Three cheers for Pure Hockey in Berlin, MA

Recently I’ve gotten the bug to play pickup hockey at Loring Arena here in Boston. I used to play pickup at the Ice-o-plex in Pittsburgh and I had a blast. That was 10-15 years ago. Since then I wasn’t playing and then our hot water heater ruptured in our old house and flooded the basement – and most of my gear was ruined. Since I want to start playing again soon… I needed to buy some stuff.

I recently ordered some stuff (a helmet, elbow pads, and slash guard) online before knowing about Pure Hockey in Berlin, MA. I took a drive out there with my son and initially drove past the place because I didn’t think the store could be as big as the building we saw. The store is enormous and has two floors packed full of great equipment.

I checked out the Easton that Chris Kunitz likes – I think the price per stick is around $250. They have several thousand dollars worth of sticks – of just that type. Overall they must have several thousand sticks on the floor – ranging from affordable to high-end pro-level stuff. You can say that of just about anything you can think of.

Anyway, I got a ton of stuff I needed (compression pants, pro socks with velcro tabs, pants, tape, Vapor One.4 stick <kane/77 – should have gone with 100>, etc). The store marked nearly everything down initially and they recently had a 20% off sale on top of that. My previous skates (which survived the flood) were too narrow and the bottom of my right foot (my problem sizing foot for skates) used to cramp up on the bottom. I’d have to simply skate through the pain.

Well – today I went alone to check out skates. I got my own salesperson and told him my situation and my budget (around $200). I initially picked up a Bauer Vapor and he told me that skate sizes narrower and to avoid it. I checked out other Bauers (Supreme) and a Reebok something or other for around $475. My left foot never has any problems with fit with boots, but my right always gives me fits. After trying on many skates, we discovered that I need a little more room in the right toe box or else there will be pinching on top up front. I tried on the Reebok’s and they felt absolutely perfect – yet out of my price range.

I was about to settle for a Bauer that pinched a little bit and cost a little over $200 with the sale and 20% off. We tried one more skate, a Bauer Supremem One.5 – and it fit me perfectly and after sale & 20% off only cost about $150. The guy sold me skates that absolutely fit me for a lower price than what I was prepared to walk out the door with. It’s not a super high-end skate but looks nice enough and won’t kill my feet. I want to spend more time having fun and skating than grimacing with a foot that’s cramped up and hurting.

There is nothing at that store you won’t be able to find – and at amazing prices. Take a little drive and save yourself shipping and handling. It’s nirvana.

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