How to Clean Hockey Equipment

The smell that emits from dirty hockey equipment is truly one of a kind, and it is so notably unpleasant that it has even garnered its own name – “rink stink”! Rink stink is a special kind of stench that burns through your nostrils and can leave you feeling queasy. It is the result of the bacteria that grows in the blood, sweat, and dirt that build up on hockey equipment over time, and in addition to smelling horrible, it can also cause infections to spread. The only way to effectively deal with rink stink is to give your hockey gear a good wash and we’re going to let you in on how to do just that!

How to Prevent “Rink Stink”

Prevention is a crucial component when it comes to combatting rink stink. Here are some preventative methods you can use to stop the stench on your hockey equipment from getting out of hand:

1. Wear Full-Body Base Layers

Using pants, socks, and shirts made of the appropriate compression or wicking material will create a much-needed barrier between you and your hockey gear. Base layers also effectively absorb the sweat and dead skin particles that cause bacteria to grow and create unwanted odours.

2. Always Dry Your Hockey Equipment

Habitually hanging your hockey gear on a drying rack after practice is an absolutely essential step to take to prevent bacteria from growing and spreading. Bacteria thrive in moist environments and drying racks allow for the optimal amount of air circulation, which effectively dries the gear and kills bacteria on it. Be sure to hang all your equipment, even your athletic bag, to ensure no bacteria is left behind!

3. Air Out Your Skates

The soles of your feet have more sweat glands on them than any other part of your body, which leaves your skates extra vulnerable to acquiring a stench. Make sure you remove your skate inserts, pull open the tongue on your skates, and give them a chance to air out after every use. Not only will this stop funky smells in their track, but it will also prevent the blades from rusting.

Washing Away the Stench

Using preventative methods to keep your hockey equipment from getting smelly can only take you so far, and eventually, you’ll need to give your gear a good ol’ wash. Here are some hockey equipment washing do’s and don’ts:

Do’s

·      Machine wash your base layers after every use. These layers must be kept clean to prevent bacteria buildup from getting past the point of no return.

·      Machine wash your gloves, elbow pads, shoulder pads, shin pads, hockey pants, shorts, jersey, and jock at least once a month. Since your base layer creates a barrier and absorbs most of your sweat, your protective equipment doesn’t have to be washed as frequently.

·      Use warm water, a gentle cycle, and regular detergent to clean your gear. This cycle will thoroughly clean your gear without ruining the materials.  

·      Use the “pre-soak” feature if your equipment is especially stinky. This will give your gear time to soak up the water and ensure it gets cleaned properly instead of just floating to the surface.

·      Make sure all Velcro closures are securely fastened. When Velcro is left exposed, it can catch on to other materials and cause your equipment to tear.

Don’ts

·      Machine wash your skates and helmet. Your washing machine may not survive the cycle if you put these items in there. 

·      Try to wash all your equipment in one go and pack your washing machine to the brim. Again, your washing machine can only withstand so much, and hockey equipment can be pretty bulky.

·      Use bleaching agents or detergents with bleach. Bleach can deteriorate the foams and bonding agents in your equipment.

·      Put the gear in the dryer before you check the manufacturer’s label. It is generally safe to put your socks, jerseys, and other garments in the dryer, but putting your base layers and under armour in there is a big no-no.

That’s it! With this guide on how to clean hockey equipment, your gear (and your nose) will survive and thrive this hockey season.

Why Love Your Gear

Love Your Gear is the leading hockey equipment cleaning facility in Southern Ontario. We have over 30 years of hockey gear cleaning experience, and we eliminate all bad odours, bacteria, and viruses with our state-of-the-art cleaning technology, guaranteed. Contact us today to get rid of those remnants of rink stink!

How to Buy Football Equipment

football team

Football season officially kicked off at the start of September, and thousands of North Americans will be tuning in to exciting NFL games over the next several months. Plenty of players will also be gearing up to play the sport in their own respective leagues. If you’re a football player or parent that’s in this exact predicament, you’re probably in the process of gathering all the gear needed for this tactile sport.

Buying the proper football gear is no easy feat – there’s a lot to consider and several pieces of equipment that are absolute musts. That’s why we’ve decided to lend a helping hand to our fellow football lovers and make today’s blog a guide on buying football equipment!

football team

The Helmet

The helmet is probably the most important piece of football equipment you will purchase. It is the only thing that protects players from heat wounds, fractures, and, worst of all, concussions. Since this gear plays such a significant role in the safety of players, it’s vital to make sure the fit is just right.

