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CigarScott

Guide for sourcing equipment for big & tall players

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Since this question comes up on here and other forums fairly regularly, I figured I would share my experiences and what little insight I have in putting together a complete set of gear for myself. If you are new to the sport or getting back into after a long time and have packed on some pounds, I hope you find this handy. The old saying goes: the bigger you are, the harder you fall. This is especially true for larger people on ice. Most folks playing in non-contact beer leagues that weigh 180-200 pounds can get away with wearing lightweight, old school-style pads and be fine. However, if you’re tall or weigh more than the typical player, that fall or going shoulder-first into the boards that may have only bruised a normal-size player, can potentially cause something on you to break. I fell on the ice during an open skate and broke my arm; someone half my size may had just gotten a bruise and been able to brush themselves off.

A physical description of myself: I’m about 6’5”, well over 300 lbs with wide shoulders & hips (about a 58" chest and 48-50" waist), wear a size 14 6E (US) shoe, and wear an 8 ¼ fitted hat (about 65-66cm). Just imagine if Vince Wilfork decided to pick up hockey in retirement.

Helmet: The largest helmets currently manufactured are both made by Bauer, the 4500 & 5100. Both come in a size XL, which supposedly will fit a head up to an 8 1/8 hat size. I have not been able to find a 5100 to try on but I have tried a 4500, which was too narrow for my head, which isn’t overly round. The largest helmet (and the one I currently wear) that I’ve found is the Reebok 11K VN helmets which were made for the 2014 Winter Olympics. According to the packaging, the size Large fits up to an 8 ½ head but I barely fit into mine with an 8 ¼ head. You can find quite a few of these new for about $70 on eBay and Sideline Swap in several colors (good luck finding a new one in black but beggars can’t be choosers, eh?) and you can get the matching cage for less than $20 on clearance from Hockey Monkey.

Update: I tried on a 5100 and it was way too small for my head. So if you wear bigger than a size 8 hat/63cm, the Reebok 11K VN helmet in size large is by far your best bet.

Gloves: This is the one item where you can save money. You can find gloves in all sizes used and on clearance inexpensive. I wear an XL golf glove for reference and I’ve had no trouble fitting into any 15” gloves that I’ve tried. I bought a lightly used pair of Bauer Supreme S150 gloves for $15 and they’ve been perfectly fine.

Elbow pads: CCM is the only company that currently makes size XL elbow pads. I tried on several by multiple manufacturers and the CCM Tacks 7092 was the only one that was comfortable on my large, flabby arms. These have the Jofa JDP technology in them with a stretchy neoprene strap at the elbow and stretchy strap on the bicep for comfort and can be had for less than a $100. If you want to go baller, you may be able to find some old-school Jofa elbow pads in a size 7 on eBay & Sideline Swap but in that size, they’re unicorns and will cost as much as a car payment.

Shoulder pads: There are two sets of shoulder pads that I’m aware of that have been made in a size XXL; both of which are not currently in production. If you’re a new player and/or a poor skater where you’re going to fall regularly or play in a full contact league, you will want to locate a pair of Reebok Jofa Pro Stock 6K pads; these were never made for retail but you can find new sets on eBay for less than $100. These are a heavy duty pad with large shoulder caps, sternum protection, and I feel infinitely better protected in these than option B. I’m not sure what the size chart states what chest size these are for but I wear a 58” suit jacket and these fit without any modification. Option B is the Sher-wood 5030 pads in XXL. There are two versions: one has a drawstring in only the front and the other has a drawstring in the front and back. I was rocking the pair with the drawstring on both sides which was great since you could replace them and widen out the pads as wide as you want them. I would only recommend these for experienced players and/or good skaters who won’t be falling constantly playing in a non-contact league. You can usually find these on eBay new for about $50.

Pants & girdles:  Most manufacturers make pants and girdles in a XXL which typically go up to a 40-42” waist. If you’re in the 42-46” neighborhood, Bauer makes the Nexus N8000 pants in a XXXL. If you’re in the 46-52” neighborhood, your only option is Tackla. Montreal Hockey USA (http://www.montrealhockey-usa.com/) is the importer of Tackla products to North America. Contact them and see what they have in the way of pants, girdles, and shells; depending on the time of year, the selection may be slim. Otherwise you can always order directly from Tackla in Finland and pay the international shipping rates. They make the Pro 9000 NHL pant up to a size 60 (50” waist) and if you wait until Tackla has a sale, you can get them delivered to the US for about $150 otherwise you may spend $200+. They at one time made pants & girdles up to a 62 (about 52”) waist but you may have to dig around online to find them. If you need longer pants than average, most manufacturers make tall pants. Tackla makes some in a 56L, which is about a 46” waist with 2” in additional length.

