Ice Hockey Elbow Pads

Ice Hockey Elbow Pads

Ice hockey is a fast action sport with frequent collisions between the players, the boards, and the ice. Hockey players wear pads under their jerseys to protect themselves from injuries. Elbow pads are designed to protect the elbow from serious injury.

What are ice hockey elbow pads used for?

Ice hockey elbow pads are hard shelled pads with soft foam interiors that are put around a hockey player’s elbow and arm to protect them from injuries. Elbow pads first started being used by hockey players in the 1920s and 1930s because of the increasing physicality of hockey and the frequency of players falling on the ice. The original elbow pads were at times only leather patches sewed onto the players' jerseys, which is much different from what we see today. Now, elbow pads are used by hockey players of all levels to prevent injuries.

Without elbow pads, hockey players would be susceptible to bruises and fractures on their arms and elbows because of how often they collide with each other, the boards, or most commonly the hard ice. One key to using elbow pads is to ensure that they offer enough protection, while maintaining enough comfort and flexibility to perform their best. 

Things To Consider

When looking for elbow pads, you'll want to consider the following:

  • What level of hockey are you playing?
  • How much protection do you need?
  • Do you have a prefered style of elbow pad?
  • How much are you looking to spend on elbow pads?


types of ice hockey elbow pads

We will now discuss the different designs of elbow pads including contoured, tapered, and traditional pads.


Ice Hockey Elbow Pad Contoured

Contoured elbow pads are considered to be the sleekest. Although they offer the least amount of protection, they provide the most comfort. Contoured elbow pads are suggested for crafty players that want to have maximum mobility, but are willing to sacrifice some protection.


Ice Hockey Elbow Pad Tapered

The tapered design of the elbow pad is considered to be the middle of the road in terms of protection. They are meant for players that will engage in the sport’s physicality, while also trying to remain maneuverable. Tapered pads have more protection at the top and become slimmer towards the bottom for a more contoured fit.


Ice Hockey Elbow Pad Traditional

Traditional-fit elbow pads have the most coverage, thus offering the most protection for the player. They are suggested for players that frequently engage in the physicality of hockey. This design is best for someone that will be blocking shots, colliding with players, or hitting the boards often.


Ice hockey elbow pads are produced by many different brands including Bauer, CCM, and Warrior. Each brand features different attributes that cater to different kinds of players.  

  • Bauer: Bauer is one of the most popular ice hockey brands in the world. Bauer especially focuses on sleek designs for elbow pads. They do offer a small number of bulkier pads, but their best work tends to be their contoured and tapered designs.
  • CCM: CCM manufactures a wide range of hockey equipment, but focuses heavily on lighter more mobile designs. If a player is looking for a lightweight pad then CCM is a terrific brand. 
  • Warrior: Warrior focuses its brand on providing as much protection as possible. They make bulkier and more protective pads. Warrior attempts to limit the weight of their pads, but generally emphasizes padding over mobility. 


Ice hockey elbow pads have many different qualities that should impact the player's decision as to which pad they should wear.


The durability of ice hockey elbow pads will depend on certain things such as materials used and overall design, but generally will be able to last multiple years. To help extend the lifetime of pads, a player should immediately dry their pads after playing. The higher quality of the pads, the longer they should last. If the pads are bulkier, they will generally offer proper protection for longer.


Elbow pads can vary in price from around $20 to almost $150. The price will depend on the brand, size of the pad, quality of materials, and the amount of protection offered. Bauer and CCM elbow pads can be found anywhere within that price range; Warrior is typically found in the upper half of the given price range.


Ice hockey elbow pads come in youth, junior, and senior sizes. From there, they dive deeper into more specific sizing. Youth sizes are meant for young children, junior for older children, and senior sizes for adults. Once the age range is determined, the correct size will be found by measuring the bottom of the shoulder pad from around the middle of the bicep, to the top edge of the glove around the wrist. 


When were elbow pads first worn in ice hockey?

Ice hockey pads were first used in the 1920s and the 1930s because of the increasing physicality of hockey. Players were beginning to collide and fall more often, so they needed equipment to protect themselves from getting injured. Originally, elbow pads were much different than what we see now. Some players would just sew leather patches onto their jerseys to protect themselves. Since then, elbow pads have adapted to what we see today.

How do you wear hockey elbow pads?

When putting ice hockey elbow pads on, the first step is to ensure that the pads are on the correct arm. Most elbow pads will denote the proper arm with an L or R printed on each pad. The next step is to place the guards on the outside of the arm with the longer guard on the forearm. Then once the pad is placed in the correct area of the elbow tighten the straps for a snug fit. 

How do elbow pads protect you from hockey injuries?

Ice hockey elbow pads protect you from hockey injuries by absorbing most of the contact when a player has any collision that directly impacts the elbow. The pad will absorb the force of the contact rather than the player's body, and therefore will help to prevent fractures and bruises. Elbow pads will also help to prevent cuts and scrapes by preventing any contact with sharp objects or the ice.