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Monday, December 19, 2011

Our Gift to You! Free Upgrade to 3 Day Air Shipping

Happy Holidays From Hockey Giant

Don't miss out on your opportunity to take advantage of a free upgrade to 3 day air shipping at! If you've fallen behind on your Christmas shopping, we want to make sure you still have an opportunity to get your gift list taken care of before time runs out. This promotion will only be available until tomorrow, 12/20/2011 at 12:00 PST (3:00 EST). After that time, we will no longer be able to guarantee delivery by Christmas day. The offer also excludes Wheeled Hockey Bags and Hockey Goals. Just choose 3 Day Air Shipping at the checkout page and you'll recieve 3 Day Air shipping at the low ground rate of $14.99.

Make sure to check out the new Bauer Vapor X 7.0 LE Hockey Skates and Bauer Vapor X 3.0 LE Hockey Skates. The Vapor LE skates have the same specs and features as the stock Vapor 7.0 & 3.0 models, but the quarters have been repackaged with a slick, one-of-a-kind black and white design. There are limited quantities available, so grab a pair while they last!

      Bauer Vapor X 7.0 LE Hockey Skates              Bauer Vapor X 3.0 LE Hockey Skates

Shop for Hockey Holiday Gifts at today!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hockey Holiday Countdown: Today's Hockey Gift Idea

Vintage Hockey Jerseys - Hockey Holiday Gift Idea

Some names will never be forgotten... Names like Gretzky, Lemieux and Hull. Give the hockey player in your life a vintage hockey jersey with a legendary player's name and number embroidered on a jersey from the player's most memorable years.

For 10% off, use coupon code:


  • 100% polyester airknit
  • Exclusive NHL® Heroes of Hockey® Jersey features your favorite players in the team jersey they wore during their celebrated era
  • Customized jock tag features player name & notable years worn
  • Front team crest & shoulder patches, when applicable, in embroided twill applique
  • Sleeve & back numbering, as well as special event patches, when applicable, also embroidered in twill applique
  • CCM embroidered patch on back hem
  • CCM/NHL Heroes of Hockey® neck label & hang tag

  • See all of our Hockey Gift Ideas at today!

    Wednesday, December 14, 2011

    Hockey Holiday Countdown: Today's Hockey Gift Idea

    Mini Hockey Stick Set - Hockey Holiday Gift Idea

  • Steel Hockey Goal Dimensions 32" x 21" x 12"
  • Plastic Feet to Prevent Scratching
  • 2 Plastic Mini Sticks
  • 1 Soft Foam 2" Mini Ball
  • Nylon Shooter Tutor Included
  • Mini-stick hockey makes the perfect gift for kids and adults alike. Turn your living room, hallway or kitchen into a mini-hockey rink with the USA Hockey Mini Hockey Goal, Stick and Ball Set. This set includes a steel goal, two sticks, a ball, and it even comes with a shooter tutor so you can practice picking corners. At just $34.99, this mini-stick set is a steal!

    For 10% off, use coupon code:


    See all of our Hockey Gift Ideas at today!

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    Hockey Holiday Countdown: Today's Hockey Gift Idea

    EZ Puck Shooting Board - Hockey Holiday Gift Idea

  • 48" x 96"
  • Skill Pad rolls up for easy storage
  • Pre-positioned holes for stick handling
  • One Timer Puck Passer
  • Great for practice passing and working on hockey onetimers off the ice
  • Set of 6 EZPuck Lite stick handling pylons
  • Used for stick handling on the XL Skill Pad
  • Do you know any hockey players who need a little help with their shooting accuracy? The answer is probably "yes". With the EZ Puck Off Ice Shooting Board Combo you'll be able to practice puckhandling and shooting on a surface that feels just like the ice. The EZ Puck Off Ice Shooting Board Combo Ultimate includes the One Timer Puck Passer, which is a great tool for practicing your one-timers and short passes.

    For 10% off, use coupon code:


    Get your EZ Puck Shooting Board at today!

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    Hockey Holiday Countdown: Today's Hockey Gift Idea

    Pro Guard Hockey Goal Shooting Trainer - Hockey Holiday Gift Idea

    Do you know any hockey players who need a little help with their shooting accuracy? The answer is probably "yes". With the Pro Guard Hockey Goal Shooting Trainer, improving shot accuracy couldn't be any easier. Just use the bungee straps to secure the shooting trainer onto the goal posts and then fire away. The shooting trainer is made of highly durable 600D Cortina fabric, so it can handle even the hardest shots. Help the hockey player in your life take his game to the next level with the Hockey Goal Shooting Trainer by Pro Guard.

    For 10% off, use coupon code:


  • Heavy duty 600 denier cortina fabric
  • Can be used to train players to place their shots in the corners or the 5-hole
  • Complete with bungee straps for easy attachment to goal net
  • Fits standard 4' X 6' goal
  • Can roll up for easy storage
  • Heavy pipe on bottom holds fabric in place against the hardest shots
  • Intended for use with Pro Guard 8900 and Pro Guard 9900 goals; can be used with any 4' x 6' goal (goal not included)

  • Check out all of our Holiday Gift Ideas at today!

    Monday, December 5, 2011

    Hockey Holiday Countdown: Today's Hockey Gift Idea

    Stiga Table Top Hockey - Hockey Gift Idea

    Here's a great gift idea for hockey fans of all ages: the Stiga Table Top Hockey Game. Playing video games is great, and being on the ice is even better, but Stiga Table Top Hockey will actually bring you together with friends and family for a fun, competitive game without the distracting rattle and hum of the boob tube.

