What Does a Hockey Equipment Manager Do? Find Out!

What Does a Hockey Equipment Manager Do? Find Out!

Hockey Equipment Managers

Anyone who has ever played or been involved with hockey in any way knows that there is more necessary equipment involved than in any other sport. There is so much equipment that a hockey equipment manager is commonly brought in to deal with it all. This may lead some to wonder, what does a hockey equipment manager do?

A hockey equipment manager collects information from their team and orders the equipment that is necessary for them to play. They manage virtually everything related to the team’s equipment inventory. If a player requires specific equipment to perform, the equipment manager accommodates their needs.

In this article, we will be going over the specific responsibilities of a hockey equipment manager and the things that are not within their duties to look after. Next, we will go over the various qualifications required to become a hockey equipment manager. Finally, we will touch on the different types of hockey managers and how much they can expect to earn for performing the job.

The Role and Responsibility of a Hockey Equipment Manager

Hockey equipment managers are the unsung heroes that hold the team together by performing vital tasks behind the scenes.

Anything related to the team’s equipment the equipment manager is responsible for. There is virtually no limit to what a hockey equipment manager may need to do to ensure each player’s equipment needs are met.

Equipment managers are responsible for collecting information from the players on their team regarding specific sizing details of gloves, jerseys, helmets, sticks, skates, socks, shoulder pads, visors and face shields, jockstraps, pants, etc. If you are looking to purchase your own hockey stick, consider this Sidney Crosby CCM replica stick.

They are then also responsible for tracking down and ordering these needed equipment items for the team from a supplier. This also requires that they possess some connections as most equipment will need to be ordered at wholesale, in large stocks, and not from the same outfitter that an individual member of the public is likely to purchase from.

It is not enough to simply order for the team, as certain players have unique needs to perform on the ice, and to properly understand these needs, a personal bond and familiarity with the team members is required. Also, be sure to check out our article on how to get the proper fit for hockey equipment.

For example, some players may prefer a differently angled blade on their stick, or they may like their skate’s blade to be sharpened or profiled a certain way that is unconventional and atypical.

Even beyond the equipment the players wear on their body while out on the ice during a game or practice, the equipment managers are also tasked with managing extra-performance equipment, such as towels, smelling salts, and hockey stick tape, and skate laces.

Hockey equipment managers will also be responsible for jersey naming, numbering, sizing, and all other patches or badges that must be added. This is covered in much more detail in our article about sizing youth hockey jerseys for the perfect fit.

It is more or less impossible to narrow down and define every single duty that a hockey team’s equipment manager will need to perform due to the job’s sheer spontaneity. Still, the tasks listed above provide a general insight into the most common areas of job requirements they will need to fulfill.

Equipment managers bear an incredible amount of responsibility because if even a seemingly minor unforeseen problem should arise with the team’s equipment, it could spell disaster. If, for instance, a star player were to break their stick halfway through the game and was forced to use a very different stick from the one they were accustomed to, their performance could be dramatically reduced, and the whole course of the game altered.

A good hockey equipment manager’s hallmark is that they have already anticipated and prepared for virtually anything that could ever go wrong with a player’s or team’s equipment. They would also have a good idea of hockey equipment costs, which we have another article covering that topic specifically.

To be a hockey equipment manager is to be actively involved in every matter of a team’s affairs at all times. Communication is a massive part of the role, and the job can not be performed passively under any circumstances. An equipment manager’s reputation is also a factor that can make or break their career. Dependability and straightforwardness are a must.

It is not a routine job; instead, it is a job where the adaptable will thrive.

What a Hockey Equipment Manager Does Not Do

Now that we have gone over what exactly a hockey equipment manager does, we will now explain what they do not do.

