I have overheard ice hockey coaches deride the emergence of the wheeled, roller style ice hockey gear bag. Such comments are probably rooted in the belief that resistance to obstacles and adversity helps build character, self esteem and muscle mass. They see the wheeled bag as an easy way around the chore of lugging 20 to 40 lbs of gear in and out of the rink. Perhaps they believe that this easy path makes their players “soft”.
I would argue that the wheeled ice hockey bag is an innovation that has multiple benefits to the youth athlete.
For starters, the wheeled bag takes tremendous pressure and stress off of the young athlete’s back. A non wheeled bag is not designed to to allow proper posture while being carried. Many young athletes struggle to remain in an upright position while carrying their gear. This awkward position, and the relative weight of the gear, is an injury waiting to happen. The average bantam aged player is around 100 lbs. That means their gear could represent approximately 40% of their weight. Struggling with a non wheeled bag could easily damage or injure a young athlete.
Also, the wheeled bag is designed for efficiency. The upright position of the bag means that It has a small “footprint”. This allows it to take up very little space in a cramped locker room. Non wheeled bags take up quite a bit of valuable locker room floor space. The non wheeled bags clutter up the floor and make it difficult, or unsafe, for young athletes to properly negotiate their way around the locker room.
Wheeled ice hockey bags are set up very similar to professional style athletic lockers. Professional athletes have lockers with multiple shelves and cubby holes for gear and equipment. So do wheeled bags. Wheeled bags have multiple compartments, so every piece of equipment has a place where it is stored. Players are less likely to lose or forget equipment because they would notice a vacant spot in the bag. “A place for everything and everything in its place”.
In summary, wheeled bags make your ice hockey player’s life much easier, safer and efficient. All attempts to build character, self esteem and muscle mass should be addressed in an off ice training program.