How Much Is Ice Hockey Equipment: A Comprehensive Guide

Ice hockey is renowned for being a thrilling and exhilarating sport, demanding speed, skill, strength, and stamina from its participants. However, to play both safely and effectively, a significant amount of equipment is necessary.

For those new to the sport or considering taking it up, the cost of ice hockey equipment and what is essential to purchase can be daunting. This guide aims to demystify ice hockey gear, offering insights into finding the best value for your budget. Key gear such as skates, sticks, helmets, gloves, and pads are covered, ensuring every player knows the essentials.

Additionally, we include the specialized equipment required by goalies, including goalie skates, leg pads, chest protectors, and masks. The guide also highlights the additional gear and accessories that quickly add up that could boost your performance and comfort on the ice, such as tape, socks, neck guards, and bags.

By the end of this guide, you’ll have a thorough understanding of the cost of ice hockey equipment and how to select the appropriate gear for your skill level and position. Additionally, you’ll discover cost-saving tips to maximize your investment in hockey gear.

Understanding the Costs

One of the biggest challenges of playing ice hockey is the cost of the equipment. Ice hockey is not a cheap sport, and it can be a significant investment for new players. In this section, we will help you understand how much ice hockey equipment costs, and how you can save money without compromising on quality or safety.

Initial Investment for New Players

If you are a new player eager to start playing ice hockey, you’ll need to purchase a full set of equipment. This set includes essential items such as skates, sticks, helmet, gloves, pads, and pants. The initial investment for new players can range from $400 to $1,200 or more, depending on the brand and quality of the equipment.

This estimate does not include the cost of ice time, coaching, travel, and league fees, which can total another $500 to $2,000 per year. Thus, the total annual cost for a beginner ice hockey player can range from $900 to $3,200 or more.

Cost Breakdown by Category

To provide a clearer picture of how much each category of equipment costs, we have compiled a table showing the average price range for each item, based on data from various sources. It’s important to note that these figures are estimates, and actual prices may vary depending on factors such as brand, model, size, and availability. …

CategoryItemAverage Price Range
SkatesSkates$100 – $1,000
SticksSticks$50 – $300
HelmetHelmet$50 – $300
HelmetFace Shield or Cage$20 – $100
HelmetMouthguard$10 – $50
HelmetNeck Guard$10 – $50
Upper BodyShoulder Pads$40 – $200
Upper BodyElbow Pads$20 – $100

The Essentials of Ice Hockey Gear

Ice hockey equipment including gloves, skates, puck and stick on the ice next to a goal

Now that you have an overview of ice hockey equipment, let’s dive into the details of each essential item. These are the gear that every player needs to play the game safely and effectively.

Helmets and Face Shields

The helmet is the most important piece of equipment for protecting your head and face from injuries. You should look for a helmet that is the correct fit, fitting snugly and securely on your head, without any gaps or movement.

The helmet should also have a face shield or a cage that covers your eyes, nose, and mouth. This will prevent pucks, sticks, or other objects from hitting your face. You should also ensure that your helmet is certified by the Hockey Equipment Certification Council (HECC) for optimal safety.

Mouthguards and Neck Guards

Mouthguards and neck guards are essential protective equipment that protect teeth and throats from damage. A mouthguard is a plastic device that you wear in your mouth to cushion the impact of blows or falls. It can also prevent you from biting your tongue or cheek.

A neck guard is a padded collar worn around your neck to protect it from cuts or bruises. A neck guard can also prevent a skate blade from slicing your throat, which can be fatal.

You should look for mouthguards and neckguards that fit comfortably and do not interfere with your breathing or swallowing.

Shoulder Pads, Elbow Pads, and Gloves

Shoulder pads, elbow pads, and gloves protect your upper body from injuries. Shoulder pads cover your chest, back, and shoulders, and provide cushioning and support for your collarbone and ribs. Elbow pads cover your elbows and forearms, and prevent fractures and sprains from falls or hits.

Gloves cover your hands and wrists, and shield them from pucks, sticks, or slashes. You should look for shoulder pads, elbow pads, and gloves that fit well and allow you to move freely.

You should also look for reinforced areas, such as palms, knuckles, and fingers, that can withstand wear and tear.

Hockey Pants and Protective Cups

Hockey pants and protective cups protect your lower body from injuries. Hockey pants cover your hips, thighs, and tailbone, and provide padding and support for your muscles and bones.