  • All players are three-dimensional and wear the strips of the major teams Toronto and Detroit.
  • The game has been given added strength in that the talent scouts have also succeeded in recruiting two right-grip marksmen. Together with a left forward who can get back behind the opponents' goal in the Gretzky position and a centre forward who goes back into his own zone to build up the attack, there are all the prerequisites for taking your playing standard to new heights.
  • Puck ejectors, plexiglass shields on the short sides and goal counters go without saying in Stanley Cup.
  • Now you yourself can arrange the Stanley Cup Finals at home!
  • 37 x 19.8 x 3.2 inches

  • Get your Stiga Table Top Hockey Game at today!

    Monday, November 28, 2011

    Hockey Holiday Countdown: Today's Hockey Gift Ideas

    Hockey Holiday Gift Ideas

    The season of giving is upon us. For hockey players, fans and parents, this is one of the most exciting times of the year. Rinks are buzzing with holiday tournaments and teams are beginning to reach mid-season form. It just feels like hockey season.

    Spread the cheer of the season with a special gift for for that special hockey player or fan in your life. At Hockey Giant, we'll help you find the perfect gift to put under the tree or stuff into a stocking. Here are our picks of the day:

    • For the bookworm:
      Check out Playing With Fire, a gripping autobiography by Theo Fleury. Sometimes we forget that the players we idolize are human, just like us.
    • For the fan:
      Help a hockey fanatic support his favorite NHL team with some fresh threads. We have great deals right now on NHL jerseys, shirts, hats and other apparel from Reebok, CCM, and others.
    • For the train-aholic:
      Some players never take a day off. The EZ Puck system is the best new shooting and puckhandling tool on the market. Off-ice training has never been so easy.

    Monday, November 7, 2011

    Easton Stealth RS Stick Review

    Easton Stealth RS Hockey Stick - Review

    First things first... the Easton Stealth RS Hockey Stick has received a LOT of hype over the last several months. Every review I've read and every player I've spoken with seems to share the same feelings about Easton's newest creation; they all love it. Of course, this was the cue for the critic in me to begin asking questions. Entertaining my curiosity, Easton was so kind to let me give it a try. Here's my review of the Easton Stealth RS Stick.

    Stick specs:

  • 85 Flex (cut down 2")
  • Matte Finish (Non-Grip)
  • P4 Cammalleri (*P4 Zetterberg is now P4 Cammalleri)
  • Left

  • Style Points

    This stick is a beauty. Looks, obviously, don't affect performance (unless you make some kind of psychological case for it - "Look good, feel good, play well", or something like that). Nevertheless, the slick matte finish with yellow on black is legit. I was much more impressed with the look of the non-grip design than the grip. It seems like the graphics were created specifically for the non-grip model, and then replicated for the production of the grip model without taking into account how the shiny grip finish would detract from the original design. Anyhow, that's just my personal opinion, take it or leave it.


    I grew up using wood sticks, which, arguably, provide the best feel for the puck. So when it comes to puck feel, that's the standard I use. Like I said before, I went with the non-grip model because I've found that most grip finishes tend to be more cumbersome than helpful. Personal preference. It took me about 20 minutes to get used to the slick finish of the RS, though. It was almost too slick. But, once I got used to it, puckhandling was the least of my concerns. The blade on the RS is very stiff, which ensures full power on your shot release, but there's a little bit of a trade-off because it's less forgiving when you're receiving passes. I really don't have any complaints about the feel, I just think it has other qualities that are much more appetizing. But, if you're all about feel, check out this review of the Easton Synergy EQ50 Hockey Stick.


    More than any other aspect of the stick's performance, I was really impressed by the shot power generated by the Stealth RS. I cut the stick down a couple of inches for puckhandling purposes. If I had left it at full length, I'm sure it would have been much easier to take a solid wrister. As a result, I wasn't able to get as much whip out of the shaft, but that's certainly not a knock on the stick. The snap and slap shots were a completely different story. This is where the stiff blade and elliptical taper come into play. I fired the first snap shot from the middle of the blade, with good results. I let the second one go from the toe of the blade - ridiculous. Might as well have been a slapper. That was next, though, and in addition to the fact that the shot went bar down (who doesn't get pumped when they go bar down?), it was a ripper. For anyone who tried an S17 (S19 was an undeniable improvement) and had issues with durability or trouble controlling their slap shot, the RS will quickly erase those memories. The load and release time is noticeably faster than any other tapered shaft I've used recently, with no loss of control. I noticed that bottom-hand placement is pretty important for slap and snap shots with this stick. When you try it for yourself, mess around with it and you'll see what I mean. I ended up placing my bottom hand just a bit lower than I typically do.


    All in all, I can honestly say that the Easton Stealth RS Stick performed as well as I hoped it would. It's definitely a shooter's stick. No, your shot speed won't magically jump up from 70 to 90 mph if you buy one today. 70 to 80? Possibly... My shot certainly looked and felt faster, but I didn't clock it, so I can't really validate that. In my opinion, playmakers would probably be better off with the Easton Synergy EQ50 Hockey Stick. The EQ50 is made for players who want more feel and control on their shots and passes, as opposed to the lightning quick release and power of the RS. Either way you go, you'll be sure to have great results. One thing is for certain: Easton is continuing to lead the charge, making advancements in hockey stick technology, just like they always have.

    Get your Easton Stealth RS Hockey Stick at today

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    Reebok 11K Pump Hockey Skate Review

    Reebok 11K Pump Hockey Skates at Hockey Giant

    This weekend I had the pleasure of trying out the Reebok 11K Black Ice Hockey Skates. The 11K's were the first pair of Reebok skates that I've ever used, mostly because my feet are so oddly shaped that I'm hesitant to wear anything other than my Graf 727 Cyberflex skates. I have fairly wide, flat feet, and my medial malleolus (the bone that protrudes from your inner ankle) not only sticks out more than normal, it also sits much further forward and often completely misses the padding in the ankle of the boot, resting near the edge of the boot eyelets. So, I often have a hard time finding a boot that works as well for my feet as the Graf 727's.