Hockey equipment managers are not responsible for:

  • Booking play or practice times
  • Scheduling the team
  • Communicating with team members about policy or league matters
  • Resolving conflict disputes
  • Collecting records and documentation from players
  • Following up with the doctors and medical reports of inactive and injured players
  • Engaging in matters of trades and roster changes
  • Organizing transportation or accommodations for the team while on the road

Hockey equipment managers have their hands full with equipment matters and are not required to perform any of the above tasks. Anything managerial but unrelated to the team’s actual equipment will fall within the domain of another job role, which we will discuss later in this article.

The Qualifications Required to Become a Hockey Equipment Manager

A hockey equipment managerial role demands a particular type of individual. Not just anyone can become a good equipment manager. The job is reserved for a select few.

There is very little room for error on the part of a hockey equipment manager, and forgetfulness does not go over well.

Hockey equipment managers must be expert multitaskers with incredible organizational skills and attention to detail.

For example, let us say that the equipment manager was busy with a large order of new sticks for the entire team, making sure they are to spec and that they arrive on time for the next game. Still, at the same time, they have forgotten that their starting goalie had mentioned that their pad was split and coming apart and needed replacing. If their goalie was forced to play this way, it could cost the team a game, and they would be partially to blame.

This is just one example of the many ways that a small mistake could be detrimental. This is why they must possess the ability to account for many moving parts all at once without getting distracted or confused.

Past Experience

The most valuable background experience for a hockey equipment manager will be anything related to secretarial, managerial, and logistical professions. This does not have to be directly hockey related.

Somebody who worked at a lumber yard and was in charge of shipping and receiving and organizing the inventory in the warehouse would, in theory, be aptly suited to become a qualified hockey equipment manager.

With that said, however, there is a certain way things operate in the hockey world that is unique and takes some time to get used to. Someone coming indirectly from an unrelated field may possess the hard skills needed to fill the position, but they may not be familiarized with the culture of the team or the league, or the equipment.

Anyone with hockey experience will also have a distinct advantage in becoming an equipment manager, regardless of the capacity of their involvement. This could mean the applicant is a former player, a parent of a player, a coach, or a general manager.

Combined, these two past experiences will make for a perfect candidate in the equipment manager profession.

To secure a job as an equipment manager at a high level, it will be necessary to have direct experience in the role and work your way up. This is why it is an excellent idea for newly aspiring equipment managers to begin by managing a youth or minor hockey team voluntarily and spend a few seasons there while awaiting opportunities to move up in the ranks.

Some equipment managers will be forced to perform a side-job role while they build up their reputation and resume. Regardless of this case, you have an obligation to the players, and the required level of commitment is not for everyone. You must be a selfless individual.

The longer you have spent around the league before becoming an equipment manager, the easier you will be able to transition into the job. Someone wholly unfamiliar with the sport of hockey should not seek to enter the profession as a mere career move. This will not work out well for anyone involved.

Interpersonal Skills

Formal work experience and past employment history are not the only points of consideration when determining whether or not an applicant is suited for the role of hockey team equipment manager. We must also examine their character traits if we are to assess their adequacy for the job correctly.

It is common for many job applications to note that the ideal candidate possesses genuine “passion” for the particular field or line of work, but this is not always taken seriously either by the applicant or the employer. When it comes to hockey equipment managers, however, passion is fundamental.

If the players of a given team cannot form a personal bond of comfort and communication with their equipment manager, the productivity of the relationship will be hindered.

Equipment managers must be understanding, friendly, intelligent, know the sport, and very agreeable. Otherwise, players may not feel confident in the equipment manager’s ability to take care of their equipment needs. They will instead try to make it work with what they have or try to manage it themselves.

The successful equipment manager will be well-liked by all persons they interact with on the job. This includes the players, the coaches, the general manager, and the equipment retailers and outfitters.

Equipment managers must be reserved for those who have a very low tendency or likelihood of getting into disputes or conflicts of interest with anyone.

Different Types of Hockey Managers

While the purpose of this article is to lay out and explain the many duties of hockey equipment managers, specifically, it is necessary to explain the other types of managers involved in the sport of hockey. By contrasting the different kinds of hockey managers, we will be better able to understand what an equipment manager does.