In general, football helmets should sit half an inch to an inch above your eyebrow. Your helmet should fit snugly, but not bee too tight. An excellent way to test whether your helmet fits right is to shake your head and check if your forehead has a red mark on it after wearing the helmet. If your helmet moves around a lot when you shake your head, it’s too big. If it barely moves at all and you’re left with a red mark after using it, it’s too small.

Football helmets also come with two notable accessories – facemasks and chinstraps. Depending on your position on the field, the shape of facemasks vary, but a rule of thumb to follow is that your facemask should be two to three finger-widths away from where your nose ends. In terms of chinstraps, they tend to be made of plastic, and you can pick whether you’d like a gel or foam lining. Regardless of your preference, it’s important always to make sure your chin strap is easily adjustable!

football helmet

Shoulder Pads

Shoulder pads absorb some of the shock of impact that can happen during a game, and they help to regulate players’ body temperatures. This piece of equipment comes in many different models, but what really matters when it comes to shoulder pads is the fit. To ensure a good fit, wear just a t-shirt when you’re trying out shoulder pads and perform movements that you commonly use in your position. Check that the collar is half an inch from your neck and doesn’t pinch you when you raise your arms, the body of the shoulder pad reaches an inch past the edge of your shoulder bone, your arches meet evenly in the front and back, and you have full chest and back coverage.

Shoulder pads on football field

Football Pants

The majority of football pants are built with seven pads that are there to protect you in areas that tend to take a hit on the field. Like other pieces of equipment, football pants come in various forms. Integrated football pants come with built-in pads, while other varieties require separate pads to be purchased that either snap on or slip in. In order to do their job properly, football pants should fit the areas they are intended to protect – the knee pads should cover your knee caps, the thigh pads should cover most of your thigh, the hip pads should cover your hip bones, and the tailbone pad should be right over your tailbone.

Cleats

Football cleats make all the difference in your overall performance on the field, so selecting a pair that suits you should be a top priority. Cleats come in low top, mid-top, and high top styles. When choosing which of these three to go for, ankle support should be top of mind. Mid and high top styles provide more support without hindering movements, while low cut cleats provide less support but are more lightweight. Be on the lookout for cleats that contain composite plastic bottoms, as they have a high level of durability and can withstand quick movements.

football cleats

You’ll be well equipped to perform your best on the field this season if you put the tips we’ve outlined into practice. And if you need to get your gear cleaned after your fair share of games, we’ve got you covered there too! At Love Your Gear, we offer top-of-the-line football gear cleaning services that get rid of all odours and bacteria, guaranteed. Contact us today to get a free quote!

How Football Equipment Has Evolved

football gear

Football has become an integral part of North American culture, and Super Bowl Sunday has practically become an annual holiday at this point. The sport is filled with excitement in the form of rambunctious running plays, epic tackles, and last-minute touchdowns. It’s no wonder it has gained so much popularity.

With that said, football isn’t all fun and games, and it can actually be quite dangerous for players. Strains, sprains, dislocations, fractures, and even concussions are commonplace in this full-contact game, and there’s only one thing that can protect players from the physical demands of football – equipment.

In today’s blog, we’ll be divulging everything you need to know about the evolution of football equipment.

football gear

Helmet

Football helmets are probably the most critical piece of equipment that players wear. They serve as a barrier to protect player’s heads from hard hits and life-altering head injuries that can occur during a game. Today, football helmets are composed of a hard plastic shell with thick padding inside, a face mask, and a chinstrap. While the design of football helmets has proven effective in terms of reducing the overall amount of concussions, this hasn’t always been the case.

Early forms of football helmets that were used during the 1920s consisted of leather with some padding on the interior. These handmade helmets didn’t have any sort of facemask and, not surprisingly, they provided very little protection.

The first plastic helmet first became available in 1939, but it took ten years for the NFL to officially adopt plastic helmets. In the mid-1950s single face bars were added to the plastic helmets, and by the 1980s Riddell added circular earholes, a rounded dome, and clean face mask lines to their helmets.

football helmets

Shoulder Pads

The first shoulder pads came to be in the late 1980s when players DIYed them out of pillows that were connected via a cord. By the turn of the century, shoulder pads became more widely adopted, and manufacturers began creating leather shoulder pads that could be sewn into players’ jerseys.

By the time the 1940s came around, harness shoulder pads were introduced. This pad resembled the same style used in modern-day football – they were placed over the head and sewn to the chest. Forty years later, another revolutionary change came about in the form of synthetic pads. The synthetic material was a real lifesaver for players as it was lighter and stronger than previously used materials.

shoulder pads

Pants

Pants are probably the piece of equipment that have experienced the least amount of change over the years. Padded football pants were adopted in the 1880s, though the pants were composed of canvas and the pads were sewn into the thigh and knee regions.