    Anyhow, I had heard only good things about the quality and performance of the Reebok 11K skates, so I was pretty "pumped" (see what I did there? awful joke...) when I was given a pair to try out. When I picked them up out of the box they were lighter than I expected, and the graphics were flashy but not overdone. I had the skates baked and sharpened (1", for those who care) on Friday, and they molded very well. Oh, quick note here, make sure you release all of the air out of the pumps before you bake the skates. On Saturday, I sat on my couch and laced them up to see if the padding was still as comfortable as the day before when I baked them. They fit like a glove, or... yeah. The padding was a little bit more rigid than before I baked the skates, but it felt great and the shape achieved by molding was maintained.

    On Sunday afternoon I had a game, which isn't usually my favorite time to pull out a pair of brand new skates, but it's been a bit of a challenge finding time to skate lately. The first thing I noticed when I stepped through the gate onto the ice was the forward pitch. Like I said, I've been using Graf 727's with TUUK Custom+ holders for the last 5 years, so I'm used to a pretty neutral stance. In the 11K's, I was definitely on my toes, but it wasn't quite as extreme as the forward pitch I experienced with the Cobra holders that were originally on the Grafs. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being a neutral pitch and 10 being the most aggressive forward stance, I'd say the 11K's were around 7.5 or 8. As the game went on, I was able to adjust to it and didn't really notice it anymore by the time the 3rd period rolled around.

    Reebok 11K - The Pump

    I remember talking to some buddies about their own experience with Reebok pump skates a while back, and they mentioned that the pump seemed to lose most of its air after a period or so. I should clarify by saying that their experience was with the 9K from 2009. Anyhow, I pumped up the boots in the locker room and they seemed to stay pumped all game for me. No issues there. The pump is a really nice feature, and for someone like me who has flintstone feet, it adds another degree of comfort in the ankles.

    Reebok 11K - Skatelock

    The lace-lock or "Skatelock", as they call it, does its job well, but I could live without it because you have to unclasp it when you're done skating anyway, and it can be a little cumbersome at first. Nothing complicated, but it takes a couple extra seconds to operate and I might just as well do without it. I can see how most players would appreciate it, though. I was impressed by the way the boots wrapped my feet and provided a very secure yet comfortable fit. The Skatelock played its part in that, so I can't knock it.

    Support and response (and weight, of course) are always the most important performance characteristics of a hockey skate. In terms of support, I found no fault in the 11K's. I was really pleased with the amount of confidence I felt in the skates as I took turns at top speed. Every turn, stop and push-off was met with the right blend of rigidity and flexibility in the key areas. The response of the boots was good, too, and there didn't seem to be much energy lost when I pushed off to accelerate or stopped to change directions.

    By the end of my game, my arches and thighs were a little sore. I don't fault the skates for this at all. I have flat, wide feet, and I was using a D width boot. The arches in the 11K's are relatively high compared to other skates I've recently tried on, but I'm sure they're right on par for most skaters. Also, the forward pitch of the boots put me more on my toes than I'm used to. This probably changed my posture a little bit and shifted the workload to a different part of my thigh muscles as I skated. I'm sure after a couple more skates my legs will readjust to the aggressive stance and the strain will subside.

    All in all, I was really impressed by the look, fit and performance of the Reebok 11K Skates. When it comes to fit, the nice thing about these skates is that you have more stock fit options than I think I've ever seen with another skate on the market. The 11K skate is offered in D, D/AA, E, and EE. As most of you know, D is a standard fit, E is wide and EE is extra wide. D/AA is a good fit for players who want a standard D width boot, but prefer a narrower heel fit. With all of those options available, pretty much every foot type can be accommodated. I probably would have been better off with an E width boot, but the D width offered a manageable fit for me.

    I would absolutely recommend the Reebok 11K Skates. They're light, supportive, comfortable, attractive and very well priced, especially when you consider the amount being charged for the top models being produced by some of the other manufacturers.

    Get your pair of Reebok 11K Hockey Skates at today!

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    New Easton Hockey Stick Patterns

    Just as players occasionaly go from league to league (i.e. Jaromir Jagr just returned to the NHL after a 3 year stint in the KHL), sometimes they also go from one hockey manufacturer to another (i.e. Ovechkin leaving CCM to join Bauer). It can be confusing to keep up with at times, and we won't even bother discussing the contractual reasons involved. Instead, let's just assume that NHL players are just like you and me when it comes to gear; sometimes you feel like trying out a different brand of skates, sticks or gloves. Anyhow, the point is, when a player-manufacturer relationship changes, it really doesn't affect the average hockey player/consumer, until they go looking for their favorite blade pattern and they can't seem to find it anymore... In fact, maybe ALL of the names they once recognized have been replaced with a whole new batch of European and Russian names they've never heard before.

    I can remember standing in the stick aisle at Johnny Mac's Sporting Goods in St. Louis, trying to decide between an Easton P3 Sakic curve, Nike Fedorov curve, and Bauer P88 Lindros curve. That was a while ago, but you get the point... Times change, and the names get updated. The P3 Sakic is now the P3 Hall, the P88 Lindros became the P88 Kane, and Nike doesn't even make hockey equipment anymore. The good news is that Nike doesn't make hockey equipment anymore. Oh, and the other good news is that we're here to make sure you're up to speed on the newest blade patterns and names.

