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If your kids play an organized sport, it’s only natural to purchase new equipment as they grow and becomes more skilled. After all, how fast can a child run in cleats or skate in ice skates three sizes too small?
Of course, the investment varies based on the sport. For some, updating gear might simply be buying new shoes or updated kneepads. However, some sports, like hockey, take more equipment than others. Aside from the skates and sticks, there are helmets, shin guards, pants, elbow pads, chest pads and more that go into outfitting a hockey player.
Needless to say, purchasing new equipment as your child grows can be costly, so it’s only natural to want to get more return on investment for older gear that your child has outgrown. Here’s a look at some things that you can do with old equipment to ensure you’re getting more value out of it.
Trade In/Sell It
Many stores nationwide have buy-back programs, where you can trade in used gear for a credit toward the purchase of new gear. Often times, this credit is only a fraction of what you originally paid, and the amount you receive can be based on how much and what types of used equipment the store has in stock at the time, but it’s an attractive option to reduce the cost of new equipment. You also may be able to sell it to other parents or straight to a store that accepts used equipment. Craigslist and other classified websites are also good for posting larger, more expensive equipment.
Recycling may be most synonymous with hockey sticks after they break or are outgrown. If a composite stick breaks or is outgrown, rather than throwing it out, consider recycling it through green initiatives that are being launched by many hockey stores. If a wooden hockey stick is outgrown, you may be able to “recycle it” on your own by sawing off the blade and adding a plastic blade onto it so that it can be used for street hockey, for example. Get creative!
Say your oldest child just outgrew his last pants. Do you have younger children that play — or may play — the same sport? If so, simply hang on to them and any other items that could still be used and pass them on to any other children that play the game. Just like clothing hand-me-downs that are passed from child to child, equipment hand-me-downs can save a lot of money and maximize the use of equipment. Then, after all of your children have outgrown the particular item in question, you can decide what to do with it. You may also save any equipment to pass it on to other parents who have young children playing the game. Bottom line: If you have the storage space in your garage or basement, hanging onto gear for this purpose is never a bad idea.
Various programs, such as Restore Hockey, collect used equipment, refurbish it to like-new condition and then donate it back to families or organizations that are in need of equipment. It also provides a feel-good option for families looking to get rid of any old or outgrown gear. Plus, all donations are tax deductible. Just think of this as a type of Salvation Army for hockey. What’s more, this option can also help grow the game, as the Restore Hockey program works to redistribute the refurbished gear to children who may have otherwise never picked up a hockey stick.
The vast amount of equipment necessary for playing youth sports is definitely a challenge to parents, but though with various options available for passing on and ridding of equipment after your child has outgrown it, equipment costs can become much more manageable.
Erin Wozniak is the Director of Marketing for Pro Stock Hockey, an online resource for pro stock hockey equipment. Erin is passionate about the game and is an expert in web strategy and digital marketing. Some of Pro Stock Hockey’s products include ice hockey sticks, protective equipment, skates and more.