Hip padding was added to the mix at the close of the century, and since then the materials used in football pants has changed drastically. Like other football equipment, pants made the transition from materials like wool and canvas to more synthetic and practical materials including nylon and rubber.

Shoes

Early forms of football shoes are a far shot from what they are today and resembled a boot more than an athletic shoe. It was only at the turn of the 20th century that football shoes took the form of cleats after players expressed an interest in playing in various field conditions.

The first cleats used were made by players that attached a cleat-like metal to the soles of their shoes. Manufacturers began to catch on to the popularity of this style shoe shortly afterwards, and ready-made versions were produced.

Today, there are a wide-array of cleats available that are designed specifically for different climates and field positions. Player’s shoes are lighter than ever before, and they come in leather and synthetic materials.

football gear

Evidently, football equipment has come a long way over the years, but despite revolutionary advancements in the technology of materials, they still retain sweat and can get very smelly. That’s why we’ve made it our mission to completely eliminate bacteria, viruses, and odour at Love Your Gear. Our state-of-the-art machines and experienced odour elimination technicians can remove all odours and bacteria from your football equipment. Contact us today to get a free quote.

The Importance of Gear & Clothing Cleaning for Firefighters

firefighter gear

All of us have grown up with the knowledge that if we call 911 during an inferno, firefighters will immediately come to save the day. But simply imagine if this wasn’t the case.

Would we still light those candles or keep the kettle plugged in? Or perhaps the most chilling of the questions, would WE run into a burning building to save someone?

Fortunately, we don’t have to ever think of such things, as there are countless revered, lifesaving, and courageous firefighters who take on this selfless job for the betterment of our society.

However, firefighters wouldn’t be able to do their important work without their gear!

Firefighter gear, the personal protective equipment also known as turnout gear, was invented to help ensure the safety of those brave firefighters who put their lives on the line day in and day out to protect us.

It’s not hard to see the strict importance of turnout gear for firefighters, so it shouldn’t be difficult to imagine how equally important it is for this gear to be cleaned effectively!

Allow us to illuminate everything you need to know about turnout gear, and why it’s so crucial that it’s cleaned properly:

firefighter gear

What is Turnout Gear?

Turnout gear exists as the final defence line for firefighters. This high-tech gear protects firefighters from heat, flames, and biological agents.

Turnout gear typically consists of:

  1. Trousers
  2. Boots
  3. Jacket

firefighter gear

Inspecting Turnout Gear

First things first, firefighters must be trained on their gear so that they understand when the performance has been compromised. Standard practice is to inspect turnout gear after each use while additionally conducting an in-depth inspection once a year.

Fires contain harmful and hazardous substances that can affect the performance of turnout gear. These inspections are meant to discover these contaminants.

While some types of damage to turnout gear are obvious, such as rips or discolouration, not all damages will be noticeable, such as moisture barrier pinholes. Therefore, it’s imperative to do thorough inspections, keep your gear maintained, and do field tests to determine the condition of your gear!

fireman in fire

 Cleaning Turnout Gear 

Doing our best to guarantee the safety of firefighters involves frequent gear cleaning. Dirty gear is known for:

  • Being more likely to conduct heat and electricity
  • Carrying less insulation
  • Lacking liquid shedding properties
  • Being more susceptible to flammability

One thing that is crucial to know, however, is that an improper cleaning job can actually destroy or worsen turnout gear performance. There are three types of gear cleaning typically conducted:

  1. Routine: Conducted after any fire ground use if the gear has been soiled
  2. Advanced: Performed by washing the gear in a machine
  3. Specialized: Carried out by a professional gear cleaning company if toxic agents or blood-borne pathogens have contaminated your turnout gear.

When it comes to drying the gear, a heat dryer can affect the performance of it. Therefore, its best practice to air dry your turnout gear inside and away from direct light since UV rays can degrade the protective fibres in the clothing.

In all cases, it’s best to leave your turnout gear cleaning to the professionals who are expertly trained to maintain the integrity and protective features of it!

firefighter gear

Why Clean your Gear with Love Your Gear?

At Love Your Gear, we believe wholeheartedly in the importance of not only keeping your uniforms and sporting equipment clean with our uniform cleaning and gear cleaning services but additionally doing our part to ensure first responders have safe and clean gear to help them go out there and save LIVES!

Love Your Gear uses the top gear cleaning technology of ozone that kills and eliminates all of the things that could compromise the safety and health of your gear! If you have an odour that won’t leave your gear, reach out to our team to learn more about our services.

