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It is no longer like the days of Bobby Orr when helmets were optional and usually only worn by players who were injured once before and learned their lesson. Today, helmets are a mandatory piece of equipment for beginning skaters and players all the way up to players in the NHL. USA hockey requires the use of HECC approved helmets by all participants in all age classifications. HECC is the Hockey Equipment Certification Council and they are responsible for certifying hockey equipment. Helmets that meet the certification criteria will be clearly marked with the HECC seal. Make sure to look for it. It will have a sticker on it as shown below except it won't say "VOID".
Hockey helmets are an extremely important piece of equipment for all hockey players. Protection is of major concern for the player as is fit and comfort. And don't forget about ease of adjustment as some helmets are not adjustable, some require a tool, and others have tool-free adjustment.
When purchasing a helmet make sure it fits well. Don't be surprised to see good helmets run over $100. There is often the desire of hockey parents to get a couple of seasons out of equipment to contain costs somewhat in this expensive sport. That is a good goal and can usually be accomplished with the purchase of a hockey helmet as long as you purchase an adjustable type. But don't go too crazy trying to save money by getting a helmet that is just too big even adjusted for the smallest size. The helmet is adjusted properly when it is snug and does not move around when the player moves his/her head. If the smallest adjustment gets you this type of fit then you should be able to get at least a couple of seasons out of it.
*** USA Hockey Body Checking Rule Change *** USA Hockey has adopted a new body checking skills development program that changes the body checking age to the Bantam age level (ages 13-14). Below this age, it encourages legal body contact. You can read more about the rule change here.
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