Shop at

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hockey Giant Now Carrying Warrior Hockey Gear

Warrior Hockey Logo

Hockey Giant is pleased to announce that we are now carrying Warrior hockey gear! Over the last few years Warrior has grown exponentially to become one of the most popular hockey brands on the market. Many of our customers are already familiar with Warrior products and have often wondered why we weren't carrying any of their gear. Well, we've been paying close attention to what our customers have been saying, and the time came to open up negotiations between the two companies. Needless to say, Hockey Giant is now a licensed Warrior dealer, and we couldn't be more thrilled. From a customer satisfaction standpoint and business perspective, it's a win-win situation.

Warrior hockey gear has quickly become quite reputable among hockey players of all age groups. With highly customized products made from only the best materials available, incredibly progressive product testing methods and edgy marketing campaigns, Warrior's quick rise to notoriety in the hockey world has been unprecedented. Warrior understands that hockey players will only play with the highest quality gear available, and they've gone to great lengths in order to ensure that every product they manufacture employs the most cutting-edge technology.

Warrior began as a lacrosse company in the early 90's. Their dominant presence in the lacrosse world carried over to the hockey market in 2005 when they acquired Innovative, a very successful hockey stick manufacturer in their own right. Warrior wasted no time and almost immediately had their Dolomite, amongst other sticks, in the hands of NHL players, such as Alexei Kovalev & Kris Draper. In the last few years they've successfully worked with many high profile NHL players including Ilya Kovalchuk, Chris Pronger, Thomas Vanek, Brian Gionta, Anze Kopitar, Mike Modano, and Nicklas Lidstrom.

As their reputation grew, Warrior began manufacturing protective gear for players and goalies as well. Warrior has experienced an undeniable degree of success with every stride they've taken, branching out into each major equipment category, including hockey gloves, shin guards, shoulder pads, elbow pads, pants, catchers, blockers, leg pads, and more. Warrior isn't in the business of "following trends" - they're setting new standards for the hockey equipment market.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Lines, D-Pairs, Shifts, and Line Changes

Lines and D-Pairs

First, let's define a line. In ice hockey, there are forward lines and defensive pairs. A forward line consists of 3 players; centerman, left winger, and right winger. A defensive line/pair consists of one left defenseman and one right defenseman. Most of the time, when a player or coach says "line", he's referring to the forwards. "D-pair" (defensive pair) and "defensive unit" are usually the terms used to refer to a defensive line.

Roster Configurations

A full roster is traditionally composed of 4 forward lines (12 players) and 3 D-pairs (6 players). Depending on the philosophical team strategy of the coaching staff and the players who are available on the roster, you may occasionally come across a team that dresses 7 defensemen and 11 forwards. In fact, the St. Louis Blues have been using the 7-11 design for their last few games, and it’s proven to be quite effective. But, the 12-F 6-D roster is still most commonly employed.


Now that we know what a line is we can talk about shifts. When you’re out on the ice you’re taking a shift. Your shift is basically just your turn to go out on the ice and play. A typical shift is 45 seconds to 1 minute long. Sometimes your shifts will be shorter or longer than average, for various reasons. You may get double-shifted from time to time, which means that you’ll stay on the ice for two consecutive shifts before coming to the bench to rest. This often happens when a team is missing a couple players from the roster, or when a key faceoff needs to be won and the team’s best centerman is already on the ice from his previous shift. These and other similar situations will inevitably arise and you’ll become more familiar with the strategies that are used to address them as they come up.

Unfortunately, sometimes you’ll get short-shifted because the player you’re waiting to sub in for, on the line ahead of you, is taking a longer shift than he ought to. Everyone gets short-shifted from time to time because of penalties, stoppages in play, and player matchups.

Part of being a team player is making a conscious effort to take shifts that are the proper length, as defined by your coach. And no, I'm not appealing to the "feel-good" crowd who places a greater emphasis on sharing, caring and "fairness" than they place on winning as a team. Rather, my point is directed at the players who come off when they feel like it, instead of following the system laid out by the team's coaching staff. Your coach may decide to play one of his defensemen for literally half of the game while he puts another defenseman in only once or twice each period. Usually, the coach has good reasons for doing the things he does. So, if you're the guy riding the pine, don't just sit there and complain - study the players who are getting significant ice time and try to figure out how to make yourself as valuable to your coach as they are.

