Hockey Equipment Cleaning: Where to Properly Clean and Sanitize your Equipment

Hockey Equipment Cleaning

The 2019-2020 NHL hockey season is about to start but for a lot of forwards, wingers,defenceman and goalies, your season is already underway! You pulled out the hockey bag fromthe garage, along with your hockey sticks and other hockey gear. Inside that bag is the gear thathelped you conquer last season, either scoring a ton of goals, racking up points in your seasonor making some major saves while you were goaltending. Excited you opened up your hockeybag only to realize… yuck it stinks. Some of that gear might be damaged too.

Hockey Equipment Cleaning

After a tough last hockey season filled with sweat filled practices and intense games, it’s tempting to want to buy a whole new set of gear which will cost you upwards of $400. The price increases dramatically if you are a goalie. Playing league hockey is not a cheap sport! And the list of necessary items includes most of these often expensive items…

  • Jock (or jill for girls)
  • Shin pads
  • Hockey socks
  • Hockey Pants
  • Skates
  • Shoulder Pads
  • Elbow Pads
  • Neck Guard
  • Hockey Gloves
  • Helmet with full cage
  • Mouth Guard
  • Jersey for practice
  • Hockey stick

Thankfully, we can help you keep the costs down and take care of that horrible gym bag smell. LoveYourGear offers a ton of services to help you wash and restore your hockey equipment to their former glory. Throughout your hockey season, you will need to make sure you are ready for the next game, and this often requires a routine of chores you need to do off the ice. Our facilities are equipped to take care of those chores for you at an affordable price. We would like to tell you about our services that would enable you and your kids to focus on playing hockey, leaving the washing, repairing and gear delivering to us! We do equipment all over including cities like Toronto, Vaughan, Mississauga, Scarborough and even outside the Great Toronto Area.

Ozone Equipment Cleaning Services

When we clean your hockey gear, we do not just wash them, we sanitize them. Our facilities are equipped with a proprietary technology that uses Ozone to sanitize, disinfect, clean and dry your hockey gear to kill bacteria and viruses that are deep rooted into your fibers of your hockey equipment.LoveYourGear invested in these machines because we discovered that ozone cleaning is 3000 times stronger than bleach when it comes to killing bacteria. Ozone is also more eco-friendly than bleach because in the process of eliminating odours, O3 molecules will be chemically converted to O2 molecules, which is just oxygen. These specialized cleaning machines are used by NHL teams, U.S. and Canadian Military, Government Agencies, Law Enforcement, Fire Departments and more, and allow LoveYourGear to clean your hockey gear to quality level that you just cannot get at the dry cleaners.

It’s very important to clean your gear regularly to avoid Staph infections and other types of sports infections. Unwanted bacteria that builds up on your hockey gear can enter your body through cuts, bruises, skin abrasions and other sports related injuries. You want to make sure that you, your kids or other loved ones are not at risk of infections. Plus our cleaning services can prevent you from stinking up the locker room, the next time you are with your team. No one wants to be that guy on the team.

hockey gear cleaning Toronto

Here is our full Hockey Equipment Cleaning Process:

Step 1: Each piece of sports equipment is first cleaned with a pre-treatment enzyme solution that eliminates strong odours and bacteria.

Step 2: Our green eco-friendly detergents are premixed and brought to the right water temperature. Each article is pre-soaked, washed and extracted using state of the art computerized programmable commercial grade equipment. The machine allows us to control the speed, mechanical action and water temperature to ensure your gear is not damaged during cleaning.

Step 3: Equipment is dried in one of our moisture controlled speciality drying systems to gently and quickly dry, preventing bacteria and mold build up.

Step 4: Equipment is loaded into the closed loop, airtight stainless steel chambers for ozone sterilization. The 60 minute process further removes any left over bacteria lingering in the equipment that can cause staph infections or other bacterial illnesses.

Step 5: Equipment is now ready for repairs (at the request of the customer) and ready to be delivered.

LoveYourGear has the technology to clean all your gear thoroughly with this process. Whether you are a player or goalie, we will guarantee that your hockey equipment will be good as new when you wash them with our services. LoverYourRug can even fix equipment afterwards, which brings us to our next service we offer.

Hockey Equipment Repairs

LoveYourGear can also repair your old hockey gear and make them look brand new. Our in house repair experts are able to fix any piece of equipment that has been ripped, torn, scuffed or pierced. Our specialist can also tailor your equipment to fit better, like shortening your hockey pants. The types of repairs LoveYourGear can do include:

  • Rips and Tears
  • Cracked plastic on guards
  • Scratches and wear and tear
  • Repalming gloves and webbing
  • Replacing buttons, velcro and zippers
  • Restitching liner
  • Installing new toe and leg straps, buckles, padding, plastic boards, guards and
    protectors

Our in house experts can assess your gear and give you a quote on how much it will be to repair your gear. We believe that your used stuff is still good and we can guarantee that we will make your old and tattered gear look like you just bought it from the store. Give us a call so you can get your hockey gear assessed and take advantage of the next service that we want to talk about.