Benefits of Summer Sports for Kids

summer sports

Summer is quickly approaching and you know what that means – school’s out! Kiddos will soon be free of the pressures of school and able to enjoy the great outdoors.

While your children might be thrilled about the freedom that comes with the summer months, having your kids around 24/7 can be pretty stressful. On top of that, they will no longer have the structure in their lives that has kept their minds stimulated over the past several months.

It’s safe to say that children will need to do something else to pass the time they now have on their hands, and summer sports are a great option! Here are all the benefits of enrolling your kids in summer sports.

summer sports

1. Exercise

It’s common knowledge that kids aren’t getting nearly as much exercise as they need nowadays, thanks in large part to video games. Putting your child in summer sports is a great way to get them to exercise while also having fun!

No matter which sport they participate in, it’ll encourage much healthier habits than just staying indoors all day. They’ll also be much more likely to carry these good habits into adulthood!

exercising kids

2. Socialization

Socialization is of utmost importance in early childhood. Interacting with others will help your child to develop their sense of self and reach necessary milestones. They will also learn important skills like sharing, problem-solving, and setting boundaries.

Getting your child to play summer sports in a team setting is a great way to have them socialize with other kids their age!

kids playing soccer

3. Self-Confidence

Good mentorship from supportive trainers and coaches can do wonders for your child’s self-confidence. Sports also provide a healthy competitive environment for your child where they can achieve milestones and grow their confidence.

Self-confidence is a difficult attribute to develop for fully-grown adults, so why not give your kid a head start in life? They’ll have a much greater chance of being successful down the line!

boy with volleyball

4. Teamwork

You know what they say – teamwork makes the dream work! Teamwork skills are essential in every area of life – school, extracurriculars, and eventually in the workplace.

Team sports encourage children to work together in order to achieve a common goal. This forces children to learn how to communicate, help one another out, and feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves.

5. Problem-Solving Skills

Knowing how to problem-solve is necessary if you want your child to make good decisions in life. Good problem-solving involves finding solutions to issues in an effective and timely manner. This can really come in handy when they are in a sticky situation.

Enrolling your child in summer sports will provide them with a positive environment in which they can gain the strength of mind to deal with anything life throws at them.

6. Perseverance

Perseverance is yet another life-altering skill that could make all the difference in your child’s life. Having perseverance means that you have the persistence to keep doing something despite any difficulties or delays that may come about.

Summer sports present a challenge to your child since it takes time to pick up the skills required to participate in them. By the time the summer comes to an end, your child will be able to see and feel the progress they’ve made by putting in hard work!

7. More Personal Time For You

There’s no better way to finish off this list than by mentioning the huge benefit you’ll get by enrolling your kid in summer sports – personal time!

As a parent, you’ve probably already relinquished a lot of your personal time to meet your child’s needs. Having them enrolled in sports gives you the option to drop them off and pick them up after a few hours of me time.

If you’d like to stay and watch the game you’re more than welcome to do that as well! Thankfully, this still gives you a little bit of leeway since they don’t constantly have to be under your supervision.

children playing basketball

There you have it, all the benefits that can come from enrolling your child in summer sports! If you’ve decided you’re going to do just that this summer and are in need of a cleaning service to eliminate all the odours and dirt from your kid’s equipment, there’s no better place to go than Love Your Gear!

At Love Your Gear, we have state-of-the-art odour elimination machines and technology that is guaranteed to remove all odours, bacteria, and viruses. Contact us today for a free quote on our gear cleaning services!

The Benefits of Wearing Uniforms At Work

uniform

When you hear the word “uniform,” you may get bad flashbacks of having to get up for school every morning and throw on a frumpy outfit that you absolutely detested. But despite your personal feelings about them, there’s no disputing the fact that uniforms serve a purpose in the workplace. This is especially true when it comes to public servants like police officers and firefighters.

Uniforms are used to make employees easily distinguishable and prevent potentially disastrous situations that can result from misidentification. Besides serving as a form of personal protection, there are a plethora of other benefits that arise from wearing uniforms at work. Here are all the reasons why wearing a uniform at work is essential.

uniform

Staying Safe

As was mentioned earlier, uniforms protect employees, and more specifically, police officers, from dangerous situations. Police uniforms have a psychological influence on citizens and lets them know that the person they’re encountering is an authoritative figure that deserves respect. Their attire also helps to explain why they might be carrying a weapon or using force.

Wearing a uniform is also essential to your safety if your job involves you regularly going into stranger’s homes, such as pest control or providing cleaning services. Uniforms help to create a much-needed sense of trust in these scenarios.