Update: It appears that Tackla is no longer producing size 60 pants and Bauer doesn't have any XXXL pants in the 2018 catalog. Hockeyworld.com still has some 3xl Bauer pants available if you need a pair or you can be patient and scour Ebay and Sideline Swap and hope a pair show up on there.

Shins: After trying on everything currently on the market made by Bauer, CCM, and Warrior (haven’t been anywhere that stocks STX or other smaller companies), the only ones that I found that would fit on my fat legs were the Bauer Supreme S190; these can be had for about $110. These are available up to 18”. If you are extra tall and need an 18” or 19” shin, Reebok pro stock pads can still be had; they can be found on eBay and other sites. The Reebok pro stock shins are wider than their “retail” models and are an option but unless you can get a used pair cheap, if you have large legs, I would recommend trying on shins at a LHS so you don’t get stuck with a $150+ pair of shins that don’t fit you properly.

Skates: Unless you can afford to spend $1000 on some custom skates from True, the biggest skates that you can get on the market are Bauer Nexus series. They go up to a 12EE, which is about a 13 ½ wide in a US shoe. These have the most volume for people with thick feet, high arches, and need a lot of room. The Graf 709 is another option but good luck finding anyone that stocks them for you to be able to try on and they are an “old school” skate so they will weigh significantly more than current offerings from Bauer & CCM. If you wear larger than a 13 ½ US shoe but don’t need overly wide skates, Bauer makes the Vapor X700 up to a size 15 skate (about a 16 ½ US shoe). They list it in a single E width but with the Vapor being the narrowest and lowest volume skate that Bauer makes, it would most likely be a D width in the Supreme and Nexus line.

Update: CCM is now doing fulling custom skates but it'll set you back over $1200 US. Bauer will also be doing customs soon but the features and costs aren't known to me yet.

Sticks: If you need longer than standard (60”) sticks, you have three options: Warrior twigs, custom sticks by Warrior, Bauer, or Base and lastly by going pro stock. Warrior makes select models from all three of their lines up to 63”. If you are right-handed, you will have the option to pick several blade curves but if you are a lefty, your options are much more slim. None of the lie angles seems to increase in their long sticks from their standard length ones, however.

Bauer, Warrior, and BASE each offer one to order custom sticks from them. BASE starts at $199 and Warrior & Bauer start at $299. BASE allows you to go 6" over standard length, while Bauer allows 4" over and Warrior only 3", which you can get with several of their retail models. None of these three allow you to customize your lie angle which if you're tall, you will most likely want a 6-7 lie instead of the standard 5. Since Warrior doesn't custom sticks longer than their retail models, the only appeal that I see for doing a custom stick from them is if you want custom grips, blade curves not available in retail, or want to make it spiffier looking.

The other option with far more flexibility is going the pro stock route. You can get new pro stock sticks typically much cheaper than high end retail sticks with far more options in length, lie, flex, curve, brands, etc. Prostockhockey.com has the best search features for sticks with allowing you to search for length, lie, flex, blade pattern, grip, brands, and even the team that the player played for. As a tall lefty, I can sometimes get sticks on here for less than $90 apiece.

Jerseys: Your best bet if you're horizontally-challenged is to go the goalie cut route. These two size charts are the best that I've found when it comes to figuring out what fits. In my personal experience, the CCM practice jerseys run small compared to other brands. I found that these are the two best resources for figuring out how retail jerseys fit: https://www.hockeymonkey.com/jersey-sizingchart.html and https://www.icewarehouse.com/lc/jerseysizing.html. I haven't tried any of the pro stock practice jerseys that you see pop up on eBay and Sideline Swap but there are an abundance of size 58 and 58+ on there.

Update: After trying out several different jerseys including pro stock jerseys and tons of goalie cut jerseys, I found that the following two options work the best for me. The best but most expensive option is the K1 brand jerseys that you can get up to a 5xl. These fit great on me, are plenty long and aren't right in the shoulders or elbows. The downside it that unless you can find a generic jersey, they're usually reproduction jerseys of WHA teams, NCAA teams, etc so you will spend some money on them; https://www.sportsk.com/ has the best selection of them. The other option is scoring some 4xl Reebok Premier jerseys on Ebay or somewhere like that cheap. I was able to get a 4xl Carolina Hurricanes jersey for $30 on Ebay which is a little shorter and tighter than the K1 jersey but it is a good alternative if you find regular practice jerseys as being too tight or short.