Protective cups cover your groin and pelvic area, and prevent serious damage to your reproductive organs. You should look for hockey pants and protective cups that fit snugly and securely, without being too tight or loose. You should also look for durable materials, such as nylon or polyester, that can resist tears and abrasions.

Shin Pads

Shin pads are essential for protecting your legs from injuries. Shin pads cover your knees and shins, and provide cushioning and support for your joints and bones. Shin pads also prevent cuts and bruises from pucks, sticks, or skates.

You should look for shin pads that fit well and cover your entire shin, from the top of your knee to the bottom of your ankle. You should also look for straps or Velcro that can keep your shin pads in place, without sliding or shifting.


A close up of ice hockey skates on the ice.

Skates are essential for moving and maneuvering on the ice. Skates consist of a boot and a blade, and are designed to fit your feet and ankles. Skates should be comfortable and supportive, without being too tight or loose.

Skates should also have sharp and well-maintained blades, that can glide smoothly and quickly on the ice. You should look for skates that match your skill level and playing style.

For example, if you are a beginner, you might want skates that have more ankle support and wider blades. If you are an advanced player, you might want skates that have more flexibility and narrower blades.


Sticks are essential for handling and shooting the puck. Sticks consist of a shaft and a blade, and are made of various materials, such as wood, aluminum, or composite. Sticks should be light and strong, without being too heavy or brittle.

Sticks should also have the right length and curve, that suit your height and preference. You should look for sticks that match your position and skill level.

For example, if you are a forward, you might want a stick that has a shorter shaft and a more curved blade. If you are a defenseman, you might want a stick that has a longer shaft and a less curved blade.

Specialized Equipment for Goalies

An ice hockey goalkeeper in training in full goalie kit

As a goalie, specialized equipment is necessary to differentiate you from regular players. This gear is essential to not only stop the puck but also to protect your body from injuries.

Goalie Pads

The goalie pads stand out as the most distinctive and critical equipment for a goalie. They cover your legs and feet, offering cushioning and support to your knees and ankles. These pads also aid in sliding and moving on the ice and are pivotal in blocking shots with your legs.

It’s important to select goalie pads that fit well and align with your play style. For instance, butterfly goalies might prefer pads that are stiffer and flatter, while hybrid goalies may benefit from a softer and more flexible design.

Additional Goalie Gear

Beyond goalie pads, there are several pieces of gear specific to goalies. These include:

  • Goalie skates: Designed for balance and protection, these skates feature a thicker and wider blade, coupled with a more protective boot, facilitating balance and pivoting on the ice, while safeguarding your feet.
  • Goalie stick: Modified for goalies, it boasts a larger blade and a longer, thicker shaft, enabling you to block low shots and pass the puck effectively.
  • Goalie glove: Also known as a catcher or trapper, this large, padded glove is worn on the left hand (for right-handed players) and is crucial for catching and securing shots aimed at the glove side.
  • Goalie blocker: A specialized device worn on the right hand (for right-handed players), featuring a small stick attachment for holding your goalie stick and deflecting shots to the blocker side.
  • Goalie mask: Offering head and facial protection, this customized helmet includes a cage or shield to protect your eyes and mouth, allowing for expression of personality and style.
  • Goalie chest protector: Similar to shoulder pads but with a bulkier, more padded design, it provides comprehensive coverage and protection against shot impacts.

Miscellaneous Gear and Accessories

Apart from the core and specialized gear necessary for ice hockey, there are various other equipment and accessories that can notably enhance your ice hockey experience, making it more enjoyable and convenient. These include:

Hockey Bag

A hockey bag stands as an indispensable item for any ice hockey player, crucial for storing, organizing, and transporting your gear to and from the rink. Hockey bags come in a variety of designs such as carry bags, wheel bags, backpacks, and duffle bags.

Choosing a hockey bag that aligns with your needs and preferences is vital. For instance, if you carry a plethora of gear, a wheel bag, known for its spaciousness and multiple compartments, might be ideal. Conversely, frequent travelers might find backpacks or duffle bags more portable and versatile.


Accessories constitute those extra items that can amplify your performance, comfort, or sense of style on the ice. These range widely, including items like tape, socks, neck guards, skate guards, helmet stickers, and more.

It’s important to select accessories that not only complement your equipment but also reflect your personality. For example, skate guards are excellent for protecting your skates against rust and damage, while helmet stickers allow for personal customization of your helmet. If enhancing grip and control is your aim, tape could be a valuable addition to your gear.