Pickup & Delivery Across Southern Ontario

Instead of dropping your gear off at one of our facilities yourself, LoveYourGear can come to your house or local arena and pick up your gear and deliver it just in time for practice or the big game. LoveYourGear employs a fleet of trucks that route to places all over Southern Ontario all major cities like Toronto, Ottawa, Barrie, Mississauga, and other big Hockey Cities. Our truck drivers have a weekly route that has them travelling as west as London, as east as Ottawa and as far north as Barrie and the Muskoka area.

Hockey Gear Pickup Delivery

You can schedule a pick up of your hockey gear to be washed and cleaned at our facility and then delivered to you without ever having to leave your home to get this done. Have a game coming up in a couple days and need your gear cleaned quick? We also offer rush delivery to make sure your gear is fresh for the game.

Scheduled Hockey Team Equipment Pickup & Delivery

LoveYourGear also offers pickup and delivery services to your entire team! Our drivers will come to the arena after your practice and load up one of our LoveYour trucks with all of your team’s hockey equipment, and hand it back at the start of your next game. The important thing to know is that your gear cleaning can be scheduled at a certain time to make sure that your gear is washed and brought back to you so you can hit the ice again.

Scheduled Hockey Team Equipment Pickup & Delivery

LoveYourGear offers discounts to your entire team for hockey gear cleaning plus free pickup and delivery. As mentioned before, we deliver all over southern Ontario so if you have a game coming up, our drivers will take care of all the logistics of transporting your gear to the right place. All you have to do is suit up for the game! Whether the arena is in Toronto, Barrie, Ottawa or anywhere else, we are bringing your clean equipment to you.

LoveYourGear Cleans More Than Just Hockey Equipment

LoveYourGear cleans more than just hockey equipment! We specialize in repair equipment and athletic goods for any sport you can think of. Need Football gear cleaned for the next game? We got you covered. Slid across the baseball diamond to steal a base? No problem, we clean that uniform for you. What about that beautiful suede and leather school bomber jacket you have  in the closet from back in your college days. Just needs a little bit of restoration and it will be good as new. With our facilities, we can clean your athletic shoes, hiking gear, camping tents, professional uniforms and much more.

The LoveYour brand encompasses a bunch of different companies that all specialize in cleaning, restoring and preserving your household items. We truly believe that your used stuff can be new again, and there is practically nothing in your house that we cannot restore. All you have to do is contact us for a quote and we can come pick it up with one of our trucks. If you are in the area of our two locations in Etobicoke or Scarborough, come drop off your gear and get a tour of our facilities.

Our team is focused on making your hockey season better by assisting with the things that you and your team shouldn’t have to worry about. Focus on the action and leave the rest to us!

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!

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.

The Best Activities to Try This Winter

Winter activities

In the winter it’s a lot more tempting to stay inside because of the dreary, cold weather.  Resist this urge because there are so many fun winter activities to try. We may not feel fortunate to experience Canadian winters but we’re so lucky to be able to participate in so many outdoor sports. Getting bundled up and heading outside for some fun winter activities is a great way to liven up this somewhat dark and dreary season. Throw on your parka, gloves, hat and snow pants, here are the best activities to try this winter:

Winter activitiesHockey

Nothing is as uniquely Canadian as hockey. It might seem difficult but it’s fairly simple. There’s also a lot of gear to protect you from any slips and falls. For beginners, we highly recommend wearing all the padding when you first start out to avoid any injuries. If you’re a more advanced player, all you need to play a quick pick-up game is sticks, a puck and some goal posts. The rules are basically just shoot and score. If you’ve never tried hockey, be patriotic this winter, lace up your skates and head out on the ice.

Skating

If you’re not up to the challenge of hockey, try out skating first. Learning to skate is the first step in playing hockey. There are plenty of outdoor rinks scattered around Southern Ontario where you can practice. There are always a lot of people on the ice of all different skill levels. It’s all part of the fun to take a few tumbles. Skating is also a fantastic cardio workout. Even if you’re not a professional, you’ll likely burn some calories laughing at how much you look like Bambi.

Child skating with mom

Snowboarding

Snowboarding is probably the most thrilling winter activity. Whether you’re just going down the bunny hill or rushing down a double black diamond trail, nothing beats the rush. It requires a great center of gravity and some balancing skills so if you’ve got that, you’re set. If you’ve ever surfed or skateboarded, you’ll likely be able to pick it up in no time. Start out by practicing on some of the smaller hills then you’ll eventually be able to work your way up to the mountain. Snowboarding is the ideal sport for the adventurous ones and adrenaline junkies among us.

snowboarder

Skiing

If being strapped onto a board and going down a hill is too intimidating, try the more traditional sport of skiing. You’ll be in more control of your movements but have the same amount of thrill. Skiing is a classic winter activity that people have partaken in around the world for centuries. There are several different types of skiing from cross country to alpine to Nordic. There’s something for everyone when it comes to this sport. If you’ve never learned the “pizza” stop and “French fry” go, hit the slopes this winter.

