When you're selling hockey equipment, you need to be aware of both new safety regulations and new performance-enhancing designs. Updates are always being made to ice hockey sticks, skates, helmets, pucks, and pads -- every angle of the gear is constantly scrutinized for improvement. Keeping up-to-date on the pros and cons of these innovations is key. Not an ice hockey gear retail specialist? Take time to educate yourself on the unique requirements of hockey equipment.
With customers -- especially young ones -- coming in for the latest gear they've read about or seen on TV, you have to know the pros and cons of every new item and whether it meets league requirements. You also have to be a fit mentor. Here are three ice hockey equipment news and trends to keep up on:
1. Start off on the right foot by choosing the right ice hockey skates.
2. Use your head to get the best helmet -- the most important piece of ice hockey gear.
3. Adjust customer expectations of ice hockey goalie equipment.
Lace up the right ice hockey skate for your customersIce hockey skates are all about speed, speed, speed. They've become lighter and lighter over the past five years, and different types of blades have been introduced by manufacturers feeding the speed frenzy. Your job is to know the new blades and how to change them, and to make sure you observe the basics of proper fit.
Protect the head with the best new helmets in ice hockey gearAll that speed the new skates give players has an unintended downside: higher-impact collisions between players, which can lead to concussion and other brain injuries. Manufacturers have been scrambling to improve helmets, and any hockey distributor will offer a wide array. It's important to offer the safest helmets, and then drill your customers, again, on fit.
Cover the net with hockey goalie equipment that meets the new requirementsThe biggest news in goalie gear is the downsizing of ice hockey goalie pads. The decision was made in 2005, but it is now beginning to be universally enforced. The controversy over this move by the NCAA and NHL may lead to customers who are reluctant to buy new pads, but you can get them to see the light with the right information.
- Helmets protect the whole head -- including the ears, face, and, for goalies, the throat. Make sure the ice hockey goalie equipment you offer features coverings or cages for all of these areas, to avoid injury from a puck or a high ice hockey stick.