I know that Steve Downie plays with his off, but I'd rather to play with mine on. When I played in floor hockey I just cut off a small piece of foam from the helmet (Only on one side as I need just one ear) and left the ear covers on. Now that I'm learning to skate and planning to get into ice hockey, I wonder if this is still advisable or I'd better get a helmet with uncompromised padding? Has anyone else had experience with this? Thanks!