Player Equipment

WHAT IS NEEDED TO PLAY FLOOR HOCKEY

Everyone has a different tolerance level for the type of bruises one is willing to accept.  As a result, some players will feel comfortable wearing shin guards, gloves, hockey pants, helmet, helmet with half shield, helmet with full shield, helmet with full cage, elbow pads, shoulder pads, sneakers (regular or high top), mouthpiece, hockey pants and athletic supporters.  This doesn’t even take into account knee braces, elbow or wrist braces or even ankle braces.  See below for the types of equipment now specifically designed for the floor hockey player.  No longer must you run around with 20 pounds of ice hockey equipment weighing you down.

FLOOR HOCKEY BALLS

The ball usually is orange in color made by Mylec, Franklin, D-Gel, A&R Hockey and Bauer.  Companies manufacture different colored balls to use based on temperature.  The best ball for floor hockey is the orange colored ball best suited for play if the temperature is over 60 degrees.  If the temperature is over 80 degrees, consider the Red hockey ball.  If the temperature is between 30 and 60 degrees, use a pink colored ball as the orange hockey balls are too hard and just forget about the Red hockey balls.  Lastly, if the temperature is under 30 degrees, use a blue (cool) hockey ball.

Manufacturers have also introduced multi color balls (think tie-die), glow in the dark balls and liquid filled balls.  The liquid filled balls eliminate the bounce but are a lot harder if you get hit with a shot.  I think they are ideal for a young child learning how to pass and stickhandle and ideal as well for the older player looking to hone their stickhandling skills.

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If you don’t have access to these types of hockey balls, a tennis ball will work fine, but use an old one so it won’t bounce as much.  The other problem with tennis balls is they travel a lot farther if you have to chase them. 

FLOOR HOCKEY GLOVES

Hockey Gloves can mean a lot of things to a lot of people.  A number of companies have introduced a Floor Hockey glove which is less padded on the outside than an ice hockey glove to allow for a more natural feel but still affording very good protection for the hand.  These are designed specifically for floor hockey.  Mylec, Franklin, CCM, D-Gel, Bauer, Easton, Mission, Tour EVO, Reebok and Warrior all offer these type of floor hockey gloves.  Mylec also offers a dek hockey glove as well.  Mylec and Franklin also offer a padded glove similar to a soccer goalie glove that is not even as thick as a floor hockey glove.  These can be purchased in any sporting goods store or online.

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Of course, you can always find the white “worker” glove usually used around the house, a leather glove, construction glove, winter gloves etc.  Everyone has a price point for their glove but these types of gloves do not offer any protection for the hands.

Some players insist on the typical ice hockey glove because they are accustomed to wearing this type of glove.  Picture. These gloves have very thick padding on the outside of the gloves and are not very pliable.  These afford the most protection but are a bit too much for floor hockey.


HOCKEY STICKS


            Hockey sticks are the most important part of the floor hockey game.  Without one, you really can’t play.  Get the wrong one and it will get you cut from your floor hockey team.  Rarely do you find two people on the same team or even in the same game that are using the same stick!!  Factors to consider are your skill set, the type of surface that you are playing on, price, flexibility, stiffness, weight, thickness of the shaft, curve and material of the stick.  It all comes down to feel, what feels right for you.  There are wooden sticks, plastic blade sticks and composite sticks, including one piece and a two piece sticks.

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Wood sticks are the most widely used still at this point in floor hockey and street hockey.  The overwhelming reason is price.  A good stick can run as little as $20.00 to $40.00 and purchased on the way to the rink if need be from a sporting goods store or a department store.  For the price, you might want to pick up two in case one breaks.  A wooden stick will still give you a good shot, multiple blade curve options (pre made) and a lot of durability for the price.  Companies such as Koho, RBK, CCM, Reebok, Easton, Mylec, Sherwood, Winnwell, Nike are still making wood hockey sticks.

Step up in class (and PRICE) and you are looking at a composite stick, 1 or 2 piece.  Here the price jumps up and thus, the cost of replacement of a stick becomes an issue.  But, you get a lighter stick with some flex to it enabling you to get a harder shot and sometimes, some curve to the shot.  The 2 piece stick, with blades that are replaceable, are similar to the composite sticks except that a torch is needed to heat up the glue on the stick to insert or remove the blade from the shaft.  Manufacturers such as Koho, CCM, Mylec, Cosom, Shield, DOM, Bauer, Easton, Mission, Reebok, Sherwood, TPS, Warrior.

