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Shopping Online for Hockey Gear

April 21, 2010 Equipment No Comments

You want to have good hockey gear, but you don’t want to pay a lot of money.
Welcome to internet hockey gear searching.

I say searching because you have to do that before you shop. All the brand new gear is there on every website. If you want to pay $700 for Bauer TotalOnes, there are a ton of sites that will sell them to you. But if you want to find a deal, you have to search.

The first step in your search is to know what you like. If you don’t know what kind of skates you like, just about any will do. I have discriminating tastes however. I like a stiff skate and a Sakic (Draper, Naslund) curve on my stick. That is what I search for. If you like thin shin pads, don’t buy fat ones. No matter how cheap it is, don’t buy it if you don’t really like it.

Next, know where you are willing to sacrifice. If you have to have the latest skate technology, you are not going to find a lot of deals. If you are ok with last years model, you may be able to get on hockeymonkey.com orhockeygiant.com and find a pro-level skate for almost half the price. I have seen the first generation CCM U+ skate for under $300. they were a $500 dollar skate two years ago. Always check the site’s clearance section.

Third, know your size. The first pair of skates I bought off Ebay  were Graf 703. They were new in box and looked perfect, but they didn’t fit. I didn’t realize how narrow Graf skates fit. I also didn’t realize I could have worn a size smaller if I had found a wide pair. When all else fails, go to a hockey shop and try stuff on. Certain brands fit certain ways. The top to the bottom of their line usually all fit the same, a size ten Vapor X60 fits pretty close to a size 10 Vapor X 30 skate. Try on some gear at the shop. Who knows, you may be able to get a deal from the sales guy.

If you can’t get to a shop, email the customer service people at a website and see how the gear you are eying fits. Know your measurements to make that easier.

My fourth tip is to give the company you are thinking of buying a call. My wife taught me this. A few Christmases ago, she wanted to buy me a pair of Bauer Vapor XXXX skates. She called five different websites. Once she got a price from the first, she called another and checked if they could go lower. Most places will beat a competitor by 10-percent. Eventually, she got a certain store to go from $550 to $400. Needless to say, I had a merry Christmas.

My fifth and final tip is to try Ebay. There are all sorts of deals on this site. Some of the Buy it Now options are good deals and, who knows, you may get a sweet deal if you win an auction.

I will caution you. Be careful who you buy from. Look at there seller history. Aske them questions, especially if it is used product. I bought an Easton stick from a Play-it-again Sports in California. It was an older model so it was what I thought was a good deal. I got the stick and it had all the Easton stickers that brand-new sticks have. But, it must have been on the floor for a long time. By this, I mean it was tested by everyone who came in that shop and flexed because it had no pop. The stick said 100 flex, it felt 65. But, I have gotten gloves off of Ebay and had no problem.
I hope you have good luck and are a lucky size. My 10 EE is not always the easiest to find for skates, but I find gloves and shoulder pads in my size all the time.
If you are on Facebook, there are a lot of groups devoted to hockey Gear. Proclaimed Hockey Equipment Whores is probably the biggest. If you don’t mind being chirped, ask the group about certain items you are interested in. With 18, 360 members, you are bound to find someone who has had what you are looking at.
Just don’t post a picture of yourself skating around in an orange CCM x-ray helmet.

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