Everyone agrees that the New Year is a great time to get organized. If you were to ask your son or daughter what they think they most need to organize, they would probably answer their bedrooms, school notes and closets — but what about their hockey equipment?
Getting to the rink only to realize that one piece of equipment has been left behind can lead to a chaotic race against the clock to get home and back before the puck drops. What about looking into the hockey bag only to find that something is broken or bent, or has simply gotten lost in the dark depths of the hockey bag?
Not to worry, there are solutions! Hockey equipment is expensive and teaching young players to respect their equipment and to value organization can be done in just four easy steps:
1. Check it
Creating an equipment checklist can be a good way for players, young and old alike, to track and organize their equipment. For younger players, laminate the checklist, whole punch the corner and attach it to the hockey bag. Add in a dry erase marker so they can mark the equipment off as they pack their bag. It will take the guesswork out of whether all the equipment made it to the rink or not, which will give them (and you) peace of mind. Revisiting the checklist while repacking the equipment at the end of the game will ensure everything makes it home too!
2. “Containerize” it
The interior of a standard hockey bag can feel like a deep abyss when time is short and something needs to be found quickly. Though it may seem like you’re forever trying to find the proverbial needle in a haystack, organizing these catch-all bags is not impossible. First, try to get your player into the habit of packing his or her bag in the order in which he or she puts things on. Use the corners to pack away larger pieces and save the middle of the bag for the smaller pieces. Utilize plastic containers or a large hanging toiletry bag to store smaller things, such as mouth guards, tape and hockey tools.
3. “Super” bag it
Paying homage to the integral role the hockey bag plays in the nation’s favourite pastime, Paul Armstrong chronicles its history in an article titled “The Hockey Bag” on the Kanata Old-Timers Hockey site. From a blanket slung over the shoulder to today’s ultra modern versions, the design and function of the hockey bag has changed dramatically over the years. While military duffle bags were once the popular choice, the newest hockey bags include everything from slick wheels to handy interior shelving. Essentially a portable storage locker, these new stand-up “super” bags are fantastic organizers. However, there is no doubt that the iconic over-the-shoulder bag will forever remain a favourite.
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4. Hang It
Tired of wet, stinky hockey equipment festering in your basement, garage or laundry room? The importance of drying equipment after each use cannot be over stressed. If equipment does not get a chance to air out, “stink” simply does not seem strong enough a word. Perhaps, even worse than the smell of sweat-soaked equipment is the fact that sweat can also break down the equipment’s integrity. To ensure this doesn’t happen, it has to come completely out of the bag and be dried thoroughly. Available at any major sports store, there are several great products — including the handy Hockey Tree — that can help keep equipment dry and out from under foot while on standby for the next big game. Other helpful products include wall-mounted garage organizers and PROlocker storage systems.
Hockey TreeBy following these simple steps and the words of Samuel Smiles: “A place for everything, and everything in its place,” your player can stop wondering about where to put the hockey tape and, instead, start dreaming about on where to put the puck!