of their forearm. Make sure you mark these accurately on the child’s body.
- Have the player bend his arm into position. This is an important step that corrects for the fact that elbow pads aren’t meant to be worn with arms beside the player’s body the entire time. Having your son carry his hockey stick in position might help communicate how much his arms will be bent. Use a measuring tape to find the length between the two marked points with the arm bent in the same position.
- Cross-reference the findings. Once you have the measurements, you should use them as a reference and compare them with the sizing chart provided by the manufacturer of the elbow pads you plan to purchase.
Here are some of the critical things to keep in mind when you’re ordering elbow pads.
When you measure your child’s arm for elbow pads, it is advisable to have him stand with his hockey stick, so you know the natural arm-bend during play. While you want to make sure the pads allow free movement, you don’t want them to be too large or small as that would become too restrictive or too distracting.
It is often the case with decisive individuals that they purchase a product based on the bare minimum research. Whether that’s your style or not, you should measure at least three times to be positive that your measurement is accurate.
Often, websites will prop up the positive reviews to persuade customers to buy the product instead of abandoning their carts. Unfortunately, this allows some poor-performing equipment to pass through. While it might not be a big deal to get defective gloves, an error in purchasing faulty protective equipment can spell disaster.
A great way of combating this is to shop exclusively on Amazon.com and scroll through the negative reviews to have healthy expectations regarding the products you purchase. Be sure to check out our article discussing the best youth hockey elbow pads.
Lower-end elbow pads only cover the joint, and the extended shell is only to provide grip for the pad to stick to the arm. That is the bare minimum, and your child deserves more than that. Therefore, it is recommended to make sure that the product you buy guards not only the elbow and the forearm but also protects the player’s bicep.
While this is not mandatory, it is safer to shop from brands that offer a money-back guarantee. The idea is to give yourself the room to try out the equipment for fit. When you purchase a product in a physical store, you can have your child try various sizes before settling on a specific item.
You do not have the same luxury when shopping online. And the best way to make sure you’re not disappointed is to measure accurately and leave yourself further room to return the product.
A hockey helmet is responsible for protecting a player from blunt force, puck-hits to the back of the head, falls, and ill-fated dives. That is why the helmet must fit correctly. If It is too small, the player will remain uncomfortable and distracted throughout his drills. On the other hand, a loose helmet will not have the same level of stability on the player’s head and will lead to a similar distraction.
Below are the two ways to measure to get the right fit for your child.
When you’re in an equipment store and various helmet sizes are available, you only need to keep going through options until one is snug enough and is relatively stable without straps. This would indicate that you’ve got yourself the perfect helmet.
To save time, you should start with the helmet you guess will fit properly and then gradually move up or down in sizes until you find the right fit.
Most shopping for hockey equipment happens online because despite being a popular sport, hockey gear hasn’t populated general stores in enough variety to make it viable for customers to shop for equipment at the local store. If you’re one of the customers purchasing a helmet online, avoid going with a hat-size chart as it leaves too much room for inaccuracies. Follow the steps listed below so you can get a more accurate measurement:
- Take a soft measuring tape and bring it around the subject’s head. Make sure you’re doing this right above the eyebrows to get the broadest circumference.
- Note down the findings. Once you have brought the measurement tape around the subject’s head on a straight level, note down your results on a piece of paper.
- Use a string to measure the circumference of the subject’s head. While the measuring tape is thicker, a string allows you to take a more precise measurement around the broadest portion of the child’s head. Once you have brought the string around the child’s head, it is time to lay it flat and use the measuring tape to see if it validates the same findings as the second step.
- Cross-reference the larger of the two findings with the sizing guide of the brand you’re shopping for. By now, it may be evident that different brands have different measuring standards.
Therefore, you can’t cross-reference S, M, L, etc., of one brand with the measurements you made and shop from another. Make sure that you check out the sizing guide of the brand from which you are shopping from by visiting a link at the check-out or order page. Also, be sure to take a look at our article discussing the best youth hockey helmet to get.
Last but not least, you want the hockey gloves to fit your child comfortably. Fortunately, these are simple to measure from the tip of the middle finger to the base of the player’s palm. Note down this in inches and multiply it by two. A player with a six-inch reading would need a twelve-inch glove.
Alternatively, you can measure the palm-size but instead of doubling it, simply cross-check it with the sizing guide of the brand you wish to shop.
When sizing hockey equipment, you’re looking for a combination of comfort and performance. In the equipment that is meant to protect the player, you should err on the side of protectiveness. In contrast, for most other equipment, you should prioritize performance.
Here is a recap of the post:
- Note down the equipment you need and write down the body parts it corresponds to.
- Measure the body parts like shins and chest to have the right information regarding the equipment you wish to buy.
- Cross-reference the measurements to the sizing guide of the brand you want to shop for.
- Sew Guide: Best Way for Taking Body Measurements for sewing your clothes
- League Athletics: Equipment Needs/Sizing Guide
- NIH: Safety in youth ice hockey: the effects of body checking. American Academy of Pediatrics. Committee on Sports Medicine and Fitness
- CDC: Hockey Helmet Fact Safety