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Of all hockey protection equipment, the helmet is often the most overlooked when it comes to buying the correct one and ensuring the fit is right.
However, with the right fit and size, it's the helmet that is going to provide the most crucial protection against injury for both inline and ice hockey players.
The most important point to remember when buying a helmet is that it needs to fit snugly so that it doesn't move around, yet at the same time it should feel comfortable.
This will ensure maximum protection. To prevent the helmet from slipping and coming off during a collision, the chinstrap needs to be adjusted so it makes contact with the chin when it's fastened.
Most hockey helmets will provide protection for the ears as well as the head. Built in vents on the helmet will maintain air flow while it's being worn, keeping the player cool and comfortable.
Always make sure that you try on the helmet before buying to ensure a good fit. You can buy certain parts of the helmet separately, such as chin straps or ear loops, should you need to replace or adjust a part.
When buying hockey equipment it's usually best to purchase new rather than used to be sure that is no hidden damage, such a hairline cracks, which might be missed on inspection. Helmets with face guards are recommended to avoid injury to the face by other player's hockey sticks or a moving puck.
Most leagues have a requirement that you wear a helmet that is CSA (Canadian Standards Association) or HECC (Hockey Equipment Certification Council) certified. CSA and HECC certified helmets will have a sticker on them so that you can be sure of their certification.
Some of the more popular hockey helmet brands include Bauer, CCM, Itech and Reebok. Following are some key points to look for when buying a helmet:
Helmets are adjustable and come in several sizes.
Have a soft tape measure available to measure the circumference around the head at the area just above the eyebrows.
The proper way to wear a helmet is just above the eyebrows.
It's advised that along with the helmet some type of facial protection be used, such as a full face cage, a full face visor guard or a half and half combo.
A mouth guard will protect the mouth and teeth as well as absorb shock when the player is hit, thereby protecting the head and jaw from serious injury.
Keep in mind that circumference and head size will vary from one manufacturer to another.
Most leagues require you wear HECC certified helmets. All HECC certified helmets have a sticker indicating their certification. CCM, Bauer equipment, Jofa and Itech are some of the more popular brands on the market. If you need to adjust or replace anything on your hockey helmet, like chin straps, screws, clips and ear loops, they can be purchased separately.
Buying Ice Hockey Equipment - how to, select right size tips (read here)