It is worth noting that sometimes only one manager is present in minor and youth hockey leagues. They perform all duties that would typically be covered under the equipment manager and the general manager’s umbrella. When this is the case, managers may call upon the players’ parents to help them in specific capacities to lessen the demand.

Some teams may also choose to employ more than one general or equipment manager to meet the team’s demands. This is especially advantageous at the highest level of competition, where every minute detail can mean the difference between overall success and failure.

We also have an article detailing the duties of a team manager and how it differs from an equipment manager.

General Managers

The most commonly discussed type of hockey manager is the GM or general manager.

General managers are responsible for the majority of the team’s extra-equipment affairs. GMs cover an extremely broad and potentially unlimited number of concerns regarding the players on their team.

GMs actively communicate with players, coaches, other team’s managers, player’s talent agents or managers, members of the league’s commission, etc.

General managers are very well known to those involved with the league, and their position demands respect from all. They make sure the players are taken care of in every way imaginable, which relinquishes the players from their duties outside of the sport, and allows them to focus their mental energy solely on their game-performance.

The importance of a quality general manager is not to be understated.

Coaches

While coaches are not technically managers, it could be said that they do in some way manage. What they are managing is the player’s strategy and the team formation during the actual game itself.

A good coach who is respected by their team will boost morale and be equally important, if not more important, than even the team’s star player. We have a guide on being a good youth hockey coach that is also worth a read.

They decide when players rest, when they give their all, when they hold back, and they decide who plays and when. They are the driving force behind the team’s efforts, and the team is their instrument of actuality.

Coaches are to be in very close communication with both the GM and the equipment manager at all times. A healthy relationship between these three is a recipe for a cohesive unit and a force on the ice.

Everyone in the franchise pulls their weight and exacts their expertise in their capacity to relieve stress from the others, allowing them to perform their duties without distraction. Coaches, together with the players and managers, for a symbiotic relationship, the strength of which will be directly reflected by their team’s ability to secure victory on the ice.

Hockey Equipment Manager Salaries

Like any job, the financial compensation for an equipment manager in hockey will be reflective of their contributive value, reputation, and level of expertise.

At the youth and minor hockey level, a hockey equipment manager is more than likely working on a voluntary basis and not receiving any financial payment for their efforts. They may be doing this purely out of passion, charity, or looking to gain experience in the field.

In the middle tier semi-professional organizations, the average equipment manager may expect to earn $25,000 annually.

In the National Hockey League—the highest echelon of competition in hockey—an equipment manager will earn an average of $50,000 annually. In addition to this fixed payment, a good equipment manager may also receive some financial rewards from appreciative players who they have taken good care of in the form of tips.

How Necessary Are Hockey Equipment Managers?

Hockey equipment managers play a crucial role in a team’s organization, and without them, a team will undoubtedly struggle considerably.

Equipment managers hold the team together by making sure the players have the most high-quality equipment available to them at all times.

Hockey equipment managers will have to allocate resources to the areas of most importance, based on their intimate knowledge of the sport and listening to the players’ concerns and considering them.

Hockey is a game where equipment makes a big difference. Unlike soccer or basketball, for example, where the equipment required to participate is relatively minimal, hockey demands a lot of equipment.

A good hockey equipment manager understands the importance of high-quality equipment as well. Cheap sticks will not produce the same level of offence as would a more quality one. Cheap pads may be overly heavy, slow the player down, and not protect them as well from injury.

The equipment manager will realize that even the most talented players require quality equipment, and it is their job to ensure that the player has it.

Conclusion

This article set out to uncover what exactly it is that a hockey equipment manager does.

The equipment manager of a hockey team does anything and everything relating to the equipment of the players. This could mean that they fit their jerseys, order their sticks, mold their customized mouthguards, have their skates sharpened and profiled, or exchange their old helmets for newer ones.

The equipment manager’s job is to ensure that the players on their team are supplied with the equipment they need to perform on the ice.

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