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The role of elbow pads is to protect the arm. This includes the forearm, upper arm, and elbow.
Basically the player will be getting protection from just below the shoulder pads down to the cuff of the gloves, which provide protection for the hands.
No part of the arm should be exposed.
The player's elbow should comfortably fit into the elbow pad cup without the pad moving around or twisting along the arm.
Once the elbow is in place the pad should be secured.
When purchasing elbow pads make sure the fit is correct.
The pads should in no way impede elbow movement.
Elbow pads that are too small won't provide enough protection for the player and may in fact decrease circulation to the hands.
Elbow pads that are too large will slide up and down along the arm, interfering with the way the player holds the hockey stick.
The main intent of elbow pads is to provide protection for the player that is seamless all the way from the shoulder pads down to the gloves.
Buying Ice Hockey Equipment - how to, select right size tips (read here)