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Hockey players need safety equipment

Jay Hamburger, OF THE RECORD STAFF

Lots of Parkites have closets full of ski and snowboard gear but not that many contain hockey sticks or facemasks.

But when the new ice arena opens at Quinn’s Junction later this month, people who want to play hockey won’t be allowed to unless they have the proper safety gear.

Hockey is expected to be one of the most popular sports at the ice rink but Park City, which built the facility with the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District, is insisting that hockey players have the right protective gear.

"Would you walk out on a sidewalk and throw yourself on the ground," says Jim Dingle, Park City’s hockey director, describing what it feels like to fall during a game, adding, "People get hurt simply falling."

But, not to discourage people considering playing hockey, he said that statistics show that more people are injured playing football, soccer and men’s softball than they are playing hockey.

Hockey players, he said, roll and slide when they fall, different than athletes in other sports.

Still, the staffers at the ice rink will require hockey players to wear protective gear. According to the rules at the ice rink, hockey players need to wear shin guards, elbow pads, gloves, a protective cup and a helmet. People who are under 18 years old must have a helmet with a mask.

The staffers highly recommend hockey players wear a mouth guard, shoulder pads and hockey pants.

"It’s safety equipment for personal protection," Dingle said.

He said if someone buys the required equipment new, it could cost between $200 and $300. The ice rink will have a limited supply of rentals, he said. For $50, someone can rent shin guards, elbow pads, gloves and a helmet for the season.

Dingle compared the price tags to those of ski equipment, which is generally more expensive than the hockey gear.

"Think about what people spend on ski boots, skis," he said.

Dingle said there is a limited selection of hockey gear in Park City. He said Gart Sports has the best inventory.

Tony Chesrow, a manager at Gart, said the store’s hockey and figure-skating inventory is small but that the store wants to double the amount of gear by next winter.

He said the store has hockey skates, hockey sticks and a few helmets. He said the store this week did not stock hockey padding.

At Replay Sports, a consignment store, owner Richard Mercer said there is "not much" hockey gear but the store stocks some skates. He said this week there were no hockey sticks and no pads. He plans to stock the equipment this winter, though.

Dingle anticipates that four teams will compete in an adult hockey league starting on Feb. 28. He said seven women have registered for a clinic to learn to play the sport.

The ice rink is scheduled to open the weekend of Feb. 24.

People interested in hockey programs or other information about the ice rink may visit the rink site on the World Wide Web, http://www.pcice.org.


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