    Easton recently changed a few of their blade pattern names, threw in some new ones, and even brought back an oldie. Here's the new Easton lineup:

    • P2 – Cammalleri (Previously "Shanahan" - Briefly reintroduced in 2010 [S19 & ST]; discontinued for 2011)
    • P3 – Hall (Previously "Sakic")
    • P4 – Cammalleri (Confusing right..? Previously "Zetterberg", and "Forsberg" before that)
    • P5 – Getzlaf (Previously "Lidstrom")
    • P6 – Parise (Previously "Drury")
    • P7 – Iginla
    • P8 – Roy (Introduced last year)
    • P9 – Heatley
    • P10 – Chara (Discontinued)
    • P33 – Chara (Introduced in 2011)

    Since the P2 Cammalleri is no longer being produced, and Zetterberg left Easton for Warrior, Easton decided to just turn the P4 Zetterberg into the P4 Cammalleri. Also, the P10 Chara was discontinued, most likely because Easton already produces two other 1/2" mid curves (Iginla and Heatley). After pulling the P10, Easton introduced the P33 Chara, which is the deepest curve they offer, at 3/4".

    Hopefully that sheds a little light on the subject and helps you avoid playing the guessing game when you pick out your pattern for the new line of 2011/2012 Easton Sticks.

    Check out the new Easton Stealth RS Stick and Easton Synergy EQ50 Stick at

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    Hockey Equipment Checklist

    September is approaching quickly, and we all know what that means – time to hit the ice. Whether you're a beginner, a hockey mom, or a seasoned vet, it's time to shake the dust off of your gear and take inventory for the season approaching. As you dig through that dirty bag, or (for the new players) the empty space in your garage where your equipment will be, you're probably going to notice that some of your gear needs replacing. Perhaps you've outgrown your skates, you're fresh out of twigs, or you grew some wicked helmet hair over the summer and your old bucket doesn't fit (behold the beauty shot of Jaromir Jagr, mid 90's)... Whatever the case, with the start of a new season, new gear is never a bad idea.

    Jaromir Jagr - Peculiar Hairstyles of Sports Stars

    Below, you'll find a hockey equipment checklist which contains all of the essential protective pieces and some accessories that will enhance your playing experience. The list includes gear for hockey players (out-skaters) and hockey goalies.


    1. Skates – Inline Hockey Skates or Ice Hockey Skates

    2. Stick

    3. Helmet (under-18 leagues require full facial protection as well)

    4. Gloves

    5. Shin Guards

    6. Shoulder Pads

    7. Ice Hockey Pants

    8. Elbow Pads

    9. Jock or Jill


    1. Skates

    2. Goalie Stick

    3. Mask / Helmet

      • Neck/Throat Protector (certain leagues require neck and throat protection for goaltenders – we highly recommend using a neck protector whether your league requires it or not)

    4. Blocker

    5. Catcher

    6. Leg Pads

    7. Chest & Arm Protector

    8. Goalie Pants

    9. Goalie Jock

    In addition to these essential pieces of protective equipment, you will also need a jersey, hockey socks, hockey stick tape, and hockey shin tape in order to be completely equipped for a hockey game. At Hockey Giant, we have a wide variety of jerseys and socks to choose from in all sizes and colors.

    Find great deals on hockey player and goalie equipment at

    Friday, June 17, 2011

    Easton Makes Their Mark in the Stanley Cup Playoffs

    The monstrocity that is Zdeno Chara triumphantly lifted the Cup, becoming the first player to hoist hockey's holy grail and cause onlookers to wonder if, perhaps, he routinely drinks from a cup of that size. Nevertheless, Chara let out a gut-rumbling cry as he raised Lord Stanley to the heavens like it was the Crown of a vested King, fallen at the hands of a giant Medieval Warrior.

    These 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs were intensely physical from the first drop of the puck, and it's safe to say that there were plenty of surprises – even though we're all well aware of hockey's inherently unpredictable nature. That's what often keeps us from jumping ship when our team hits a rough patch, or when a player falls into a slump; there's always hope that things will turn around. I looked around for a single person who predicted that the Bruins would win the Cup when the playoffs started, and I couldn't find anyone. That's our game – You've gotta love it.

    Hockey is constantly evolving, with better training techniques, changes to the rules (some good, some bad), and perpetual improvements made to players' gear. Sticks, arguably, have been changing more rapidly than any other single piece of equipment. Every year, we see dozens of new models hit the market with tweaks and modifications made to give the player a competitive edge. When someone is doing it right, you can't help but notice.

    I recently wrote a review of the Easton Synergy EQ50 Hockey Stick, and if you give it a read you'll pretty quickly figure out how impressed I was with it. I must not have been the only one pleased with the direction that Easton is heading with their new sticks, as well as their protective gear and skates. If you glanced out on the rink at any point during the playoffs, you probably wouldn't have been able to catch a single shift where there wasn't at least one player on the ice with an Easton product.

    Easton gave us some compelling stats from the 2011 NHL Playoffs:

  • Easton #1 in the 2011 NHL Playoffs for players who scored 1 or more points

  • Easton #1 in the 2011 NHL Playoffs for goals

  • Easton #1 in the 2011 NHL Playoffs for assists

  • Easton #1 in the 2011 NHL Playoffs for points

  • Easton's Zdeno Chara led all players with a +14 plus/minus rating

  • Easton's Mike Cammalleri led all first round scorers with 3G, 7A, 10Pts – stick of choice: Easton Stealth RS

  • Easton's David Krejci led all 2011 NHL Playoff scorers in Goals (12), Points (23), and Game Winning Goals (4) – stick of choice: Easton Stealth RS
  • Monday, May 23, 2011

    Keeping Busy During the Off-Season

    When I was younger, and still playing competitive travel hockey, by this time of the year I was pretty much burned out on playing. I'm sure many of you feel the same way; summer was my time to just kick back and put hockey on the backburner for a few months while my mind and body recovered from a long regular season and grueling playoff run. I've found that this is especially true for highschool-aged players, who often play on a travel team in addition to playing for their highschool hockey club. When I was a sophomore at Webster Groves High School in St. Louis, MO, I was swinging from JV to Varsity while I played on a travel team with the Affton Americans. This was pretty common for players in our area, and you might be doing just the same. Eventually, you start to feel like you might as well set up a cot in the zamboni room and live at the rink.

