Me and My Kit: Stu Grimson, Ice hockey player

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The Independent Online
I START getting dressed around half an hour before face-off. The procedure must be exactly followed because if you get an item out of sequence you have to strip back and start again. Starting in the buff I put on traditional long johns and a vest. Then I strap on my protective cup. At the speed the puck can hit you, you need it. That's followed by my garter belt, very similar to that worn by women. To that I attach my socks. I put my shin pads down the socks and then put on my girdle protector, a thin nylon shell-like device which covers my middle. Now I have to remember to put my skates on and lace them up since this is the last time I can fully bend over. Then it's the shoulder pads, which include breast and upper-arm protection, and the elbow pads. Finally I pull up my shorts, pull down my jersey with the Blackhawks emblem on the front and pick up helmet and gloves. Last of all there is the stick, taped on the blade to stop the wood splitting when the puck hits it or I hit the puck. Now I'm ready for action. After the final hooter it takes around 10 minutes to strip off.

Stu Grimson, known as 'the Grim Reaper', is the 6ft 5in, 220lb winger for the Chicago Blackhawks, who play in the second leg of the Molson Challenge at Wembley Arena today. His NHL record over the last two seasons is two goals, five assists and 473 penalty minutes in 108 games.

(Photograph omitted)

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