Have you been taking good care of your own goaltending equipment? I hope you have because it is very important to keep it in good shape!
The goal of good maintenance for your equipment is to keep it in the best condition possible while you are wearing it, thereby extend its useful life and ability to perform for you:
Safety: Cleaning your equipment frequently to ensures that it is kept in the best condition to do the job it was designed for. Also, if you routinely clean and check your gear, you will notice damage immediately and lessen occurrences of sudden breakages, which could cause injury in a game or practice.
Minimize Damage: The best time for a repair is when the damage is minimal. Do not put a “band aid” on a problem, and wait to get it fixed! Also, goaltending equipment is expensive and proper maintenance will minimize additional expenditures on repairs.
Durability: Extend the life of the equipment through proper care, maintenance and cleaning. Also, if it is kept in good condition, it can be re-sold or handed on when out grown.
Comfort: Your equipment will fit and feel better, and you will perform better, if it is kept in good condition.
Tips for Equipment Cleaning & Repair:
After using your equipment and putting it into the hockey bag during travel, air it out as soon as possible to keep the equipment dry and mildew and odor free. You might want to consider buying a hockey tree to hang your equipment on to help it dry rapidly. In case your equipment still smells bad after washing or wiping and thoroughly air drying, bring it to be professionally cleaned, such as by Esporta Wash Systems or a similar company.
Your equipment, especially chest & arm protection, t-shirt neck guard, headband attached to your helmet and groin protection should be washed by hand only, in cold water, and never completely submerged to prevent them from being misshapen and not drying properly. Large items like chest protection can be wiped with warm water to remove perspiration then left to air dry. Please note: any product used on the equipment such as water repellant or anti-bacterial spray should be tested on a small area before treating the whole item and also for allergic reaction, if it will come into contact with the wearer’s skin.
For any leather on your equipment, use a leather protector frequently to prevent leather from becoming dry or mildewed, which weakens it. Leather protector will also repel water from the equipment and helps it to dry rapidly. You can buy it from the shoe or hockey equipment shop. However, if you are unsure what to use, please bring your leather equipment to the shop and ask one of the assistants. To keep the leather clean, use a damp warm rag and wipe it interior and exterior.
To maintain your pads, unscrew the toe of your pads where they attach to the skates and add oil, WD40 or Vaseline to prevent rusting. Also treat the strap buckles. Additionally, after using your pads, put them upside down or hang them to dry since the bottom is the wettest area and will dry faster if the whole area is exposed to the air rather than resting on the floor.
The blocker & glove should be air dried thoroughly between uses, and can be wiped with a damp rag and treated with water repellant if desired. To help keep them dry during use, wear wrist bands to absorb sweat before it reaches your equipment. Worn or loose elastic or velcro straps should be replaced immediately to ensure secure fit and best performance.
As for the goaltending helmet, this is the most important piece of protective gear. Always inspect your helmet after each use for cracks, chips, loose screws, bent cage, torn straps & loose interior pads any of these could compromise the protection your helmet offers. For example: if your cage is bent the strength of the individual bars is lessened. Never fix your helmet on your own, bring it to your pro shop immediately and to replace a damaged part with a new one of the correct brand. It should always be left to dry thoroughly between each use to prevent skin irritation. If the screws are stainless steel, unscrewing them should not unnecessary, otherwise apply oil, WD40 or Vaseline to them periodically. Additionally, install the clear wire installations on top of the cage to prevent chipping the paint on your helmet. Ensure that straps are properly adjusted and have no damage. Change your mouth piece often, and this is one piece of equipment you will not want to borrow or share!
Always dry your skate blades before replacing the skate guards to minimize rusting. Also blades should be kept sharpened to your liking, and periodically checked for looseness. The inside of the skate should be allowed to dry thoroughly between uses. Always wear natural fiber socks to allow skin to breath and moisture to escape.
Always have back up parts and tools for emergency repairs (e.g.: screwdrivers, mini-pliers, skate stone, screws, straps, skate laces)