How to Save Money

As evident, ice hockey equipment can be quite pricey, especially for new players. Nevertheless, there are strategies to save money while still acquiring quality and safe equipment:

  • Buy used equipment: Purchasing used equipment is a straightforward and effective way to save funds. Look for deals on gently used items that meet safety standards and fit well. However, avoid used helmets, mouthguards, and protective cups due to health and safety concerns.
  • Buy last year’s models: Last year’s equipment models are often available at significant discounts. This is an excellent way to obtain high-quality and new items at lower prices. Check for clearance sales and compare various brands and models.
  • Buy starter packages: For beginners, consider purchasing a starter package. These bundles include all essential gear at a more affordable price point than buying items separately. Choose a package that fits your budget and skill level.
  • Buy only what you need: Focus on purchasing necessary items rather than the most expensive gear. Prioritize essential gear such as skates, sticks, and helmets, and save on lesser-used items like socks, tape, and stickers.

Additional Expenses Beyond the Equipment

Beyond the initial outlay for equipment, playing ice hockey incurs several other costs. From league fees to travel expenses, these additional financial commitments can quickly add up. Let’s delve into what these expenses entail and the potential impact on your budget.

League Fees and Ice Time

Joining a league or club is often essential for those looking to play ice hockey competitively or recreationally. These organizations usually require an annual or seasonal fee, which covers ice time, coaching, and league registration. The cost varies widely based on factors such as location, age, skill level, and the nature of the league or club. On average, hockey enrollment costs hover around $1,200, with a broad range from $500 to $10,000 per season.

Renting ice is a significant expense in hockey, with rates for an hour-long session ranging from $100 to $500, influenced by the time of day and the rink’s location. Naturally, the more ice time you seek, the higher your expenses will climb.

Travel and Miscellaneous Costs

Travel is another cost that can vary dramatically, influenced by the level of competition and the distance to games or tournaments. Local league play might only set you back $50 to $200 per trip, but participating in competitive leagues or tournaments, especially those requiring air travel, can escalate costs to $500 to $2,000 or more per trip.

Beyond travel, ice hockey players often face miscellaneous expenses, including team and practice jerseys, training camps, and off-ice training programs. These costs can add another $500 to $2,000 to your annual hockey budget, depending on the team and the nature of the program.


Ice hockey is an exhilarating sport offering immense fun, excitement, and numerous benefits. Nevertheless, it demands an extensive array of equipment that could be both expensive and bewildering. Through this guide, our aim has been to demystify ice hockey equipment, covering topics such as:

  • The essential and specialized equipment vital for every player and goalie, including skates, sticks, helmets, pads, gloves, and more.
  • The variety of gear and accessories that could elevate your performance, comfort, or style, comprising tape, socks, neck guards, skate guards, helmet stickers, and more.
  • Understanding the costs involved in purchasing and upkeep of equipment, alongside strategies to economize without sacrificing quality or safety.
  • The additional financial commitments beyond equipment, such as league fees, ice time, travel expenses, and other assorted costs.

We hope this guide has illuminated the aspects of ice hockey equipment costs and the essentials for purchase. Armed with this knowledge and tips, you’re well-prepared to embrace the ice and revel in the game. Let not the expense of gearing up deter you from following your passion and experiencing joy.

Remember, there are always avenues to save money and snag the best deals fitting your budget. So, why delay?

Seize your equipment and dive into the world of ice hockey today!


How expensive is ice hockey?

Ice hockey is expensive because it requires a lot of equipment, ice time, coaching, travel, and league fees. According to one source, the average annual cost for children to participate in ice hockey is $2,583. The most significant expenses are attributed to travel, costing around $829, and equipment, at approximately $389.

How much does a full set of adult hockey gear cost?

The cost of a full set of adult hockey gear varies greatly, based on the quality and the brand of the equipment. Sources indicate that prices can range from $400 to over $3,000 for gear that meets regular or NHL-level standards, respectively.

Do hockey players pay for their equipment?

No, hockey players generally do not pay for their equipment. They are often equipped for free by manufacturers through sponsorship deals, or their teams cover the cost of new equipment.

How much does an NHL stick cost?

An NHL hockey stick’s cost can vary widely, with a range from $100 to $400, depending on the brand, model, and specifications. The average cost of an NHL hockey stick is estimated at $185.

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