Police officers

Looking Professional

Some people simply don’t have a sense of style and may not know how to dress for work despite their best effort. Others are particular about what they wear and will do anything to push dress code boundaries to the limit. Uniforms get rid of these problems entirely and ensure all employees are dressed in a way that aligns with the company image.

Representing your place of employment well and looking great while doing it is definitely a perk that makes wearing a uniform well worth it!

Increasing Productivity

Believe it or not, what people wear to work has actually been proven to affect their performance. Dressing in a uniform puts employees in a working mindset, which means they’ll be prepared to get a job done as soon as they’re on shift. By contrast, when employees wear more casual clothes to work, they can sometimes feel a bit too comfortable, which puts their productivity at risk.

Inspiring productivity in workers is a difficult feat for even the most experienced executives, and if uniforms can help with that even a little, why not take advantage of them?

Saving Time and Money

Time and money are undeniably two of the most valuable resources we have, and many people don’t have enough of either. Wearing a uniform at work buys you more of both.

Uniform wearers don’t have to spend hours every morning deciding what to wear. They also don’t have to purchase a bunch of work-appropriate outfits. Having one less thing to worry about on a day-to-day basis is a pretty irresistible benefit!

Waitstaff in uniform

Promoting Team Spirit

You know what they say – teamwork is the dream work! Uniforms promote a sense of team building and belonging that otherwise wouldn’t be present. The unified look that uniforms provide help employees feel more aligned with company values and communicates to the outside world that everyone in the organization is equal.

This can result in long-term success and ultimately, more loyal employees. Who doesn’t want that in an organization?

People in Uniform

Free Advertising

Having your employees wear a uniform is a relatively inexpensive way to generate brand awareness and get some free advertising. In fact, putting a unique logo that stands out on employee uniforms is one of the most effective ways to get customers to recognize your company and keep them coming back.

Considering how expensive advertising campaigns are to run, it’d be a real shame to miss out on this opportunity for (basically) free promotion!

Evidently, work uniforms are beneficial for both employees and employers alike. If you’re not the biggest fan of them, hopefully, this blog helped to change your mind (even just a bit)!

Why Love Your Gear

At Love Your Gear, we offer top-of-the-line uniform and gear cleaning services that remove all odour and bacteria from your possessions. We are so confident in our advanced Ozone Destruct Technology that we offer a 100% customer satisfaction money-back guarantee. Contact us today to get a free quote on our uniform and gear cleaning services. We can get the stubborn smells and stains out of pretty much anything!

 

 

All the Gear You Need For the Perfect Camping Trip

Camp

Summer is coming and you know what that means – it’s camping season! It’s time to get your hike on, go on fishing excursions, and roast marshmallows around the campfire late into the night. There’s nothing quite like enjoying all that Ontario has to offer during these warmer months, and you definitely want to get the most out of your camping trips.

In order to optimize your camping experiences, you have to be well equipped to deal with the great outdoors. This requires quite a bit of planning and forgetting even one piece of gear can be detrimental. In this blog, we’ll go over all the gear you need for the perfect camping trip.

Camp

Seven Camping Gear Essentials

1. A Tent

For obvious reasons, this is one piece of gear you don’t want to forget. Sleeping outside and being exposed to all the elements would make for one uncomfortable camping trip!

Make sure you have a tent that is a suitable size for the number of people going camping as well as all the accessories needed to put up said tent. These accessories include stakes, footprints, poles, and a cord. Also, practice putting up your tent before you arrive on the campgrounds to make sure you’re well prepared.

Tent

2. A Tarp

Having a tarp under your tent is needed to keep it dry and warm. While tents may appear to be waterproof, their walls are actually just water resistant. If you’ve ever endured a heavy rainfall without a tarp, you’ve probably come to this realization.

Putting a tarp under and around your tent is a pretty easy way to ensure your gear stays dry and you get the maximum amount of uses out of your tent.

3. Sleeping Bags and Pads

Sleeping bags and pads are another essential for camping if you want to have a good night’s rest. There’s nothing worse than feeling a bunch of lumps and bumps on your back when you’re trying to fall asleep.

Sleeping pads elevate your level of comfort while sleeping on the ground tremendously. Sleeping bags add an extra layer of cushion and keep you warm, which is much needed considering there’s no heating system in a tent!

Sleeping bag

4. Camping Pillow

These inflatable wonders have forever changed the camping game and no makeshift pillow can compete with the level of comfort that camping pillows provide. On top of being super comfortable, camping pillows are also versatile and can double as a seat cushion when needed.

You definitely don’t want to miss out on all that camping pillows have to offer!

