What’s Inside Your Bag Of Tricks Could Save A Life

When a player goes into her “bag of tricks,” she’ll bust out a nifty move from her arsenal of dekes and dangles.

When a player brings his “lunch pail” to work, he’ll play a hard-nosed style of hockey in the corners.
Coaches have a more literal bag of tools and gadgets—seemingly having whatever is needed in a pinch to put an edge on a dull blade, tighten screws on a helmet or even sew a jersey on the spot.


USA Hockey’s Safety And Protective Equipment Section is a wonderful resource and lists First Aid Kit must-haves, along with important information on injury management. CLICK HERE

And yet, the most important kit of all hardly gets any attention. In fact, it may be one of the last purchases your team thinks about. By the time you’re thinking about it, chances are it’s already too late.
A compact drug store first-aid kit may be OK for scratches and scrapes, but they’re ill equipped for much beyond that. Injuries are never something we want to plan on but it’s best to be ready for them.

“Serious injuries can occur on the ice. If you’re better prepared, you can minimize the impact,” says physical therapist/hockey coach, Dr. Teresa Marzec (my sister!). She has worked with her organization in Saugerties, N.Y. to purchase “be ready for anything” medical kits.

She recommends medical bags with extra-large side pockets for easy access to supplies that are needed right away, like a compression bandage.

“I’ve seen injuries where a skate blade has gone across the palm of a hand and exposed the tendon. That’s an injury that needs immediate medical attention,” she says.

Marzec recommends using a large, sterile absorbent pad held by gauze followed by a correctly applied ace wrap.

“This will prevent excessive bleeding until medical intervention can be obtained.”

USA Hockey’s manager of player safety Kevin Margarucci’s only caveat to having a well-stocked first aid kid, is that coaches need to know how to use what’s in there.

“It’s kind of like the technology in a smartphone is only as good as the knowledge of the user to take advantage of the technology available to them,” he says.      

Kits don’t have to be costly. Margarucci suggests using a medical supply company to purchase items at a reasonable price.

“You can usually get good pricing if the organization is stocking kits for the entire team,” he says. “You might also want to seek out support from local companies to sponsor your organizations to cover the cost of the first aid kits and items to stock them.”

There are now safety coordinator positions in every USA Hockey District to enhance the ability to communicate the organization’s health and safety initiatives throughout the grass roots. These volunteers serve as a valuable resource when it comes to making sure information is freely flowing in all directions, and there are plans to expand the network to the Affiliate level, Margarucci says.

The goal is to have a safety officer in every local hockey association and even identify an individual who is responsible for this at the team level.

“Team level involvement is the only way to ensure the proper care is available to our players at the youth level,” Margarucci adds.

If you have a medical background, Marzec says you should consider stepping up for your team, adding that coaches should become certified in first aid, CPR and AED use.

“It could end up being a lifesaving assist.”



Who is your favorite 2023/2024 NHL Rookie?
Connor Bedard
Matthew Knies
Brock Faber
Logan Stankoven
Logan Cooley
Total votes: 3