The terms youth, junior, intermediate and senior are used to identify 4 distinct, hockey equipment age-group size ranges. These size categories are based on height, weight, waist size and chest size, as well as age and other applicable dimensions. The terms are used for the sake of general age group sizing. Toddler/Tyke sizing is also one of the age groups that you will find listed in apparel and goalie equipment, but it's not quite as common as the others. Generally speaking, here’s how the age group sizes are broken down:
- Toddler/Tyke (2-4 years old)
- Youth (3-8 years old)
- Junior (7-13 years old)
- Intermediate (12-14 years old)
- Senior (14+ years old)
Depending on which piece of equipment you’re dealing with, the terms may have slightly different definitions. For instance, typically, protective gear (elbow pads, shin guards, etc.) is only made in youth, junior and senior sizes. So in this instance, "intermediate" sizes are accounted for by the extension of senior sizes downward and junior sizes upward (i.e. Senior small or x-small & Junior large or x-large). Sticks, on the other hand, are made in youth, junior, intermediate and senior sizes. Goalie equipment, more specifically goalie leg pads and sticks, is produced more frequently in all 5 size ranges due to the extremely precise measurements used for goalie equipment sizing.
Of course, in order to provide a proper and precise fit, each of these age group size ranges are broken down into more specific sizes, whether small through large (etc.), or in the case of sticks, 40 to 110 flex. In order to disambiguate these terms we’ll define each of their applications more clearly.
Hockey Protective Gear
Protective gear is sometimes offered in intermediate sizes, although it is rare because the intermediate size range is narrow enough to be encompassed by senior and junior sizes instead, as previously mentioned. Also, player’s protective gear is not typically offered in toddler/tyke sizes because most children do not start playing hockey until they are at least 3 years old, in which case they can wear youth equipment. Here are the general dimension ranges encompassed by each age-group size. (Senior size range is represented here by the minimum dimensions – i.e. Senior X-Small – on upward.)
|Hockey Equipment Sizing Age Groups|
|Age (yrs)||Height (ft)||Weight (lbs)||Waist (in)||Chest (in)|
|Youth||3 - 8||3'0" - 4'8"||35 - 75||18" - 24"||20" - 28"|
|Junior||7 - 13||4'2" - 5'4"||60 - 120||22" - 30"||25" - 35"|
As you can see, these ranges are relatively broad, so they are broken down into about 3 to 5 specific sizes, such as Junior X-Small through X-Large, or Senior Small through Large, and so on. Sometimes, manufacturers produce more size options for a particular model than they do for another. That being said, it’s very important to look at the sizing chart for each specific model. For instance, one pair of Senior Large ice hockey pants from a model offered in Small, Medium and Large may be a slightly different size than a pair of Senior Large pants from a model offered in X-Small, Small, Medium, Large and X-Large. Basically, as the size range becomes broader or narrower it may affect the measurements of each specific size within the range. Always check the sizing charts when you’re ordering protective gear.
Hockey sticks are usually offered in youth, junior, intermediate and senior sizes. Not only are the sticks different lengths, they also differ in diameter and flexibility. The difference in shaft diameter is slight, but noticeable, and corresponds to the average hand size of the players in each age group. Shaft length increases by about 3-4" as you move up from one age group to the next (i.e. Youth=48" – Junior=52"). Hockey shaft flexibility is measured by the amount of force (in lbs) required in order to flex the shaft 1" in the center.
Here’s a general breakdown of hockey stick shaft flexibility, length and age group sizing:
|Hockey Stick Flex Ratings and Lengths|
|Age Group||Height||Weight||Recommended Shaft Flex||Stick Length|
|Youth (3-8)||3'0"-4'8"||40-80 lbs||40/42 Flex||46-49"|
|Junior (7-13)||4'4"-5'1"||70-110 lbs||50/52 Flex||50-54"|
|Intermediate (11-14)||4'11"-5'4"||95-125 lbs||60 Flex||55-58"|
|Intermediate (12-14)||5'2"-5'8"||100-140 lbs||65/67 (Light Flex)||55-58"|
|Senior (14+)||5'5"-5'10"||125-175 lbs||75/77 (Mid Flex)||57-61"|
|Senior (14+)||5'7"-6'1"||150-200 lbs||85/87 (Regular Flex)||58-62"|
|Senior (14+)||5'10"-6'4"||180-235 lbs||100/102 (Stiff Flex)||60-63"|
|Senior (14+)||6'1+||210+||110/112 (X-Stiff Flex)||60-63"|
Sizing can be a bit confusing when it comes to apparel. The biggest problem is that each manufacturer seems to be operating on a different set of sizing standards. Meaning, CCM Senior Large t-shirts are not exactly the same size as Bauer Senior Large t-shirts. In addition, the terms "boy's", "children's", "youth", and "junior" are often used interchangeably. But sometimes they are used conjunctively, identifying separate and distinct size ranges.
Most commonly, "junior" and "youth" are used interchangeably in apparel sizing, but there are instances where youth sizes are smaller than junior sizes. The same can be said of "boy's" and "children's" sizes. As always, it’s best to refer to the specific sizing charts that pertain to the products you’re ordering, rather than simply hoping for any kind of consistency from one item to the next.