5. Camp Chairs

If you’re planning on doing any laid back camping activities, like sitting around the campfire, camp chairs are an absolute must. This foldable piece of gear is super easy to transport and allows you to sit in the same spot for long periods of time comfortably.

Camp chairs can also come in handy outside the camping environment, such as during outdoor concerts or firework shows.

6.  Flashlights and Lanterns

Since campsites are not as well lit as city streets, flashlights and/or lanterns are absolutely necessary to get around once the sun goes down. How else are you supposed find your way to the washroom in the middle of the night?

Don’t forget to pack some extra batteries along with your flashlights/lanterns!

7. A Backpack

Last but certainly not least, you need a durable backpack with lots of compartments for any camping trip. This piece of gear is especially handy if you’re planning on doing any hiking during your trip.

A good backpack makes it incredibly easy to transport and access all the food, water, and other essentials you need to get through your journey. It’ll also last a long time and have some great stories attached to it!

Backpack

By including these items on your camping checklist, your trip will be set up for success. And if you need your gear cleaned after your expedition, Love Your Gear has got you covered!

At Love Your Gear, we offer specialty equipment cleaning services that cover gear including backpacks, tents, cushions, and pillows. Contact us today to get a free quote on our gear cleaning services. We’ll make sure all your gear is in tip top shape for your next camping trip!

History of Hockey Gear

Ice hockey players on the grand ice arena

There are few things you can do with your time that are more rewarding than playing sports. From the endorphins that rush through your body and cause you to sweat with delight, to the positive impact that being active has on your body, there are a wide variety of reasons that sports can positively impact both your mental and physical health.

One of the best things about sports is that there are so many options for those looking to join a league! Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are you an independent spirit who prefers to do things on your own? Then avoiding team sports in favour of tennis, squash, or swimming may be great for you!
  2. Do you like being outside or derive joy from scenic nature and fresh air? Perhaps hiking, skiing, or trail running are worth looking into!

At Love your Gear, we love cleaning the gear from any and all sports!

We’ve found it simply fascinating to watch the evolution of sports gear take place. Nowadays, athletes are decked out in only the highest-functioning heat-reducing gear perfect for withstanding long hours of movement.

As Canadians, we’re particularly invested in the world of hockey. Since the late 19th century, hockey has been having a huge impact on Canadian culture ­– and we’re here for it!

Ice hockey players on the grand ice arena

We’ve come a long way from the days of hockey games being played with wooden pucks, now haven’t we? Here’s everything you need to know about the history of hockey gear:

The 1800s

While player safety is the top priority of all hockey leagues, from the NHL to the minor atoms leagues of your hometown, this wasn’t always the case.

So how did hockey gear of the past differ from the gear we see today? Firstly, there were no skates. How did they play hockey without skates? Players would attach blades to the bottom of their boots! Utilitarian? Certainly. Safe? Not quite!

In addition, pucks were either made of wood or a rubber ball with the top and bottom cut off.

What about all the defensive gear you see hockey players wearing on the ice nowadays? Well, it was essentially minimal at the time. In fact, shin guards made of strips of leather reinforced with wood or cane were the first invention to be made in the realm of protection.

The 1900s

Goalie staring ahead inhelmet

After many sustained injuries in the hockey world, players began to take matters of personal safety into their own hands, often constructing makeshift gear out of materials such as felt for shoulder pads, leather for kneepads, animal hair to pad their gloves, and bamboo to reinforce their wrists!

While these proactive innovations were a great start, they failed to address a glaring issue in the world of contact sports – head protection. That all changed in 1933 when Toronto Maple Leafs star Ace Bailey’s head hit the ice, causing him to prematurely end his career due to a horrible head injury. Eddie Shore, the player who collided with Bailey, went on to become the first NHL player to consistently sport a helmet.

It was also around this time that players began wearing goalie masks (despite being subjected to accusations of lack of toughness), leather elbow pads outside their jerseys and reinforced fibre thumbs in their gloves. By 1973, all NHL goalies were donning masks on the ice.

Interestingly enough, some players were actually sustaining injuries due to the plastic and fibreglass materials that were striking other players. Around the 1950s, the NHL issued a rule that all elbow and shoulder pads must be made with a soft outer covering to reduce these occurrences. In 1955, an impressive new elbow pad was fashioned made out of sponge rubber that became commonplace in the league.

By 1959, the league realized that the backs of players legs were vulnerable to injury via skate blade, and players began wearing leg protection that wrapped around the back of their legs to ensure maximum coverage.

Finally, in 1979, helmet wearing became mandatory for all players who joined the NHL. Oddly enough, helmet wearing was not mandatory for players who signed their contracts before this time.

