How hockey gear has changed over the years

Hockey equipment has changed dramatically since the early days of hockey. Read how the tools of the game have evolved throughout history.

Hockey gear history.

Note: This page contains affiliate links. If you decide to purchase after clicking a link, The Rink Live may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

It’s safe to say in this instance, change is a good thing. Hockey went from practically no gear to top of the line safety and performance equipment specifically designed to help people play better and stay safe. You could argue the sport hasn’t changed much, but the equipment from the helmets to the pads has most definitely evolved for the better.

In the early days of hockey, players didn’t wear helmets. As helmets became more common in other sports, such as football and baseball, hockey players began to adopt them as well. The first set of helmets were made from leather. Now helmets are made of a hard plastic-like material with foam padding inside to better protect against head injuries. Today, almost all players wear helmets while playing and it’s mandatory in professional leagues. Additionally, many hockey players choose to wear visors or cages for an extra layer of protection.

In the beginning of the sport, players would just wear shoes with metal spikes on the bottom, making it difficult to move around on the ice. Once players started wearing skates with blades, they were able to move faster with more precise cuts, pivots and movements, adding to the speed and excitement of the game. Today, skates are made from a variety of materials including molded plastic, nylon, leather and steel with ankle support to lessen the risk of injury.

Hockey sticks were originally made from wood which made them very heavy and difficult to control. In the 1950s, players began using sticks made from fiberglass that were much lighter and easier to control. Today, sticks are typically made from carbon fiber or other composite materials . They are designed to be as light and strong as possible for the most player control and durability.


Players used to bundle up to stay warm – not to necessarily protect themselves. This made them susceptible to injuries, such as broken bones and cuts. In the 1920s, players began wearing make-shift pads made from leather. Over time, these pads became more and more advanced, incorporating materials such as plastic, fiberglass and foam. Today, hockey pads come in many shapes and sizes including shin , shoulder , elbow and girdle pads . Hockey pads continue to evolve and improve to protect players from injuries.

The hockey puck has also changed a great deal over the years. Pucks have been made of different variations of material such as wood, rubber and even cow manure! Today, hockey pucks are made from a variety of materials, including rubber, plastic and other synthetic materials to limit the amount of bounce and increase durability.

As you can see, hockey equipment has come a long way over the years. It has evolved to become lighter and more advanced, helping players perform better and stay safer.

For more hockey news, tips and insights, be sure to follow us on Facebook , Twitter and YouTube .

Related Topics: ALL-ACCESS
What to read next
Former Bemidji State director of athletics and St. Cloud State administrator and coach discusses how he fell in love with the sport, his career in athletics, getting more women's games on TV and more on The Rink Live podcast with Jess Myers and Mick Hatten.
Vojtech Hedbavny, a 21-year-old former goalie from Slaný, Czech Republic, asked for a camp in the USA to take part in and USA Hockey got him to be a part of the camp in St. Cloud, Minn.
Auggies, Johnnies will play at 5:45 p.m. Jan. 27 in White Bear Township
Back in his adopted hometown this week, T.J. Oshie discusses his time with the University of North Dakota, playing for the St. Louis Blues, playing in the Olympics and picking hockey over basketball. All this and more with The Rink Live's Jess Myers and Mick Hatten.