    Every "hockey region" around the U.S. is set up just a little bit differently. As I said, I grew up in the midwest where highschool hockey is very competitive, a close second to AA and AAA hockey leagues. Go up to Minnesota and you'll find that highschool hockey is actually more competitive than most AAA leagues around the nation. On the west coast, highschool ice hockey isn't nearly as competitive because there just simply aren't as many schools in each area with a decent pool of players to choose from; so, travel hockey is usually where the players turn for the best competition. The east coast is more like the midwest but has its own set of nuances.

    In any case, the hockey season can be a bit of a grind for players of any age, and it should be. Our sport demands much from the players, and is better described as a lifestyle, rather than merely a game played for recreation. Your heart has to be in it if you're going to make the most of it, but that doesn't mean you have to spend every waking moment on the pond. Sometimes, the best thing you can do as a hockey player is involve yourself in activities that have very little do with hockey at all. Some guys can skate all day every day and never grow tired of it. But, there's much to be gained by seeking out other outlets; especially if you're like me – prone to burning out after a long season.

    My first recommendation is to find another sport that you enjoy. In my opinion, the best crossover sport for hockey players is lacrosse. There are many similarities between the two, and I found that my shot and my hands both improved after playing just one season of lacrosse – not to mention the endurance boost you'll get from all of the running you do in lacrosse. It's also a physical sport, and fast-paced, so you'll have to keep your head up just like you do on the rink, which should keep you from developing any bad habits.

    Golf is a natural choice for hockey players, and you may be surprised at how quickly your swing develops because of your experience on the rink. Obviously, the nice thing about golf is that you can spend all day outside on a beautiful course with a few buddies, just hacking away, chirping at each other, enjoying the scenery, taking time to relax and unwind. Golf is fairly difficult, so it can be frustrating at times; but, you'll probably enjoy it nonetheless.

    Depending on where you live, a float trip down the river could be a great option. If that's not feasible, grab some camping gear and take a hike with some team mates or friends. If you aren't a big fan of the outdoors, go to an indoor rock climbing facility. Go play lazer tag... It may seem like a childish thing to do, but I guarantee that as soon as you get in there and start playing you'll have a blast. How about paintballing?

    The key is simply to keep yourself involved in physical activities as often as you can. That being said, rest is incredibly important. If you have bumps, bruises, or tears from the season that need to heal, then by all means, rest! But don't get lazy during the off-season. If you mix it up and break the monotony of your daily routine, by the time the season starts back up you'll be hungry to play again. If you're a real hockey player, the ice will always feel like home. Just make sure you take a vacation every once in a while.

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Hockey Skates: Pitch, Hollow and Radius

    Hockey Giant Skate Sharpening Service

    Whenever you take your skates to your local pro shop to have them sharpened, I'm sure the man behind the sharpening stone throws around a few terms that you may or may not be familiar with. If you're a seasoned vet, you probably don't need to read much further. If you're a beginner, or you've simply made a habit of handing over your skates and crossing your fingers as you hope for the best, this article should help you become a bit more familiar with some of the hockey pro shop jargon.

    We're going to discuss the terms pitch, hollow, and radius, as they pertain to runners (blades) on your ice hockey skates. Knowledge is power, and if you have a clear understanding of what these terms mean, you'll be able to communicate more clearly with your local skate sharpener. You have options – so take full advantage, and don't hesitate to make some adjustments here and there until you find what you're looking for.


    Hollow is the depth of the edges given to your runners when they are sharpened. The most common hollows used are (from deepest to shallowest) 3/8”, 7/16”, 1/2”, 9/16” & 5/8”. You may be wondering what these numbers represent. You may also be wondering why the sharper/deeper hollows are represented by smaller numbers. Well, the numbers actually represent the radius of the imaginary circle that would be created if you traced the contour of the hollow in the runner to produce a complete circle.

    The grey area, in the diagram below, represents the runner. The groove in the 9/16" hollow is much shallower than the groove in the 3/8" hollow. This also means that the edges of the 9/16" hollow are not as thin or long as the edges of the 3/8" hollow. Keep in mind that these images were not done to-scale, but should help you visualize the difference between a shallow cut (9/16") and a deep cut (3/8").

    A few things must be considered when choosing the hollow that best suits you.

    1. Your weight – Heavy skaters do not need a deep hollow because their weight allows them to dig into the ice much easier than lighter skaters.

    2. Hardness of the ice – Harder ice requires a deeper hollow in order to allow a player to dig in with the edges of the runners. On the other hand, soft, chippy ice requires a shallow hollow to allow a player to glide on the ice without digging in too deep.

    3. Your skating style – Players who desire greater straightaway speed and easier gliding should use a shallow hollow, while players who desire the ability to make tighter, sharper turns should go with a deeper hollow.


    Pitch is a reference to the profile of the runner on a hockey skate which causes a player’s weight to shift to their toes or mid foot. Forward pitch puts a player on his toes and gives the skater an aggressive stance. Neutral pitch puts a skater on his mid foot for a stable, balanced stance. There's really no benefit to putting a backward pitch on your runners because leaning back on your heels will simply throw you off-balance. The pitch is adjusted by grinding down the runner at an angle so that your weight is shifted (pitched) toward your toes.