Why Love your Gear

As you can see, the evolution of hockey gear and the understanding of personal safety has evolved dramatically over the past century. Thankfully, the public perception that questioned the toughness of players who used gear has faded from the norm, and hockey players young and old can all enjoy a game without having to forgo gear due to the fear of seeming weak.

At Love your Gear, we offer specialized hockey gear cleaning services to ensure your equipment can last for years to come! Call us today to receive a free quote on our gear cleaning services.

The Best Canadian Getaways for Skiing and Snowboarding

Skier and snowboarder

If there’s one thing Canadians know how to do, it’s make the most out of winter.

Sometimes the best way to do this is with an epic ski and snowboard getaway. Whether you’re seeking mellow cross-country ski trails or scenic glacier views and perfect powder bowls, it’s the season to get outside, make some memories and give your gear a workout.

Here are our top picks for snow-themed getaways:

Skier and snowboarder

Whistler, B.C.

With two massive mountains, plentiful resorts for all budgets and a quaint village full of shops and restaurants, British Columbia’s Whistler is easily one of the top Canadian winter getaways. In fact, people come from all over the world to spend time here, whether for the skiing and snowboarding, or just for the breathtaking winter scenery as seen from a hot tub.

Thanks to Whistler’s two separate mountains, it’s actually the biggest ski area in North America, which means that you could easily spend an entire week here without ever repeating the same slope twice. That being said, it’s not just seasoned snow enthusiasts who are drawn to the towering ski slopes here. There are tons of green runs as well, and no shortage of beginner programs if you just want to get your feet wet … er … snowy.

The mountain’s location on the west coast of British Columbia’s mainland – in close proximity to the Pacific Ocean – means no shortage of powdery snowfalls. Whistler is also a fantastic winter getaway if you’re not into skiing or snowboarding. The main village has tons of lively restaurants and shops, and both mountains offer a number of activities, including tubing, snowshoeing, zip lining and wildlife tours.

Many of the resorts have great entertainment features too. So while your well-used gear is drying off after a long day on the slopes, enjoy a glass of wine in an outdoor hot tub or end the day with a massage and a stop in the eucalyptus steam room, all of which you’ll find in many resorts.

Whistler ski resort

Lake Louise, AB

You’ve probably already seen a photo of Lake Louise, even if you don’t know it. Its placid turquoise waters and sheer cliffs have graced many a travel magazine and adventurous Instagram feed.

Turns out its peaks and glaciers are equally scenic, making this one of the top Canadian skiing and snowboarding getaways if you want a view to go with your action. Nestled in Alberta’s Banff National Park, Lake Louise’s ski facilities include both beginner and intermediate runs, combined with awe-inspiring views. From the top of many peaks, you can see the frozen Lake Louise – which is stunning in its own right – as well as the nearby Mount Assiniboine.

As a ski and snowboard destination, Lake Louise has a less touristy feel than some locations, as there are no resorts or lodging accommodations in the immediate area. Lake Louise Village, however, is a short drive away and has a quaint, charming feel to it. Make sure you stop for a steaming cinnamon roll at Laggan’s Bakery or a rejuvenating spa session at the Temple Mountain Spa, located inside the Post Hotel, one of Lake Louise’s main lodging facilities.

Lake Louise

Mont-Tremblant, QC

Nestled high in Quebec’s Laurentian Mountains, this resort boasts over 600 acres of ski and snowboarding trails and a bustling pedestrian village, making it one of eastern Canada’s most coveted winter destinations.

It has an equal amount of beginner, intermediate and expert routes, so there’s something for almost everyone. The sheer size of the resort allows it to cater to many other winter-themed activities too, including dog sledding, ice climbing, skating, sleigh rides, tubing and snowshoeing. Plentiful ski schools make it a top spot for families with children who are just starting to build memories and learn the ropes of a truly Canadian holiday.

Much like Whistler, if you need a break from snow-based activity – perhaps to give your gear a break – there’s still plenty to do. Hop on the open air gondola and descend into the pedestrian village, where you’ll find trendy shops, eateries and spas to pass the time. This is also where you’ll find much of the resort’s accommodations, which include everything from budget condos to luxury chalets.

Mont Tremblant

Panorama, B.C.

Easily one of the top Canadian ski and snowboard destinations for families, Panorama straddles the border between British Columbia and Alberta.

The resort is car free and divided into two bustling villages. The upper village is arranged around a skating rink and outdoor heated pool, complete with water slides, hot tubs and a sauna. Many visitors stay in the condos in this part of the area, which offers free access to the rink and pool facilities; a big draw for families.

