First of all, you need to get the right equipment. We started with the youth hockey starter kit from Canadian Tire, and then we added the other gear we needed. (It is definitely the cheapest way to get started).
Basically, you'll need: skates (which are usually 1 size smaller than the child's shoe size), a stick (with a curve that fits the way they shoot), an approved helmet with a face mask, gloves, shoulder pads, elbow pads, shin pads, hockey pants, an equipment bag, jock/jill protective shorts, a neck guard, hockey socks, a jersey, hockey tape, and a water bottle.
Then, once you have all the gear, you'll need to know how to put it on. Here's an easy step by step tutorial:
1) Start with the clothes that you want to wear under the child's gear. (My boys always wear long underwear (or PJs for early morning practices).
2) Pull on the jock/jill shorts (which have velcro on them to hold up the hockey socks).
3) Put on the shin pads (which are marked left/right).
4) Put the hockey socks on over the shin pads, and secure the tops with the velcro on the shorts.
5) Pull the hockey pants on over the shin pads and hockey socks.
6) Put the shoulder pads over the child's head, and secure with the velcro.
7) Secure the elbow pads (which are marked left/right) with the velcro.
8) Put the jersey on over the shoulder pads and elbow pads.
9) Don't forget the neck guard.
10) Buckle the helmet so that it is secure.
11) Pop on the gloves and skates, and hit the ice!
My boys are lucky to be able to participate in a variety of after school activities, but for many families finances are a barrier to participation in organized sports. Luckily, Canadian Tire helps many families through their Jumpstart program. In fact, between 2005 and 2013, Jumpstart has helped 23,000 kids in my province of Nova Scotia, and in September, Jumpstart will be helping more kids through their Pedal for Kids ride.
Check out Pedal for Kids Across Canada contest here. By clicking the link and entering the contest, you will help my bike move across the map... and you will be entered in a contest for a chance to win one of TEN Schwinn bikes.
Good luck with the contest, and if you have a little one playing sports this winter or fall, have fun!
Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)
Disclosure: I am taking part in the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Pedal For Kids blog campaign. While I have received compensation as part of my affiliation with this program, the opinions shared are my own.