Line Changes

We’ve covered lines and shifts already, so line changes should be fairly self-explanatory. But for the sake of being thorough, we’ll define line changes and discuss some of the nuances that persist. Line changes occur when the players on the ice come to the bench to be replaced by another line of well-rested players. In most cases, forward lines are assembled before the game and are defined as Line 1, 2, 3 and 4. Usually, defensive pairs are also determined before the game. Youth teams and less competitive adult teams usually run 4 lines all game. As you get older and play on more highly competitive teams, there’s a greater likelihood that your shift frequency will change based on the line that you’ve been assigned to.

Your coach will simply call out your line’s number or your centerman’s last name when your shift is up: "Line 2" or "Stastny line", for instance. You’ll hear terms like "change em up", "full change", "change up front", "change the D", and "on the fly". These are terms that you’ll become familiar with fairly quickly.

  • Change em Up – A line change should be made

  • Full Change – All players on the ice are replaced

  • Change Up Front –The forward line is replaced

  • Change The D – The defensemen are replaced

  • Changing on the Fly – A line change made during the play, rather than during a stoppage of play

Making Good Line Changes

Ice hockey is a team sport, which means that every move you make affects the team. Making good line changes is a crucial aspect of team performance. To give an example, just imagine that your team has possession of the puck in the other team’s defensive zone, and you’ve all been on the ice for a fairly long shift. One of your players turns the puck over to one of the players on the other team and a breakout ensues. At this point, one of your defensemen decides he needs to rest, so he skates to the bench to make a change. This means that you only have 1 defenseman back to defend against the rush, creating a dangerous odd-man situation. This is a bad change. It’s bad enough that you’re tired from the long shift, but now you’re also momentarily shorthanded.

The best time to make a line change is when your team has possession of the puck entering the offensive zone. If you have possession in the neutral zone and you’re near the end of a shift, but you don’t have the energy to make an offensive play, just get to the red line and dump the puck into the other team’s zone and then quickly skate to the bench. Short shifts are always better than long shifts. Staying on the ice for a long shift will wear you down and make you virtually useless anyway, so it’s best to take shorter shifts so that you can avoid getting caught on a long, tiring shift stuck in your defensive zone.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Crossover Sports for Ice Hockey Players

Ice hockey is a very unique sport – especially when it’s compared to the other 3 professional team sports in North America (Baseball; Basketball; Football). Each of these sports have many things in common, but there are many things that set ice hockey apart from the rest.

  1. Hockey is played on an ice surface rather than a field or court

  2. Hockey players wear skates rather than cleats or shoes

  3. Hockey is played with a goaltender to defend the net

  4. Hockey is played with sticks and pucks rather than bats and balls

  5. Player substitutions are often made on the fly

  6. Transitions from offense to defense occur continuously without any stoppage of play

  7. Every whistle and stoppage of play requires a faceoff

  8. When an infraction occurs, the referee assesses a penalty which puts the team of the offending player shorthanded for the duration of the penalty

  9. There are no shot clocks or limitations on possession time

The list goes on, but you get the point. Despite all of these differences, as a hockey player you should recognize that in order to reach your full potential on the ice you should engage yourself in other sports. Playing other sports will help you develop your hand-eye coordination, keep you in shape, strengthen different muscle groups, improve your mental awareness, and you’ll be far less likely to get burned out on hockey. The key is to keep yourself involved in activities that will challenge you and help you grow as an athlete. That could mean swimming, running, golfing, or hunting – just stay active.

One of the best crossover sports for hockey players is lacrosse. Lacrosse is becoming more and more popular every year, and as a hockey player you’ll find that the transition is fairly seamless. Just like hockey, lacrosse is a fast-paced sport that requires quick decisions, great mental awareness, pinpoint passing skills, and the willingness to sacrifice your body in order to make a play. Lacrosse is a very physical sport and most leagues are full contact, so you have to keep your head on a swivel and be able to make plays without missing a stride. Playing lacrosse will help you develop soft hands for hockey, too. Lacrosse sticks are made with a webbed head on the end which is used to cradle the ball. Learning to cradle the ball well will drastically improve your puckhandling skills – so, even if you aren’t playing in a lacrosse league, a lacrosse stick would be a great training tool for any hockey player.

If you keep an open mind about playing other sports in addition to hockey, you’ll be amazed by the growth you experience when you step back onto the ice. The difference between good athletes and great athletes is that great athletes are incredibly versatile and well-rounded.