Whether you have a new 8U skater that just registered or a current player that may need some new equipment, this note should be helpful to review before you buy any equipment.
The first place to start would be contacting anyone you know that has an older child that plays hockey in CUYHA. They may have old stuff lying around that they could give you or sell to you for cheap.
Whether you get used gear or decide to buy new gear "locally" or online, below are a few tips.
For the shoulder pads, elbow pads, pants, shin pads, and gloves, it is best to buy used or cheap new stuff. You do NOT need to purchase top of the line pads for an 8U player. One, they grow out of it quickly at this age. Second, the cheaper stuff is usually less bulky, which will be easier for the skater to move around in. Finally, 8U players do not need the most protective pads. There is very little contact out there and the puck is never shot very hard. So, the cheaper pads will be adequate when the skater is bumped into, falls down, or gets hit with the puck. Higher priced, better quality, more protective gear becomes more important as your player get older when there is increased body contact and the puck moves much faster.
Skates and Helmet:
The two pieces of equipment that you should spend a little more money on are skates and helmet. Still, you do NOT need the top of the line skates or helmets. But, on these items, you should definitely avoid the very cheapest options. Skates that are higher priced will be lighter, have more ankle support, and will likely be more comfortable. More ankle support will make skating easier for your player. Helmets that are higher priced will be lighter, more comfortable, and will provide better protection from concussion. Protection of your skater’s head should be a priority for you.
All 8U players should have a curved blade stick. Straight blade sticks are good for Minor Hawks while your player is learning if they are right or left handed, but curved blade sticks allow the player to shoot harder, pass more accurately, and control the puck better. Before you purchase a stick, you need to know if your player is Left handed or Right handed. And, it may not be the same hand that he/she throws, kicks, writes, or eats with. To know which way your player shoots, give the player a straight blade stick and a puck or ball. Observe how he/she holds the stick when he/she shoots or handles the puck or ball. If the stick is to his/her right side (left hand at the top end of the stick), you need to purchase a Right handed. If the stick is to his/her left side (right hand at the top end of the stick), you need to purchase a Left handed stick. Two good stick options linked below. The wood one for $19.99 is probably the best one to start a new 8U player with. If your player thinks he needs a composite stick like the pros use, and you wish to splurge for the lighter composite stick at $44.99. Higher price composite sticks are not necessary for 8U players.
Where to Buy:
Play it Again Sports in Decatur IL - USED GEAR AVAILABLE HERE
Dick's Sporting Goods in Champaign - NO USED GEAR
Johnston's Sporting Goods in Bloomington IL - Some USED GEAR
Scheels in Springfield IL - NO USED GEAR
Almost every ice arena will have a pro shop with equipment for sale.
Pure Hockey. Chain store with locations in the Chicagoland and St. Louis areas.
www.totalhockey.com - short lead times on shipping, good inventory, points system for registered users
www.hockeymonkey.com – easy to use website, good inventory, clearance and sales offers frequently, longer ship times due to being on the west coast