The Pro Tips Hockey Checklist

Be ready to hit the rink with all the gear you need to tear up the ice this hockey season.

When the temperature starts to drop, you know hockey season is about to heat up. Before you hit the ice, make sure you have everything you need with our Pro Tips hockey checklist. And if this isn’t your first season, take inventory of your gear to make sure it all still fits and is in good shape.


Whether you’re a skilled sniper, a reliable blueliner or a star goaltender, you’ll need to stay on the ice to have success – and that starts with protecting yourself. Protective equipment can help guard against everything from hard hits in the corner to blocked shots and slashes in front of the net. So, it may be best to cross these items off the list before moving on to more attractive gear like sticks and skates. Players will need several pieces of protective gear before taking the ice. Looking to learn more about hockey protective gear? Check out Hockey 101: Suiting Up for the Ice.

Helmets are required at all levels of the game. They contain padding that helps absorb impact from hits and shots. In addition, most leagues require players to wear either a metal cage that covers the entire face or a clear, plastic visor that protects the eyes. Learn how to find the right size and style with our Pro Tips guide on How to Buy a Hockey Helmet.

Another piece of protective equipment you’ll want to consider is a mouthguard. Mouthguards come in a range of styles and can help protect against oral injuries.

For the rest of your upper body, there are a few pieces of gear to grab. Shoulder pads can be lightweight to allow forwards more freedom of movement, or thicker to help defensemen block shots and dish out checks. Find out how skill level, age and position can influence your gear choice with our Pro Tips guide on How to Buy Hockey Shoulder Pads.

Neck guards may come in a bib style that tucks under your shoulder pads to help limit rotation or a non-bib style that sits freely on the neck. Some compression shirts also have neck guards or rib guards built-in.

Don’t forget to protect your lower body, too. Hockey pants have built-in padding to minimize the impact of hits and blocked shots. However, you’ll also want to look for shin guards, as well as either athletic jocks and cups or pelvic protectors.

Shots and checks aren’t the only dangers hockey players need to watch out for. Slashes and skates can also do some damage. Gear like wrist guards, elbow pads and ankle guards can protect vulnerable joints. Meanwhile, cut-resistant protective socks can help minimize the impact of skate blades on the back of ankles.

Finally, gloves protect the hand and wrist while still remaining flexible in the fingers for stickhandling.


When it comes to sticks, you’ll find you will have more freedom to discover what works best for you. Sticks differ in material and come with a variety of flex ratings, blade shapes and curves. Be sure to check with your coach or league officials to make sure your stick choice follows league requirements. Most leagues require sticks to have a curve that does not exceed three-quarters of an inch. Need help choosing a stick? Consult our Pro Tips Hockey Stick Buying Guide.

After you purchase your stick, you’ll want to consider some accessories. Stick tape can help repel moisture, protect the surface and give you more puck control. Stick wax can also help prevent ice and snow buildup.

Skates come in a variety of fits based on your preference and position. Forwards should look for skates that allow for more speed and agility, while defensemen may prefer ones with greater protection for blocking shots.

PRO TIP: Regularly sharpening your skates can help you keep your edge on the ice. If you start to feel yourself sliding uncomfortably, it’s probably time for a tune-up. Our Skate PROS at DICK’S Sporting Goods can sharpen your skates and have you ready to get back on the ice in minutes.

You’re going to need help lugging all your gear around, so make sure to invest in a suitable hockey bag that is capable of holding all of your equipment. Don’t forget to fill it up with extras like shin pad tape, water bottles, snacks and even a first-aid kit.

BONUS PRO TIP: If left unattended, hockey bags can become a breeding ground for bacteria and mildew. Thankfully, your equipment (not including helmets and skates) can be easily cleaned in your washing machine. Make sure to do this whenever possible in order to avoid foul odors.


With goalies being the last line of defense between the puck and the net, they need some extra gear to help them stay protected when making saves.

Goalie masks are larger and shaped differently than skater helmets. They are designed to better deflect pucks and are made with heavier materials. Similarly, goalie sticks are larger and heavier than those used by forwards and defensemen.

Goalies also need two different types of gloves: a catcher and a blocker. Catch gloves, like the name implies, have a large, concave catching area. Meanwhile, a blocker, which tends to look like a leather rectangle, is worn on the stick hand to deflect pucks.

Leg pads act as both protective gear and an asset for stopping the puck. Chest pads offer protection to your chest area and extend to most of the upper body.

Other goalie-specific gear you may look out for are skates, neck guards, knee guards and jocks.


Even if you don’t have your own personal rink in the backyard, you can still practice and hone your skills at home with the help of training aids. Street nets, shooting targets and puck catchers can all help with accuracy and precision.

Meanwhile, training balls and pucks can help with stick handling so that you can deke with the best of them. Passing machines can also help you practice receiving passes and perfect your one timer, even if you’re practicing solo.

If you have an indoor practice space, you can put down hockey tiles, which help mimic the feel of ice on your floor so that you can simulate game situations.

Get your gear bag together with all of the essential hockey equipment you need and prepare to take the ice with confidence.