Old school.  If you are looking old school look no further than a plastic blade that slides onto the end of a wooden stick.  These were popular in the 60’s and 70’s (and 80’s) with either a full plastic blade or a plastic blade with the little holes in the top for “air flow”.  All one had to do was heat the blade up over an open flame or in boiling hot water to curve the stick right or left handed.  Although they are durable and dirt cheap, you can’t shoot hard because of the air flow design.  You really don’t see this type of stick being used much more other than for young kids or in schools.  Mylec, Franklin, DOM and Cosom still sell blades and sticks either alone or in sets with other equipment.


FLOOR HOCKEY SHINGUARDS

Shinguards, for the player that elects to wear them, can now wear a specially designed Floor hockey shinguard.  Others prefer a soccer shinguard (literally covering only the shin) or an Ice hockey shinguard.  Each has its merits and detriments.  An ice hockey shin guard is going to be heavier, thicker, bulkier and more difficult to move around in when playing floor hockey on your feet.  However, these will give you the most protection you can get.

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Floor hockey designed shinguards are best.  These are made of hard plastic and cover the leg from the top of the knee to the top of the foot.  This shinguard is less bulky and very light providing the best alternative to the ice hockey shinguard.  The original shinguard of this type is the “stormtrooper” shinguard in black or white manufactured by Mylec.  Although they are directly out of Star Wars, this is the best shinguard you can find as they will protect your leg from the hardest of shots or most slashes.  For the player that wants the look of an ice hockey shinguard, Franklin, Mylec, Tour EVO, D-Gel, Eagle Ball Hockey and Cooper all sell floor hockey shinguards.  Picture and links.

Soccer shins have become increasingly popular as more players are looking for some protection but do not want to be slowed down at all by the floor hockey or ice hockey shinguard.  There are three types of soccer shinguards used.  The first is the hard plastic shinguard that only covers from below the knee to above the ankle (really the “shin”) but doesn’t offer much protection from a shot or slash.  The second type of shinguard is similar to the first except that the covering is made of material with some harder plastic strips in the shinguard.  This type offers the least protection.  The third type of soccer shinguard is the type that is a stirrup type that goes under the foot and covers up to the knee.  This type is usually a hard plastic and will do the job but doesn’t cover the knee.

ELBOW & SHOULDER PADS


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Once again, companies have come out with less bulky, less heavy floor hockey designed elbow and shoulder pads.  These are more than sufficient to do the trick for a floor hockey game.  They are cheaper, less heavy, thinner, lightweight and perfect for the floor hockey player.  Mylec is a major manufacturer of these type of pads.

HOCKEY PANTS

Of recent vintage, hockey pants designed for floor (and roller) hockey are available.  There are two types of player hockey pants.  The first contains padding on the front and back of the leg from the knee to the ankles yet are light enough so as to not weigh down the player.  D-Gel, Valken, Reebok, Mission, Bauer and Tour Evo all sell hockey pants.  Roller hockey pants could also be used as well.  D Gel and Mission also sell non-padded hockey pants.

 
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Hockey pants, the traditional type worn by ice hockey players are usually not worn in a floor hockey game.  These are too big, heavy and bulky for the floor hockey player.

HELMETS/ FACE SHIELDS/ CAGES




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Helmets are suggested headwear for a floor hockey game to prevent accidental injury to the head by virtue of a shot, errant stick or fall.  Helmets come in all shapes (to some degree) and of course, sizes.  Basically any hockey helmet is sufficient for the floor hockey game.  A multitude of companies such as I-Tech, Bauer, Mylec, CCM, Cascade, Easton, Reebok, Mission and Nike sell helmets.

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           While the helmet protects your head, it doesn’t protect your face.  If you want to protect your eyes, add a half shield.  The half shield provides protection for the eyes and usually the nose and allows a player to see the ball at his feet.  (You will get some fogging of the half shield but not bad)  The full shield offers maximum protection of the face but makes it difficult to see the ball at your feet (With the full shield, you may (will) get fogging in the shield.)  The full cage is similar in protection to the full shield, with the same drawbacks except because of the use of a cage, it is open air and doesn’t (can’t) fog up.

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FOOTWEAR

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Pretty self-explanatory.  Sneakers are the most logical choice for floor hockey with some players choosing to use a boot for street hockey.   The only real options here are a regular sneaker, ankle or ¾ cut or even the high top sneaker.  Choice and comfort is the only real decision to make here.

PLAYER & GOALIE JERSEYS

Jerseys may always seem an afterthought for people playing pick-up floor hockey.  This is a plain mistake.  I am not saying to go out and spend $200.00 for a replica jersey but at least make sure that the team is outfitted in the same color.  It makes it much easier for players to identify their teammates from those of the opposing team.

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On the low end of jerseys, pinnies are the easiest to use.  You remember these, the yellow or orange mesh pinnies the school gym teacher passed out.  Next up the clothes line are practice jerseys.  These are basic mesh jerseys with no markings at all and one solid color.  Replica jerseys, including current NHL teams, extinct NHL teams, WHA teams, “old” NHL throwback or even college jerseys can now be purchased on line. 