      *Be careful with pitch adjustments*... Once you put a substantial pitch on your runners, there's no going back because you obviously can't reverse the grinding process. Your only option at that point is to replace the runners, which isn't the end of the world, but it's another $40-50 bucks that you don't want to have to spend as the result of a poor decision.

    Another thing to understand about pitch is that your holders also play a major factor. For example, Cobra holders (used on Graf skates) have a longer heel post which lifts the heel and puts more of your weight on your toes for an aggressive stance. TUUK holders (used on Bauer skates), on the other hand, have a very neutral pitch, putting most of your weight on the middle of the foot for a neutral stance. If you've decided that you prefer a neutral stance, you're better off buying TUUK holders than grinding down the runners to off-set the natural pitch of another brand of holders. And if you prefer an aggressive stance, your best choice is to go with a pair of Cobra holders. This is the better way to address the issue of pitch, because if you happen to break a runner which you spent the time and money to have pitched (*tip: runners break more often than holders), you have to replace it and have it profiled again to match the runner on your other skate... Whereas if you simply chose a pair of holders with the pitch that suits your needs, you wouldn't have to deal with the hassle of readjusting the runner pitch.


    Radius is the measurement of your skate runner’s profile as it relates to the size and shape of a circle. The visual aid above, which was used to show the imaginary circle created by the hollow of a runner, should help you understand how the radius is measured also. But in the case of runner radius, just imagine that you're looking at your runner from the side, and that the imaginary circle follows the contour of the blade's bottom edge. A runner with a 13’ radius is fairly flat and a large portion of the runner is touching the ice surface – so when you trace the profile of the blade and continue the imaginary line out to create an imaginary complete circle, the radius of that circle is 13'. A runner with a 9’ radius is noticeably more curved from tip to tip than a runner with a 13’ radius, and you can see that less of the runner's bottom edge is touching the ice surface when it's resting flat on the ice.

    When you have your runners profiled, you're giving them a different "rocker". Visualize the curved feet of a rocking chair; you can find rocking chairs with varying foot curvatures, and this difference affects how much of the undersides of the feet are actually touching the ground beneath at any given point. When you look at the different rocker options that are available, you observe the same effect. More curvature (i.e. 9' Radius) = Less blade touching the ice.

    Here’s basically how the pros and cons boil down…

    1. 13’ radius – offers greater surface area contact, which increases straightaway speed, acceleration and balance at the cost of tight cornering and smooth transitions

    2. 11’ radius – offers a good, well balanced blend of speed and agility

    3. 9’ radius – offers great agility, tight cornering and smooth transitions at the cost of straightaway speed and acceleration

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

    Cycling the Puck in Hockey

    You have probably heard the term "cycling" before. Cycling is an important concept to understand, especially if you are a forward. Cycling is a strategy used in the offensive zone to maintain your team's control of the puck. In order to cycle effectively, your players must keep their feet moving and their heads on a swivel. In a nutshell, cycling is performed by controlling and moving the puck, usually along the boards deep in the zone, as you and your linemates rotate in and out of the corner, slot, and top of the circle while the defenders give chase. The goal is to protect the puck and keep it moving so that the defenders are forced to chase you and your linemates. Eventually, the defenders will tire out or one of your players will open up for a pass in a shooting lane.

    There are a few things to keep in mind that will help you cycle the puck effectively:

    • Keep Your Head Up – You should always have your head up in every situation, but it's crucial when you're cycling. Keeping track of your linemates and the opposing team's defenders is the best way to anticipate plays before they develop. Keeping your head up will also allow you to protect yourself when your opponents try to line you up for a check.

    • Move Your Feet – It won't do you any good to stand in one place and pass the puck back and forth with your linemates. A sitting target is easy for any player to defend against, but a moving target is always an offensive threat. Have you ever noticed that it's much more tiring when you're stuck on a long defensive shift than it is when you're out on a long offensive shift? Use it to your advantage by making the other team skate hard to keep up and you'll find yourself with some great scoring chances.

    • Communicate – One of the best ways to keep your awareness up is to communicate with your linemates. Let them know when a defender is on their tail or when they should brace for a hit. Call for drop passes, let them know if the puck is in their skates, and give them a heads up when you're heading to the slot for a quick shot. Sometimes it's best not to call out every move you're going to make so that you can keep the defenders guessing, but use your best judgment and communicate whenever it's beneficial.

    • Use Good Body Positioning – Good body positioning is the key to puck-protection. You should use your legs and arms to ward off defenders and keep your body between them and the puck. Protecting the puck does not require you to do a bunch of fancy stick-work in order to maintain control. It comes down to keeping yourself and the puck in a position where you have the upper hand as you maneuver.

    Remember that you shouldn't cycle just to cycle – do it with purpose. The point of cycling is to create scoring opportunities by maintaining possession of the puck with good puck-protection, quick feet, and great communication. As soon as the defenders make a mistake, and you or one of your linemates gets into scoring position, make the most of the opportunity and get the puck to the net.

    Thursday, March 17, 2011

    Inline Hockey Wheels, Bearings, Axles & Spacers

    At Hockey Giant, we get a fair amount of calls from customers who have questions as they're looking for wheels, bearings, axles, and spacers. There seems to be a bit of confusion when it comes to matching up the various parts. We'll attempt to shed some light on the subject by identifying each of the individual parts and the variations that you'll come across as you look at different skates and chassis models.

    The core (aka "hub") of the wheel is the center, plastic part into which the bearings are inserted. There are two different core sizes available: 688 micro-bearing core wheels (pictured on left below) and 608 standard bearing wheels (pictured on right below). As you can see, the hole in the middle of each wheel is a different size, therefore they require bearings of different sizes. There are essentialy 4 different types of spacers: Standard 608, Micro 688, Floating Standard 608, and Floating Micro 688. They are labeled in the image below. There are 3 different axles pictured below as well: 6mm Axle and Screw, 8mm Axle and Screw, 8mm Axle Bolt.


