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Ice Hockey Apparel
Ice hockey apparel has changed significantly since the first days of organized hockey. Once, a jersey and a pair of blades tied to shoes made up an entire uniform, and now, a player isn’t complete without a helmet, skates, gloves, a jersey and full padding.
Before artificial ice and fine-crafted skates, ice hockey was slower, and uniforms focused more on simply staying warm versus staying protected. As the sport evolved and equipment underwent invention, skating and puck speeds increased, coincidentally increasing player injuries. Early protective gear included leather and felt pads, sometimes sewn directly into uniforms, as well as borrowed pads from the sport of cricket.
By the 1940s, leather and felt pads were being replaced with fiberglass, and by 1958, the NHL Rules Committee enacted equipment requirements across the league. Helmets became mandatory in 1979, although they had been experimented with since the 1930s. As for equipment, the ice hockey stick has traditionally been all wood, but in recent years, aluminum, titanium, and kevlar have been used as core materials.
Although Jaques Plante is often credited with wearing the first hockey mask, Clint Benedict was truly the first player to wear a leather goalie mask—in 1930. He abandoned the mask after several games due to discomfort
Mike Eruzione, member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic “Miracle on Ice” hockey team, sold his game-worn jersey for almost $660,000 in 2013
An avid Wayne Gretzky collector in Canada sold off parts of his collection in 2013, earning over $500,000 from the lots