HOCKEY CLOTHING


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             Up until a few years ago, any type of clothing would suffice under your jersey or uniform.  That was before Under Armour and the mass promotion of wicking material.  This type of clothing is specifically designed to draw moisture away from the skin.  It pulls sweat away from the skin and to the exterior of the fabric where it can evaporate more easily.  Every sports apparel company and non sports apparel company has introduced their version of wicking clothing.  Under Armour, Champion, Nike, Reebok etc.  

Wearing a skull cap may also help with playing visability.  A skullcap is a specifically designed cap to fit on your head to prevent the sweat from getting into your eyes due to wearing a helmet (as a player) or a goalie helmet/mask.

KNEE BRACE, ELBOW OR WRIST BRACE OR ANKLE BRACE

Non-prescribed braces and supports can be purchased at any “big box” retail store or a sporting goods store.  One can find a brace that is hard plastic, flexible material or the knit/synthetic type.  Each has its drawbacks and advantages.  Try the type of product that fits your needs and your body best.  McDavid, Ace and Mueller all make such products and can be found online or at local sporting goods stores.


MOUTHPIECES:


 
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Pretty simple stuff here.  You can spend as little as $2.00 or I have seen them as much as $150.00 depending on the quality of the mouthpiece you are looking for.  Youth mouthpieces are the most pricey hitting the high end of the price range with some shock absorbing qualities with some covering the top and bottom teeth.  Typically though, the high end price point of $20.00 is more than sufficient.  The lower priced mouthpieces are the old school type of mouthpiece which provides a covering for the upper teeth only.  You can even buy ones to cover braces!

 For the lower priced mouthpieces, try Adams, A&R, Shock Doctor, Tapout, Reebok, I Tech, Everlast and Nike.  For pricier mouthpieces with more coverage and better protection, try Shock Doctor and Under Armour.

HOCKEY TAPE


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            Any sporting good store sells hockey tape.  Hockey tape can be used to tape the blade of your stick, the butt-end of your stick, the shaft of the stick or, when needed, your equipment.


SCOREBOARDS


If you a starting your own league or looking to upgrade your scoreboard system, flexibility is the key.  Is your rink used for anything else?  If so, you need a scoreboard that can handle scoring for the other endless possibilities.  Typically, a multi-sport scoreboard will provide a timer/clock, score, period designation and penalty clock.  Use of such a scoreboard will allow interchangeability for not only hockey but soccer and basketball too.  Football, Lacrosse, Field Hockey etc can also be used with a larger scoreboard.  Nevco Scoreboard Company is perhaps the most well-known manufacturer of scoreboards. Other manufacturers include Electro-Mech scoreboards and Fair-Play scoreboards.

HOCKEY FLOORING


 There are different types of flooring for indoor and outdoor floor, dek and ball hockey rinks.  They are designed to provide a low resistance surface for smooth, fast movement of the ball.  They are highly durable and afford little to no maintenance.  A great investment and usable for a multitude of sports.  Try Sportcourt, Mateflex or Snap Sports and see the products they sell for indoor and outdoor use. 

OFFICIATING & REFEREES

Referees are a must in organized leagues.  Ideally, Two referees are sufficient for a floor hockey game.  The referees have to work in tandem. One referee responsible for one offensive zone calling the offsides plays and goals scored in that zone and the second referee is responsible for the opposite end of the rink, their offsides calls and the goalie net.  Once play has been ruled onsides by the referee, he works his way to the corner of the rink to gain a better view of the net.  The opposite referee moves up to the blue line (or red line if floating blue line) to be in position to see if the defensive team clears the zone with the ball.  When play moves to the opposite end of the rink, the referees swap responsibilities such that the referees should always be staggered with one referee deep in the zone and the other referee at the blue or red line.

REFEREE JERSEYS & WHISTLES



In an organized league, referees should always be wearing a jersey.  Jerseys are available in short or long sleeve, in all sizes, both in pull over- v neck style, pull over with short zip, or a full zip up and of made of many different materials.  Depending on the location of the rink and the season, the referee has many choices in jerseys such as short sleeve or long sleeve, knit or polyester, overhead or button down.  CCM is the main name for referee jerseys.

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Of course, a referee is going to need a whistle (unless it is late in the third period).  Depending on preference, a referee can use a standard two finger whistle made by Fox 40 and ACME or a regular whistle that can be made of metal or plastic.

  
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REFEREE TRAINING

Standardized certification or licensing for floor hockey referees is not available.  However, referees can attend training or certification classes or clinics.  Some leagues even have their own courses that must be completed before refereeing.  If truly adventurous, a referee can be licensed to referee ice hockey such as through USA hockey.


 
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