NEW SECTION

Base layer & jocks: This is a equipment category that I neglected the first time around as I was still searching for the best solutions. For this category, it's best to think football, not hockey as this equipment, outside of the garter is the same. For base layer/compression stuff, Old Navy's website was a great option where you could get the stuff cheap when they had their seemingly weekly sales but it seems that they're discontinuing their big & tall base layer stuff. I personally prefer the hot weather stuff since bigger people sweat a ton and typically get hotter than other people so unless you're playing outdoors in Fairbanks or Yellowknife, get the warm weather stuff. Under Armour has a good selection of big & tall base layer gear on their website which they usually have promo codes floating around; I never see it available at their retail or outlet stores, like Old Navy. For tops, I like loose long sleeve base layer shirts. Casual Male/Destination XL has Reebok ones that I really like but I'm not a fan of the Under Armor pants that they sell so I would avoid those. Another tip is get the 3/4 length pants unless you skate barefoot so you don't have to roll your socks over or under your base layer.

For jocks, if you can find them, Under Armour at one time made mesh jock shorts with Velcro garters and compression jock shorts with Velcro garters up to a 3xl but you'll have to get lucky to find a new pair; they work for up to a 48" waist. If you can't find a pair or are larger than 48", then you will need to find a traditional jock/cup which you can find looking around online or at a sporting goods store that sells football gear. For a garter, you'll need to get the A&R garter belt in size XL, which not everyone stocks, which according to the packaging, will accommodate a 60" waist.

If anyone has any other big & tall tips, please let me know and I can amend this. I hope that you all find this somewhat helpful.

Edited by CigarScott
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Another possible upside would be availability of pro stock practice jerseys. Size 54 and 56 jerseys are snapped up instantly whereas 58 and 58+ are plentiful and frequently much cheaper than their smaller counter parts. 

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20 hours ago, dimpledballs said:

Another possible upside would be availability of pro stock practice jerseys. Size 54 and 56 jerseys are snapped up instantly whereas 58 and 58+ are plentiful and frequently much cheaper than their smaller counter parts. 

Good point, I never put much thought into jerseys since you can usually find large practice ones cheap. I'm wearing some oddball ones from Hockey Monkey that I got for like $4 on closeout.

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23 hours ago, Buzz_LightBeer said:

Warriors "Pro" line, Alpha and QRL come 63", several curves, and up to 110 flex

Thanks, I overlooked the Covert and Dynasty lines. Our local hockey team's official equipment is all Warrior and I've seen a ton of Covert twigs snap from all teams so I guess I had an implicit bias against them. I forgot that the righties have many more options for curves with these long sticks but the lefties get to choose between the W03 and W88 curves.

Edited by CigarScott
forgot to add something

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On 4/6/2018 at 3:15 PM, dimpledballs said:

Another possible upside would be availability of pro stock practice jerseys. Size 54 and 56 jerseys are snapped up instantly whereas 58 and 58+ are plentiful and frequently much cheaper than their smaller counter parts. 

I updated the original post with my findings after trying one of these. A size 60 is way too small, even to wear as street wear. a size 60 jersey is about a 2XL which won't cut it for me. 😞

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4 hours ago, goalieman39 said:

You might want to add the Warrior Alpha Protective line to your elbow pad section.  The large's fit huge

I tried those but I couldn't get the straps around my fat arms.

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I’m a 44” waist, and my Bauer TotalOne (now 1N) pants fit snugly. 

 

As as for the 58/58+ being cheaper, I’ve yet to see that. I wish. 

Edited by Siponarius

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On 4/7/2018 at 1:00 PM, CigarScott said:

Good point, I never put much thought into jerseys since you can usually find large practice ones cheap. I'm wearing some oddball ones from Hockey Monkey that I got for like $4 on closeout.

The older pre Edge style Practice jerseys were huge. They are heavier, but  they will likley fit with some room to spare.  

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Scott— I created this account to tell you how thankful I am that you took the time to share your knowledge. I don’t have it quite as bad as you do in trying to find equipment (I’m 6’2”, around 300), but it’s still difficult, and your guide has saved me hours of research in my efforts to pick up hockey again after a decade off. I’m actually about 40 pounds lighter now than I was then, but I could get Tackla pants in a 60 off the shelf back then.

