Ice hockey is a lot of fun for kids and adults of all ages. That said, there are some obvious risks that come from sliding across a frozen pond. In this week’s blog, let’s talk about ice hockey safety.
Understanding Ice Hockey Safety
While quite popular during the colder months, ice hockey can be pretty dangerous. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
, ice hockey is the second leading cause of winter sports injuries among children. Most of these injuries come from “body-checking” and collisions.
Fortunately, with proper equipment, a lot of these dangers can be avoided or lessened. All players should wear safety gear that has been specifically designed for ice hockey.
For example, a foam-lined helmet with a full face mask can protect the head from concussions and falls. A mouth guard should be worn at all times to protect the teeth.
All of your safety gear should be checked and rechecked frequently. If any padding or gear has taken a few too many hits, then it is time to replace. You should use new gear when possible. Buying a used helmet is a recipe for trouble.
Every player should wear the gear suited to their position. Thinking ahead and wearing the right protective equipment can help to prevent injuries. For goalies, extra padding will be required to protect against powerful slap shots.
Think Before Stepping onto the Ice
When it comes to ice hockey safety, the best way to avoid thin ice is to play indoors in a properly maintained rink. Of course, this option may not always be available.
For many players, a newly frozen pond could be just the ticket. That said, it is critical for players to plan ahead. It can often be difficult to tell if the ice is actually thick enough to support the weight of the team. Before anyone sets foot on the ice, everyone should be absolutely sure of its safety. The required thickness varies from one ice activity to another. For skating, playing hockey and even ice fishing, the ice should be a minimum of four inches thick. The best way to be sure that the ice is safe is to pay attention to any safety signs or flags posted by the experts. If a flag indicates that the ice is not thick enough, heed this advice. Do not skate on that ice.
Snow and Ice
As mentioned in the previous section, four inches of thick frozen ice is needed to ensure ice hockey safety. In a situation where the ice is covered in snow, the players should double that thickness. In these cases, there should be at least eight inches of ice. While it is quite cold, the snow actually works to insulate the ice. This applies pressure and weakens the ice underneath. Extra precautions should be taken.
Believe it or not, breaking the ice
is much easier than it looks. Many times, players get so immersed in the game that ice hockey safety concerns are forgotten. Obviously, this can lead to disaster. For maximum safety, the best bet is to avoid ice that’s covered in snow or appears cloudy.
Without proper measuring tools, it can be tricky to truly know the thickness and sturdiness of a patch of ice. When in doubt, it is best to simply avoid going out on the ice.
Play it Safe!
Above all, the best way to keep safe during an ice hockey game is to follow the rules and practice good sportsmanship. Always warm up and drink plenty of fluids before starting a game. Even though it is cold, it is always important to stay hydrated. Your body will thank you. Playing too rough or ignoring the referee can also result in dangerous situations. If everyone stays calm and prepared, ice hockey can be a lot of fun.