Snowshoeing

For a low impact winter activity that will still engage your core strength, strap on some snowshoes. It’s a fantastic way to go on a lovely winter hike without constantly getting snow up to your knees and in your boots. Plenty of ski hills and resorts have trails for snowshoers. You could also just bring a pair to your local park on a snowy day.

Snowshoeing

Tobogganing/Sledding

If you live near a lot of snowy hills, bring out your snowsuits and toboggan or sled. Sledding is always a lot of fun. It’s the easiest activity to do on this list. The only skill it requires is a little bit of balance. Just ensure that the hill you’re going down is nice and smooth so you don’t hurt yourself on any bumps.

Here are some extra fun activities you can do in your own backyard on snowy days with the whole family or your friends:

  • Have a snowball fight
  • Make snow people
  • Build a snow fort
  • Form snow angels

Wooden Sled

At Love Your Gear, we’ll make sure everything you need to have fun during the winter months is in the best possible shape it can be. We have a wide variety of gear and equipment cleaning services from hockey equipment to ski and snowboard gear to any specialty snow gear. Contact us today to make sure you have everything you need to partake in all the best winter activities this upcoming snowy season.

Best Army Surplus Stores in Toronto

Army boots

The army-inspired look has really become a trend in the past few years. You can hardly walk down a city block without seeing someone wearing camouflage pants or combat boots. Army gear is extremely practical because it’s meant to last in even the toughest weather conditions. We’re glad the look has become fashionable because it’s nice to be warm and comfortable while remaining on trend. Toronto is fortunate to have a number of fantastic army surplus stores. Whether you’re planning on going hunting, getting a new winter parka or just getting a last-minute Halloween costume, here are the best army surplus stores in Toronto:

Camouflage jacket

Wolf Army Surplus Fashion

878 Kingston Road

This spot is a definite go-to for all the east-enders out there. Even though fashion is in the store’s name, they have a vast selection of paintball gear as well camping equipment and survival tools for the adrenaline junkies. You can rest assured they have a variety of army surplus clothing and boots in all shapes and sizes as well.

Paintball

AAA Army Surplus

199 Baldwin Street

If you’re looking to gear up for winter, head down to AAA Army Surplus. It has been a popular destination in Kensington Market for decades. They have a wide range of surplus to browse through including:

  • puffy parkas
  • thick peacoats
  • waffle knit thermals
  • wool headgear
  • colourful toques

The price is right, you’ll look great and feel great. It’s a win-win!

Parka

Nick’s Sport Shop and Central Surplus

579 Yonge Street

This Yonge and Wellesley staple has been supplying loyal customers with clothing, accessories and army-related collectibles since 1961. You can grab a stylish and cozy Alpha Industries bomber jacket as well as some high-quality security equipment. Another bonus is there are almost always deals at Central Surplus. Keep your eyes peeled for bright yellow signs to get a discount on one of the many products you’re sure to pick up.

Bomber jacket

The Little Army Store

50 Northline Road, Unit 5

This “little army store” is small but mighty. For all East York residents looking to stock up on a number of camping accessories including grills, lamps, thermoses and more, this is the place. This warehouse is a neat freak’s dream. All of the products are displayed on racks in a highly organized fashion. They offer traditional uniforms from the Military, Navy, Air Force and Army as well as jackets and other armed forces related memorabilia. If you need a long-lasting backpack to carry groceries, books, or your laptop around, check out the Little Army Store’s vast selection. All of their gear is built to last.

Beavers Surplus Exchange

3269 Dufferin Street

If you don’t find anything you want at Yorkdale Mall, head south on Dufferin and check out Beavers Surplus Exchange. Their specialization is bona fide surplus straight from the Canadian and American militaries. They also buy, sell and trade military gear hence the “Exchange” in their name. If you’re looking to get some cash or store credit for old gear you don’t have a use for anymore bring it on over to Beavers Surplus Exchange.

TNT Surplus Centre

2938 Lake Shore Boulevard

If you’ve been to Etobicoke, you’ll likely remember seeing a massive Canadian flag painted on the side of a building where Islington Avenue and Lake Shore Boulevard intersect. This display of patriotism signifies that you’ve made it to TNT Surplus Centre. It was painted to celebrate the Canadian flag’s 50th birthday. TNT just celebrated its own milestone 60th birthday last year. This classic Etobicoke storefront offers piles of hunting and army surplus and racks of footwear. From rubber boots to coveralls, you’ll definitely find the army merchandise of your dreams here.

Army boots

The products sold at all Army Surplus Stores are built to last. However, in order for them to keep their durability, they must be well-maintained. At Love Your Gear, we are dedicated to ensuring your gear lasts. Whether you’re wearing your parka on the city streets or camping in the woods, we want it to look as good as possible. We offer specialty cleaning services to clean army surplus uniforms, boots and backpacks. To keep your newly acquired gear in tip-top shape for decades to come, contact Love Your Gear today.