    The tree diagram below starts with the wheel type (608 Standard or 688 Micro) and then identifies which spacers and bearings will be needed based on your axle type. Most axles, whether 6mm or 8mm, have a female end into which the male screw is inserted, although some axles (usually just 8mm) have threads on the end of the bolt which screw directly into the chassis threads. In any case, the mm size of the axle and the wheel core type determines which type of spacers will be needed in order to properly mount the wheels to your chassis.

    Most inline hockey skates are assembled with standard bearing wheels on the chassis, but there are of course some skates that are assembled with micro-bearing wheels. Since micro-bearing core wheels are currently being phased out you might consider making the switch to standard bearing wheels, such as the Labeda Addiction XXX Inline Wheels or Rink Rat Hornet Split Inline Wheels just for the sake of future availability and compatibility.

    Get your Inline Hockey Wheels, Bearings, Spacers, and Axles today at

    Wednesday, March 16, 2011

    Benefits of Wearing Hockey Performance Apparel

    Performance apparel is becoming much more popular among players of all ages and skill levels. Performance apparel is offered in two fits: compression and loose. Fit is a matter of preference, but in order to reap the true performance benefits of under apparel, the compression fit is the way to go. When you wear compression shorts/pants, shirts and socks, bloodflow is increased and your muscles recover more quickly. Most performance apparel is also hydrophobic, which means it will keep you cool and wick away sweat.

    There's a difference between constriction and a healthy amount of muscle compression. If your compression apparel is too tight, your bloodflow will decrease and your muscles will grow weak more quickly because they will not receive enough oxygen to recover as you play/practice. Compression apparel should fit tightly and comfortably. So make sure that if you decide to wear compression shorts, pants, shirts, or socks, you get the proper size. Otherwise, you might as well just not wear it at all.

    Loose-fitting performance apparel is moisture-wicking, breathable and comfortable, but it does not provide the benefits of muscle compression. It's a great choice for players who simply prefer this type of fit over the compression fit. Players have been wearing regular t-shirts and boxer briefs under their gear for years, so it's not like you'll be at a severe disadvantage if you choose to go this route, but you might want to try the compression fit before dismissing it because there are certainly a few benefits to wearing it.

    Every manufacturer has been increasing the number of performance apparel options that they provide each year. Whether you prefer to wear Bauer, Reebok, Easton, Shock Doctor, or Under Armour, is totally up to you. But it's nice to know that you have options. Each of these manufacturers have performance apparel shirts, shorts, pants, and socks, as well as shorts and pants with integrated jocks and Velcro sock tabs. The all-in-one jock shorts and pants are very convenient and give you one or two fewer things to forget each time you pack your bag to head to the rink.

    Like any other piece of equipment, hockey performance apparel gets pretty smelly if you don't wash it. Make sure you take a look at the tags to find the appropriate cleaning method. Most hockey performance apparel can be tossed into the washing machine, but make sure you take out your cup first, and like I said before, check the tags.

    Shop for Bauer Hockey Performance Apparel Today at

    Friday, March 4, 2011

    Hockey Shaft & Blade Combos

    These days, most hockey players are opting to use OPS sticks rather than two-piece blade and shaft combos. Some say it's because of the weight difference; others say it's because they feel like the low-kick flex point is more consistent. I grew up using wood sticks and eventually made the change to two piece shaft and blade combos. That was back in the days of the original Easton Ultra Lite shaft – a breakthrough in its own right for that time.

    For years, I've been using shafts and blades and I've always been pleased. For some reason I decided to switch back to wood sticks for a while, which was fine, but I had trouble finding one that held up as well as the old Bauer Supreme 3030 sticks I used to play with. At that point I decided to try out a few OPS's. I wasn't disappointed with the performance of the sticks, but when I started breaking blades, I thought, "If this was a shaft/blade combo, I wouldn't be out $200 right now."

    I don't have anything against one piece sticks, but I'd like to offer a few reasons to consider using a shaft/blade combo instead. Everyone has their own set of preferences when it comes to sticks, so what works for you may not be the best fit for the next guy.

    Upsides to Using a Shaft/Blade Combo

    1. The most obvious upside to using a shaft/blade combo is that when you break a blade, that's all you have to replace. It's much cheaper to replace a $30-$40 blade than to replace a $200 stick.

    2. Cross-brand options – When you buy a Bauer OPS, you get Bauer blade patterns. When you buy an Easton OPS, you get Easton blade patterns. When you buy a shaft and blade separately, you have the option of mixing and matching the blade and shaft that work best for you. Maybe you like the TotalOne Shaft from Bauer, but you want to use a Synergy ST Blade from Easton... Not a problem.

    3. Durability – This may have just been my own experience, but I've noticed a serious difference in durability between Shaft/Blade combos and OPS's. Not all OPS sticks, but many of the ones I've used have broken in a relatively short amount of time – much less time than the Shafts and Blades I've used. I don't have any science to back this up, but it might be the difference in torque distribution that causes a one piece stick to snap more easily than a shaft. Perhaps the material overlap of a shaft/blade combo acts as a form of reinforcement?

    In any case, shafts and blades may not be the current trend, but there's certainly an argument to be made for them. There are plenty of reasons to give it a shot. Just keep in mind that shafts and blades come in "tapered" (.520") and "non-tapered" (standard .620"). You must only match tapered blades with tapered shafts and non-tapered blades with non-tapered shafts.

