Our experts have some tips on the best items to keep in your hockey bag.

1. Water

Hydration is key to your performance and health. Athletes need to drink before, during and after activity. Along with your water bottle you can bring a sports drink. Sports drinks can be helpful if you are a heavy sweater or if you need some carbs for energy during your skate. The key is to continue drinking small amounts of water or other fluids between shifts. Remember with your equipment on you will sweat even if you’re playing outdoors in the cold.

2. Snacks

Fuel is a must for pre-game or between periods. This can be a protein source, granola bar or even a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Pick small, quick foods that you enjoy. You want something light and simple to eat 15 – 30 minutes before your skate starts, and a light snack option for between periods. Keep your between period snacks small to avoid any bloated or “full feeling” going into the next period.

3. First Aid Supplies

Depending on where you are skating, you may not have access to medical staff or supplies. It is important to prepare supplies such as Band-Aids, gauze, anti-biotic spray and instant ice packs in your bag. You never know what could happen at the rink. If you block a shot, you may need to ice the injury for 15 – 20 minutes every hour. Or if you take a high stick, then you would need some gauze and a bandage. Make sure you clean cuts first then apply anti-biotic ointment before covering. If you take medications regularly be sure to have those ready in case of an emergency, such as an inhaler or epi-pen. Tape can be a handy to have, not only for supporting an injured wrist or ankle but also to tape your stick or socks.

4. Emergency Contact Information

While most leagues require this on enrollment forms, it’s never a bad idea to have a card in your wallet or on a bag tag. Be sure it includes important information such as your name, date of birth, allergies, medications and any chronic medical conditions.