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Tips on Fitting Your Hockey Helmet

As a former Athletic Trainer in the National Hockey League, I have seen all types of helmets, good, bad and useless. The purpose of the helmet is to prevent head injuries during hockey games and practices. There is a ton of information on the web regarding which helmet is the most protective or which one will reduce concussions, but in my opinion, the helmet that fits the athletes’ head the best and is in good condition is the one that will be the most protective. You will need to search a little to see what type of helmet fits your needs. For example, a beginning youth player may not need the same helmet as a club player or a beer leaguer may not need the same helmet as a pro. You can check with your local hockey shop to narrow down your decision.

Regardless of age or level of play, a proper fitting helmet with the correct accessories is necessary to protect that melon of yours. Since everyone’s head is a little different (pea head, buffalo head, etc), you will need to try on a few different brands and models to see which one fits best. Follow the tips below to help make sure your hockey helmet fits and protects the way it was meant to.

·        Make sure the helmet fits snug, tighten the helmet typically squeezing the helmet front to back and locking in position

·        Tighten the occipital lock in the back of the helmet if applicable. This will help keep the helmet from riding up in the back and is important in the higher level player

·        Tighten cage straps so that the cage does not move on the helmet and that the chin guard comes up to the chin

·        Make sure the j clips are in place so that the cage cannot be moved once strapped down. This is a must and a USA Hockey rule. Without the clips on the side of the helmet, every time the front of the cage gets hit it will collide with the players’ jaw increasing the risk of concussions and other head and facial injuries.

·        Make sure that the chin strap is snug. A simple rule of thumb is that you should not be able to put more than two fingers between the strap and the chin

·        Once the helmet is secure, you should not be able to move the helmet without moving the head. They should move together.

These are not the only things to make sure your helmet fits properly, but a good start to purchasing the helmet that will keep you safe. As always, use caution and ask for help wherever you buy your helmet. Remember, no helmet is injury proof, but a proper fitted helmet can help reduce injuries. 


Chris Phillips is a certified Athletic Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Specialist and the owner of Compete Sports Performance and Rehab.