    Get your Hockey Shafts & Blades at

    Wednesday, February 23, 2011

    Easton Synergy EQ50 Hockey Stick Review

    I recently had the opportunity to try out the Easton Synergy EQ50 Stick. I went with the Zetterberg 85 Flex Left. Of course, when I pulled it out of the packaging the first thing I noticed was the slick design of the graphics. I'm partial to black and red, so right off the bat this was one of the better looking sticks I've seen in quite a while. Simple, clean and classic – no need for fancy schmancy fluff.

    When I leaned on it to test the flex I was actually surprised by the stiffness of the lower half of the shaft. The other two sticks in my rotation are the Bauer Vapor X:60 and Reebok 11K, so with those two sticks as a reference point I wasn't sure how the EQ50 was going to feel once I actually got out on the rink with it. About a year ago I had an Easton Synergy SE16, but the EQ50 had a different feel; mostly, as I noted, the stiffness of the lower part of the shaft. Anyhow, at this point I had only given it a good flex in my garage, so this was just my first impression.

    Warmups started for my game last night and I spent the first few minutes just screwing around with a puck to get a feel for the stick. In all honesty, I've never picked up a stick that felt as natural as the EQ50 right from the get-go. The puck-feel is incredible. I made a few passes back and forth with one of my team mates and the puck stopped dead on my blade every time. So far so good.

    After passing the puck around a bit, I took a wrister from the top of the circle and the release couldn't have been smoother. As I said before, when I first received the stick I gave it a good bend and was surprised by the stiffness of the lower half, and that made me wonder how well the wristers would release. But, once again, I was impressed with the quick, accurate release that it gave me. After that I took a couple snappers and a few slap shots with equally satisfying results.

    Easton's Focus Weight Technology is implemented in the blade heel and butt end cap by the use of strategically placed weights – I could really feel the difference as I handled the puck, but it also keeps the stick from feeling blade-heavy when you shoot, which makes it incredibly simple to dial in with every type of shot. In some ways it resembled the feel of the SE16, but the FWT has been massively refined with the production of the EQ50.

    Another concern I had before trying it out was the relative blade stiffness. With a stiff lower shaft, a floppy blade would cause a serious decline in performance quality. We all know what it's like to biff a shot because our blade can't handle the torque of a slap shot. The EQ50 did not disappoint; the blade was rigid and very responsive, which makes a huge difference when you're taking one-timers.

    I honestly tried my hardest to find a flaw, any flaw, in the Easton Synergy EQ50, but I failed. Without a doubt, the EQ50 is the most well-balanced stick I've ever used – Power, Feel, Control.

    Get your Easton Synergy EQ50 Hockey Stick at

    Tuesday, February 8, 2011

    EZ Puck Training Tools Will Elevate Your Game

    Are you looking for a breakthrough training tool to improve your puckhandling skills? EZPuck is the tool for you. EZPuck is easy to set up, easy to use, and incredibly effective on and off the ice. The EZPuck Hockey Puck Set comes with 6 discs (pucks) that serve as an incredible alternative to the standard orange cones you're used to using. All you do is place the EZPucks on the ice or shooting board in the desired formation and then you're ready to go. There are three pointed pegs on the underside of the EZPucks which keep them from sliding as you maneuver a puck or ball around them with your hockey stick. Practicing moves has never been so easy!

    EZPuck also makes several complementary training tools that further enhance your training experience. They produce shooting boards in 4 different sizes (small, medium, large and x-large) with the option of pre-drilled holes which you place the EZPucks on in order to keep them from sliding. In addition, you can purchase the OneTimer Hockey Shooting Trainer which is a great tool for practicing passes and one-timer shots.

    The manufacturers of EZPuck produced numerous instructional videos and drill diagrams that will help you get the most out of your training with EZPuck. Click on the following link to view some of the EZPuck drills. All of the EZPuck instructional videos are available on YouTube, including the two that we've embedded below. Elevate your game with EZPuck today!

    Get your EZPuck training tools at

    Thursday, February 3, 2011

    Bauer - #1 Brand at 2011 NHL All-Star Game

    At the 2011 NHL All-Star Game, more players used Bauer gear than any other brand. They reported some staggering numbers to us regarding the number of players who were using their skates, sticks, helmets, visors, gloves, and pants. Bauer topped the list in each of these equipment categories, and in some cases they did so with a sizable margin. In the image below, you can see the stats that Bauer reported following the 2011 NHL All-Star Game.

    Get your Bauer hockey gear at

    Wednesday, February 2, 2011

    Easton Hockey Sticks - Defenseman's Choice

    After an exciting all-star weekend in North Carolina, Easton shared some interesting stats with us. Easton sticks seem to be the most popular choice among star defensemen in the NHL. If you were watching the skills competition, you saw the blistering 105.9 mph shot taken by Zdeno Chara in the hardest shot competition. Chara's stick of choice: Easton Synergy EQ50.

    Here's a look at some of the numbers:

    • Top 3 Defensemen picked at the All Star Fantasy Draft:

      • Duncan Keith - 4th pick overall: Stick of choice Easton
      • Zdeno Chara - 7th pick overall: Stick of choice Easton
      • Shea Weber - 8th pick overall: Stick of choice Easton

    • 18 of 30 NHL teams' leading scoring defensemen choose Easton

    • Nearly 50% of all points scored by the 30 NHL teams' top 2 scoring defensemen are scored with Easton sticks

    • 42 of the NHL's top 100 scorers through the All-Star break use Easton sticks

    Pretty impressive stats! The Synergy EQ50 is the newest top of the line model from Easton and it delivers some serious kick without sacrificing even the slightest bit of feel. Easton offers two additional top models with the Easton Stealth S19 Stick and Easton Synergy ST Stick.

    Get your Easton Hockey Stick at