So, in order to pay it forward and help other big guys, my experience: I called Montreal Hockey about the Tackla pants. I have about a 46” waist, so I thought their size 58 is about my only hope, unless I order direct from Europe. Unfortunately, they’re sold out. However, he told me about the JAMM 5000/1 girdle, which is currently available on hockeydogs.com in 3XL, and it allegedly fits a 46” waist. It runs a shade over $100, and the various shells are around $40. I’m going to order one next paycheck, and I’ll let you know how the fit is.

Edited by WildBillKickoff
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59 minutes ago, WildBillKickoff said:

Scott— I created this account to tell you how thankful I am that you took the time to share your knowledge. I don’t have it quite as bad as you do in trying to find equipment (I’m 6’2”, around 300), but it’s still difficult, and your guide has saved me hours of research in my efforts to pick up hockey again after a decade off. I’m actually about 40 pounds lighter now than I was then, but I could get Tackla pants in a 60 off the shelf back then.

So, in order to pay it forward and help other big guys, my experience: I called Montreal Hockey about the Tackla pants. I have about a 46” waist, so I thought their size 58 is about my only hope, unless I order direct from Europe. Unfortunately, they’re sold out. However, he told me about the JAMM 5000/1 girdle, which is currently available on hockeydogs.com in 3XL, and it allegedly fits a 46” waist. It runs a shade over $100, and the various shells are around $40. I’m going to order one next paycheck, and I’ll let you know how the fit is.

Save the money and pick these up on closeout to try first: https://www.tsrhockey.com/bauer-nexus-600-sr-hockey-pants.html

I have the newer version as a backup pair and they'll fit a 44-48" waist...

Edited by CigarScott
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Nice, glad those went to a good home. I will say that I personally like the fit of the Tackla Air 9000 better since my pair is for a 48-50" waist and they're built like a tank next to the Bauer but for the cost, you weren't going to get anything close to this nice in your size but who knows, you may absolutely love them and prefer them if you have the opportunity to try a pair of size 58 Tackla; the Nexus line of pants is quite popular. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5y9ejpldGU You can always hit up Montreal Hockey later in the year to see if they imported any size 58's if you want to try them or wait until Tackla in Europe has a sale where it won't be as painful to order a pair from them.

Let me know if you need help finding anything else; chances are I've bought from the people that have these caches of oddball-sized gear.

 

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45 minutes ago, WildBillKickoff said:

Yes sir.

I actually just did that. One step closer to getting back on the ice. Thanks a bunch!

If you need a hockey jock w/ velcro garter, you'll be hard-pressed to find another one in 3xl...

https://sidelineswap.com/gear/hockey/other-hockey/315220-under-armor-purestrike-comp-hockey-jock-short-w-cup-sr-various-sizes

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On 9/11/2018 at 1:23 AM, CigarScott said:

Nice, glad those went to a good home. I will say that I personally like the fit of the Tackla Air 9000 better since my pair is for a 48-50" waist and they're built like a tank next to the Bauer but for the cost, you weren't going to get anything close to this nice in your size but who knows, you may absolutely love them and prefer them if you have the opportunity to try a pair of size 58 Tackla; the Nexus line of pants is quite popular. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5y9ejpldGU You can always hit up Montreal Hockey later in the year to see if they imported any size 58's if you want to try them or wait until Tackla in Europe has a sale where it won't be as painful to order a pair from them.

Let me know if you need help finding anything else; chances are I've bought from the people that have these caches of oddball-sized gear.

 

So, they arrived yesterday and fit absolutely perfectly around the waist, hips, and upper thigh, which for a former collegiate offensive lineman who can still squat close to 600 lbs is pretty impressive. The thing that shocked me is how roomy they are toward the lower thigh— I can fit my fist underneath the thigh pads. Plenty of room to maneuver.  Going to feel very well protected.

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2 hours ago, CigarScott said:

@WildBillKickoff If you need some big shoulder pads, the guy that I bought mine from just listed another pair of XXL Reebok/Jofa pro stocks which are becoming harder and harder to find: https://www.ebay.com/itm/153203951417?ul_noapp=true

Dude, thanks for looking out for me. The upper body stuff was never the sticking point for me. I grabbed a set of XL CCM JetSpeed shoulder pads that fit great and were super cheap. I’m all legs— it was always the pants that were going to be the problem, and you helped tremendously with that. Oct 11 I hit the ice again for the first time in over a decade!

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