skip navigation

Parents Survival Guide for Hockey

About the health of your player

Eating Healthy for Hockey
You Are What You Eat - USA Hockey Magazine 

Hockey and Energy Drinks
Liquid Controversy - USA Hockey Magazine

Concussion Information

Concussion graphicClick HERE to read complete article


MRSA – Why you should keep your hockey equipment clean!

Recent outbreaks of MRSA, an especially virulent staph infection that can be fatal, have left many people worried about this “superbug” and how they can protect themselves and their children. Below you’ll find questions and answers about MRSA as well as tips for reducing your risk of infection.

What is MRSA?

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is a variation of the Staphylococcus bacteria that has developed a strong resistance to common antibiotics.

Why is it so dangerous?

MRSA is dangerous because the antibiotics typically used to treat bacterial infections don’t work against it, which makes it very difficult to treat.

Is the number of cases increasing?

A recent study found that the number of MRSA infections is much higher than officials thought, and it appears to be on the rise. The majority of cases continue to be in hospital settings where a concentrated number of sick people make it easy to pass infectious bacteria around. But experts say the infection is starting to spread out into the wider community. Crowded locations such as schools, jails, homeless shelters, locker rooms, and nursing homes are also high-risk areas for contracting MRSA and other infections.

Who is most at risk for contracting MRSA?

Though MRSA can infect anyone, the following groups of people are most likely to contract it:

  • people who have been recently hospitalized
  • the elderly
  • the very young
  • those with compromised immune systems
  • people who play contact sports
  • intravenous drug users

How do people get MRSA?

Like any bacterial infection, MRSA is passed through physical contact, either from person to person or person to an object, like a towel or a piece of sports equipment.

How is MRSA diagnosed?

The only way to be sure about an MRSA infection is to test the infected tissue. This is a lab test that usually takes a few days.

What is the treatment for MRSA?

Though MRSA is resistant to most antibiotics, there are a few that can still be effective against the infection. When it’s caught early, MRSA treatment is often successful. If it’s not diagnosed, however, it can spread rapidly and cause serious problems, including pneumonia and blood infection.

What are the symptoms of an MRSA infection?

MRSA infection can cause skin infections that look like pimples or boils and are red, swollen, painful, or have pus or other drainage. MRSA infections are often initially misdiagnosed as spider bites.

How can I reduce my chances of contracting MRSA or other infections?

Frequent, thorough hand washing is the absolute best way to reduce the chance of contracting MRSA. You can also reduce the risk of contracting MRSA by

  • covering all wounds and abrasions until they heal
  • avoiding contact with other people’s cuts, scrapes, and bandages
  • not sharing personal items such as towels, razors, sheets, or athletic equipment
  • regularly cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched areas such as doorknobs, light switches, remote controls, telephones, keyboards, and refrigerator and cabinet door handles

Should I be concerned if my child plays contact sports?

While it’s true that MRSA can spread quickly in groups of people who play contact sports, carefully following the above guidelines can help prevent the spread of MRSA. Make sure your child knows about the dangers of sharing personal items with teammates and friends, and encourage him to wash his hands frequently before, during, and after practice and games. You may also want to talk with your child’s coach or athletic director about what precautions are being taken to avoid the spread of MRSA.


Equipment Info

Printable Equipment List

Here is an equipment list you can print and take
with you to the ProShop.

How to Properly Maintain Hockey Equipment

Hockey equipment can be a big financial investment. Keeping this investment in the best possible condition can be difficult, especially considering they are being utilized by children.  Here are some great tips to keep your child’s hockey gear in top working order and extend the time that it is able to be used.

Young players often outgrow their equipment long before it wears out. However, proper care of the equipment helps make sure that it continues to provide safety in case of an accident and doesn’t interfere with making plays. The most common complaint with hockey equipment is that it can smell bad after usage. Just like clothes left in the washing machine, wet hockey equipment starts to mildew and smell. The easiest fix for this is simply to air the equipment out after every game and let it dry properly. When putting on each piece of equipment, players and parents should inspect it to make sure that:

  • The equipment still fits
  • There are no loose screws on the helmet
  • There are no cracks
  • There is no rust on rivets
  • All clasps are working
  • Velcro is still holding well
  • All pads are intact and laced as needed.

Some equipment, like helmets and hockey pants can be adjusted to compensate for growth. Other pieces must be replaced. A basic repair kit kept in the hockey bag can help solve problems when they are most likely to occur — two minutes before game time. Handy items to have are:

  • Extra Laces
  • Helmet Screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Towel
  • Practice Puck

Skate Sharpening
In order for the skates to grip (cut into) the ice properly especially while turning, they should be properly sharpened. Skate blades have edges that cut into the ice and help a skater stay upright while turning. If the edges are nicked, a skater has difficulty making turns and going full speed.

Skate Blade
The amount of blade sharpness and hollow are often a matter of skater preference. Sharper blades have a deeper groove in the blade that helps with pushing off, stopping, changing direction, pivoting and turning. However, if a blade is too sharp, a player can have problems gliding and stopping as the overly sharp blade tries to grab the ice. Sharper blades are more dangerous and may also be damaged more easily.

Examining Skates
To see if a skate needs sharpening, hold it sideways up to the light so that only one edge is between the light source and your eye. Look for any nicks along the blade.  Flip the skate and over and examine the other edge in the same way. Then, look  lengthwise down the blade to make sure the edges are level. If you have trouble, place a dime on the edges of the blade and make sure it lies flat. If there are no nicks and the edges are level, then the blade does not need sharpening.

Key Points for Parents

  • Don’t let you child skate with the wrong sized equipment; make sure that it continues to fit properly.
  • Replace any problem equipment immediately.
  • Make sure skates are always sharp.
  • Use skate guards to protect the blade and guard against injuries;


How to clean your equipment

  • 1. Fill bathtub or washroom deep sink with hot water. The temp should be hot enough for you to keep your hands in it for a short time. Fill the tub about 1/3 full.

    2.  While the water is running, add about 1/4 cup of laundry detergent. After that, add 2 capfuls of bleach - for disinfectant purposes. This can be modified, but the ratio should be no more than 10% bleach to 90% bath water.

    3.  Add your stinky, smelly hockey gear to the sudsy water. Make sure all of it gets a good soaking. Leave the gear in the water for about 30-45 minutes.

    4. Empty the tub or deep sink and rinse out your gear completely using warm to cold water. The idea here is to get the detergent and bleach solution out of the gear, so whatever water temp you are comfortable with will work great.

    5. Gently squeeze the water out of your hockey jersey, socks, and other gear. Hang the jersey inside a shower stall on a sturdy hanger and let it dry there overnight. Prop up the rest of your gear in the tub or deep sink, and let them air dry overnight as well.

    6. Once everything is dry again, spray the inside of your hockey bag with disinfectant cleaner and wipe it dry. Then, just make sure all your hockey gear get placed back in your bag before your next game.