With the hockey season underway, parents across the country are feeling the strain on their wallets. Let’s face it — minor hockey is an expensive game. You’ve got your enrolment fee to pay, protective gear to purchase, skates and other equipment to buy — the costs tally up, fast.
Fortunately, there are several ways to save money when it comes to purchasing your child’s hockey equipment, according to Darryl Holt, manager of The Hockey Shop Source for Sports in Surrey, B.C.
The hockey equipment expert has helped countless families break away from having to fork over all their hard-earned dough with these winning tips:
#1. Purchase last year’s models — If you don’t mind owning gear from the previous season, you can save hundreds of dollars off your purchase, according to Holt.
“That is always my number one recommendation for parents who want to save money,” he says. “If you aren’t after the ‘latest and the greatest,’ you can get a lot of great stuff for the same quality at much better pricing.”
Tip: A great time to purchase last year’s hockey equipment is in the last week of July or in the first two weeks of August. And in this case, the early bird does get the worm — the earlier you go, the better the selection of deals.
#2. Save with second-hand — One person’s gently used goods are another person’s treasure, especially when it comes to hockey. However, for safety reasons, it is important to use strict caution when purchasing second-hand gear, particularly helmets and face protectors — both must meet the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) standards, according to Holt.
“There is sometimes confusion about whether or not you are allowed to use a second-hand helmet or face protector, but it is okay as long as it is in good condition, is less than five years old, has no tears, cracks or problems with the foam, and the CSA certification number on the attached sticker hasn’t expired,” says Holt, who also advises parents to always have their child’s second-hand helmet and face protector checked by a professional before it is used in the rink.
“We are always happy to check them here in the store to make sure it’s in working shape.”
If in doubt, check the list of CSA certified products.
Whether the product is used or brand new, Holt always recommends making sure the fit is checked by a professional.
“Having a helmet or even gloves that do not fit properly can be extremely dangerous. It only takes a minute or two for us to look it over.”
#3. Buy in bulk — Whether it’s hockey sticks, socks or jerseys, buying in bulk can save teams a lot of money, according to Holt. The key to buying wholesale is to buy more of what you need, which will equate to a higher discount.
“We offer a group discount, but that varies on the product,” he says. “On average we can help teams save between 10 and 20 per cent off their purchase and that’s on everything in the store.”
#4. Swap and save — A lot of minor hockey associations have one-day or weekend swap meets for hockey gear, which is a good way to get rid of equipment your son or daughter has outgrown, and to find some great deals on gently used and even new goods for the coming season.
#5. Starter kits — A great way to kick-start savings on your child’s hockey goods is to purchase a starter kit, which is an especially good buy for those just starting out in the sport. There’s no use, after all, in spending thousands on gear that your child will outgrow quickly or barely use if he or she decides not to continue to play. The kits include everything your player will need (excluding skates and hockey sticks) to get them into the game.
“You’ll save anywhere between $50 to $100,” says Holt.
The Hockey Shop Source For Sports is a family owned and operated hockey superstore located in Surrey, B.C., Canada. Their online store, thehockeyshop.com, has been in operation since 1996 and proudly supplies hockey equipment to every continent on the planet.
By Kristyl Clark — One Million Skates Lifestyle Writer