How to Dress For Outdoor Hockey
I get asked this question quite often (since I love playing outdoors) so I figured I’d share a little knowledge.
First, read this pamphlet. It’s a great little resource I came across on the web. It gives good do’s and don’ts. It’s written very simply, but that’s ok-the info is good.
Second, read this blog entry that I wrote about climbing into freezing water. There are some tips in there and it largely corroborates the first pamphlet I asked you to read.
Third. Remember to wear layers! You’ll be moving around, generating heat and moisture (i.e. sweat). It’s amazing how warm you can get. You want to be able to take layers off to keep yourself comfortable. This applies for hands as well! If you must wear hockey gloves, wear silk or polyester glove liners.
Fourth. Underwear. Silk is excellent if you’re going to be in the cold long. Otherwise, go with polyester. Try to stay away from cotton on any layer that’s in contact with skin.
Fifth. Remember your face! If there is any wind and the temps are in the teens, your face can freeze REALLY quickly. You can buy ski masks pretty much anywhere. I prefer this model.
Sixth. If it’s windy, get yourself a windbreaker. If it’s fleece lined, great, but any nylon windbreaker (treated with water repellent always helps) will help keep the wind off and that can make a huge difference when you’re zigging and zagging through your friends like pylons against that 20 mile per hour wind.
Seventh. Pants. I bought an awesome pair of German Army Winter Pants. They’re wool with waterproof liners on the knees and thighs and were dirt cheap. They breathe, trap air against the skin and aren’t itchy. Wearing these over polyester undies and I don’t need anything else. If there is a wind, nylon pants can also act as a windbreaker.
Eighth. Socks. This is probably the hardest thing to dress for because you need to wear your skates, right? Most skates also don’t breathe that well (ha! Or at all!) so really, wear what feels comfortable but try not to wear too thick, or too many socks that results in impaired circulation to your feet. Acrylics and wools seem to do the job well. If you’re going to take off your skate while outside, have some boots to immediately put them into. If they’re drenched, put dry socks on first and then put them in your boots pronto.
Ninth. Keep hydrated. You’re still sweating. Replenish fluids.
Tenth. Pay attention to your body. I know hockey players are stoic and play hurt, cold and bleeding, but if any part of your body is numb (yes it deadens the pain of a slapshot but pay attention), if part of your body is numb it’s probably freezing. Learn the symptoms of frostbite! Get some circulation going again and warm it up! It’ll probably sting and itch and hurt, that’s your finger coming back to life. Don’t freeze anything off, it’s not worth it and there’s nothing cool about getting refit for skates because you only have one toe. If you need incentive to stay frostbite free, check out this google page of images. This is my own toe with some frostnip when I went out shovelling, had thin socks and wore cowboy boots instead of my winter boots.
That’s it! If there’s more I’ll add it. If you have any suggestions, please share! Have fun and keep your head up!