Not only is it easy to find ski schools and beginner programs here, but there are also plentiful childcare centers and options for after-hours care, should mom and dad need a little break. Aside from kid-friendly features, Panorama actually features one of the biggest verticals in North America, rising 1,300 metres in total. There’s also plenty of cross country trails and powder bowls, so really, something for everyone.

Panorama

Hey, does your gear need odour and bacteria elimination services after all that activity? Contact Love Your Gear today to get it looking and feeling like new again.

Everything You Need to Know About Martial Arts

Martial arts

Martial arts are a form of athletics that get a lot of buzz whenever an action movie comes out. High-head kicks, takedowns and dramatic blocks are woven into many combat scenes and as a result, this is what many people think of when they think of martial arts.

However, each form of martial arts has its own unique characteristics, along with some surprising psychological benefits too. It’s more than a sweaty, action-movie-worthy form of combat. Here’s what you might not know about the different forms:

Martial arts

Karate

This ancient form of martial arts is usually what people think of when they hear that term. Developed in the Ryukyu Kingdom – near what is now modern-day Taiwan – it’s estimated by the World Karate Federation that there are 100 million people who study or practice Karate.

  • It’s a unique form of combat, in that it focuses not just on the physical aspects of self-defense, but on the psychological forces surrounding it too, including: perseverance
  • fearlessness
  • self-restraint
  • leadership skills

In some forms of Karate, weapons are used, but most people who practice this form of martial arts use only their own body weight and manipulation to spar with partners.

There are two main aspects involved in Karate training, including the basics and the sparring itself. Training usually begins with a student mastering the basic moves, which include:

  • stances
  • strikes
  • kicks
  • blocks

In sparring – whether competitively or for recreation – two participants use these basics to gain dominance over one another in short rounds that usually last only a few minutes. Points are awarded based on things like the technique used, form, timing, sportsmanship and other criteria.

The levels of expertise are ranked based on “belts,” which are worn around the waist of the uniform. The lowest ranking is white, while the highest – considered expert level – is black. Achieving a black belt can take several years, even longer, and is something that many practitioners aspire to, whether their main focus is competition or not.

Karate belts

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

A combat sport with a healthy amount of ground fighting, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is actually a form of Judo. Like most martial arts, it focuses on the idea that a fighter doesn’t have to be the biggest person in the ring to defend themselves. Instead it’s about:

  • skill
  • leverage
  • balance

All of which are employed when two competitors spar against each other, either in training or competition.

This element of ground fighting is really what sets Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (also called BJJ) apart from most forms of martial arts. Along with holds and strikes, BJJ can be seen as mastering the art of maneuvering and manipulating.

Matches last anywhere from 4 to 6 minutes, depending on the rank of the two fighters. Points are given based on positions obtained throughout the match, including various mounted positions, takedowns and other forms of pinning.

Like almost all martial arts, minimal gear is required to practice this sport. All that’s needed is a mat, and, for formal competitions, a Judogi, which is the typical Judo uniform.   In Jiu Jitsu, the Judogi is normally a closer cut, which makes it easier to move in for ground fighting. For judo uniform cleaning or judogi uniform cleaning, contact Love Your Gear.

Though many people compete in this form of martial arts and progress up the ranking scale from white to black belt, many people practice BJJ as a form of physical fitness and community involvement as well.

Jiu jitsu

Taekwondo

Easily one of the most high-energy martial art forms, Taekwondo is a Korean sport best known for its spinning kicks, high-speed moves and head-height kicks, which are impressive to watch.

It has roots as a Korean military practice, but has since become a popular form of recreation that’s places an emphasis on:

  •  self-defence
  • speed
  • agility.

Despite its high-energy appearance, there are many more subtle things taught in Taekwondo, including breath control, equilibrium, balance and mass.

Participants typically don something called a Dobok uniform, as well as padding and a helmet, which is usually worn during sparring.

Like most martial arts, there is a belt ranking system and competitors are usually matched with people of the same ranking. Points are given in sparring for certain types of kicks and their impact. Despite the focus on high-impact moves, the philosophy of Taekwondo is similar to other martial art forms and prioritizes self-control, integrity and self-defense, as opposed to aggression.

Taekwondo

The popularity of martial arts can likely be attributed to its wide-reaching benefits. Though many people approach this artful form of combat with the goal of competition, just as many take part for physical benefits, to be part of a community and to reap some of the psychological benefits as well, including focus, confidence and leadership skills.

Like most sports, all that physical exertion can mean gear that gets well-used. This can lead to odour, bacteria buildup, mold and other pathogens. To make sure your gear is clean and in good repair, contact Love Your Gear today.