Very soon now, the NHL’s Stanley Cup will be awarded to either the Los Angeles Kings or the New Jersey Devils. The 2011/2012 pro hockey season will come to a close and fans of the puck-slinging team sport will have to occupy themselves with other pastimes until the 2012-13 season kicks off in the fall.
For the summer sun-loving Adrenalist, the end of the cold weather sport’s pro season is no reason to give up on hockey. Field hockey, roller hockey and even pick-up games of street hockey offer plenty of opportunities to get outside and mix it up among friends on a hot summer day. Don’t forget, however, you’ll need to gear up properly to get the most out of these hockey alternatives, and that’s what we’re going to help you with today.
Lacing Up For Roller Hockey
Roller hockey offers the closest, ice-free alternative to the popular winter sport, but you’re going to need a proper pair of roller skates in order to compete. Mission offers some of the best options, particularly the new Axiom T.10 Revolt. They’re very bright and colorful all-white skates with yellow, metal-tipped laces. They’re also priced for serious pros, at $649.99.
That price might seem a little steep if you’re a newcomer to the sport. Luckily, there are amateur-friendly options for the more budget-minded buyer. Reebok Hockey offers a number of inline skates. The 3K Inline Hockey Skates are the cheapest they’ve got at around $150, but you’re better off spending $50 more (if that much) on the step-up 5K Inline Hockey Skates. It’s a higher-end build that’s good for amateurs and pros alike for a price that isn’t really too far beyond what the entry-level kicks offer.
Those fancy new skates aren’t going to do you any good on the court unless you’ve also got a proper hockey stick in your hands. Bauer is one of the top names in hockey gear and the company’s Supreme TotalOne easily rates as one of the best. It’s a lightweight piece of gear, weighing in at just a hair under one pound. The blade is built with dual density foams that offer a softer feel on puck impacts. It’s a solid choice for power players who would happily spend all day nailing slap shots, though bear in mind that it’s also on the pricier side at $230. More finesse-minded playmakers will want to opt instead for one of Bauer’s Vapor models, like the Vapor APX GRIPTAC composite stick which are designed handling more so than power.
There are plenty of cheaper sticks, though bear in mind that roller hockey is very hard on stick blades. You’ll definitely want to avoid picking up a lower priced one piece option, since you’ll want to have the ability to replace broken blades.
Once you’ve got your skates and your stick squared away, there’s one final concern to be dealt with: protection. You really can’t go wrong with protective gear from any of the established names in hockey, your Bauers and Eastons and CCMs of the world. You won’t need as much protective wear as you would for ice hockey, but definitely count on spending some cash on the following: a helmet with a cage, mouth guard, and neck guard, a padded shirt or some other sort of upper body protection, and padded roller hockey pants. Expect to spend $500 or more on this gear once it all adds up. Just be sure that your shopping list also includes the ever-important protective groin cup as well.