They say time flies when you are having fun, which is why it’s hard to believe the season of winter hockey is already winding down.
For some, spring or summer hockey is just around the corner, but for others, elbow pads and chest protectors will be traded for summer sports gear, or set aside for a much-needed rest. Taking the time to sort and organize equipment at the end of the season will ensure next year’s season will be smooth skating. Here are some tips to help you get the job done:
Before you do any storing and organizing of winter hockey equipment, it is very important to ensure that the bag and its contents all get a good scrub down. You definitely do not want to put away any gear with ‘winter stink’ on it. For best results, wash with warm water and let it dry fully before storing. Did you know the sun’s rays act as a sanitizer? If you have the opportunity, let the equipment soak up some rays before you put it away. Make sure you don’t neglect the mouth guard. There are products on the market like SkateMate CleanGuard UV Mouth Guard Sanitizer to help with this. Also, don’t forget to clean the visor and cage of your helmet. Even if you are continuing hockey over the spring or summer, getting in the habit of giving your equipment a good cleaning will make sure you don’t end up bringing the locker room smell home with you. Phew!
Hockey equipment can be bulky and cumbersome to store. Keeping everything in the hockey bag during the hockey season makes sense because you just grab the bag and go. However, if you are done for the season or actually need the bag for another team but have to swap out some equipment, then it is better to have a way to store the equipment.
Corner Storage — Sports equipment retailers like Canadian Tire and ProHockeyEquipment.com carry deluxe equipment racks and drying racks. These products provide a place for each piece of equipment, while allowing air to get into the equipment to air dry. Corner storage units are great to tuck away gear until the start of the next hockey season.
Vertical Storage — If you do not have a corner that you can carve out for this purpose, consider using the vertical space in your house or garage. Rubbermaid offers a great product called Fast Track, which allows you to mount the product on the wall creating a variety of ways to organize your hockey equipment.
Hanging — Another great product is the Octopus. It can be secured to any ceiling joist or door frame, keeping your sports equipment off the ground and allowing it to stay aired out. The Octopus is also a simple and effective way to organize your equipment in the off-season.
Closet — If you happen to be blessed with an extra closet, you can clear it out and turn it into a hockey storage closet. Install adjustable wire shelves from floor-to-ceiling, which will allow for ventilation of the equipment. Install some shelves or baskets to store items and put up hooks for hanging larger items like goalie pads and a rack for sticks. Install an air purifier that will clear the odour right up and keep everything dry.
If you decide storing your equipment until next hockey season in your hockey bag is the right solution, check out an earlier article, 4 Steps to an Organized Hockey Bag, for some tips and tricks. The Sportsfresh Odour Eliminator and Elite Hockey ProFresh 66 are two examples of products that can help keep everything fresh.
When it comes to traditional solutions, the ANTONIUS Frame and wire baskets from IKEA offer great drawer storage for your equipment. Again (following the steps to ensure that the equipment has been cleaned), the mesh baskets will keep the equipment fresh.
If you have more than one hockey player in the home, use colour-coded systems or labeled bins to organize each player’s equipment.
To store your sticks so that they are organized in one central location for the off season, get a tall plastic or metal bin and add kitty litter into the bottom to ensure it doesn’t tip over.
With so many great storage and organizing solutions available, it is assuring to know your equipment will be well-stored until the next puck drops.