When you’re a hockey player, your stick is like your best friend! In this hockey stick guide we will get you better acquainted with your soon to be best friend!
Hockey sticks, like skates, are considered to be one of the most important and personal pieces of equipment for players. Although the average player may have possession of the puck for as little as two minutes a game (with mens league hockey, probably even less), it’s essential they use the right stick for accurate passing, shooting, stick-handling, and checking (you need to make every second with the puck count!). The sizing process is crucial when trying to decide the right height, weight, and hockey stick lie for your body. Sticks that are a little too long can easily be shortened and you can also extend the length of a stick’s shaft if needed. The flex of the stick and the style of curve also need to be considered.
Types of Hockey Sticks
There are several types of sticks to choose from since they’re made out of a variety of materials. These include aluminum, graphite, Kevlar, titanium, and good old wood. There are also custom-made models as well as one and two-piece sticks on the market. The two-piece sticks enable you to change the blades.
Wooden hockey sticks are typically the least expensive and allow you to easily modify them by sanding the blade and/or cutting the shaft to size. This means you can customize the stick for comfortability. On the down side, they tend to splinter or break easier. They’re also stiffer and heavier than other types of sticks and the wood can warp or bend with extended use.
Almost every serious hockey player uses a composite stick these days. You can find them in one and two-piece models. This allows players to use wooden or composite bladed with lighter shafts. Composite sticks are also more flexible than their wooden counterparts. Most players prefer one-piece sticks, but they can be expensive and they can also break once in awhile. They’re basically used to shoot the puck harder rather than for longevity, but many newer models are extremely strong and could last recreational players for two or three years.
Types of Composite Sticks:
These are typically wooden sticks that are reinforced for strength by a fiberglass coating or wrapping. You can modify them like a wooden stick, but they’re the heaviest and weakest of composite hockey sticks.
Aluminum sticks were the first non-wood hockey sticks to become popular. The shafts are constructed with aluminum while replaceable composite or wood blades are inserted into the shaft. The sticks are less expensive, lighter and stronger than fiberglass and wood, but not as light as Kevlar and graphite. (Aluminum sticks are hard to find)
Graphite sticks are quite popular as the material can be used to coat or reinforce wooden sticks and can be combined with Kevlar to create a shaft. Also, an entire one-piece stick can be made of graphite. These sticks are nice and light, but cost more than aluminum, wood, and fiberglass models. However, they’re not as expensive as titanium and Kevlar. Typically most composite sticks are made of Graphite, or Graphite blend.
This material can also be combined with another material such as carbon to create a stick or used on its own. They’re relatively expensive, but one of the lightest and strongest available.
Titanium sticks are a lot like Kevlar models, but the material usually isn’t combined with anything else.
Colt Hockey has taken a Graphite stick, and dipped it in nano steel to reinforce the bottom half of the stick. Interested? Check out their site, and use coupon code HOWTOHOCKEY to save $20.
Quick video on How To Choose a Hockey Stick
Hockey stick Length, Lie, Weight, Curve and Flex
The length and weight of your stick is a personal decision. Some players prefer shorter and lighter shafts so they can stickhandle in cramped quarters and release their shots quicker while defensemen typically prefer longer and heavier sticks to check the opposition from a greater distance and clear out the front of the net. Your position and skating style may affect your preference. If you skate with a hunched-over style then a shorter stick may suit you better while upright skaters will be better off with a longer stick.
Note from coach Jeremy – A stick just below the chin is a good starting point for beginners, after you get comfortable play with the length of your stick and find something you like. NHL players use a variety of lengths from stick length, all the way up to the eyes!
According to some experts, the top of the stick should touch your chin when you’re on skates. But in reality, you need to find a stick that is comfortable, suits your style of play, and is productive for you regardless of the length, weight, type of curve, flex, and the hockey stick lie.
Hockey Stick sizes
It’s hard to handle the puck if your stick’s too short or long. Most manufacturers make sticks in two specific sizes, which are junior, and senior. Junior sticks are usually between 46 and 54 inches while senior models are from 56 to 63 inches. Shaft diameters range from Junior, Intermediate, and Senior. Most defensemen use longer sticks as they give them a longer reach for poke checks and intercepting passes and will help add a bit more power to the slapshot.
Hockey Stick Weight
Most forwards prefer lighter sticks for maneuverability as they enable you to pass and shoot quicker. Defensemen generally prefer heavier sticks for checking with, but still prefer composite models over wood since they’re more durable. Anything under 450 grams is pretty light!
Hockey Stick Curves
Hockey sticks are curved for right or left-handed players with very few blades being straight these days. The blade is either curved at the toe, middle, or heel of the blade and players feel they can raise the puck faster and higher. However, backhand passes and shots are a little more difficult to achieve. For more information about picking the right curve we have an extensive article all about hockey stick curves
Hockey Stick Flex
The flex is the stiffness of a hockey stick’s shaft and higher numbers represent stiffer shafts. Defensemen and big, strong players typically use stiffer shafts while most forwards prefer more flexible models. Since you need considerable strength to shoot effectively with a stiffer shaft, they’re not really ideal for young children. Learn more in this hockey stick flex guide
When shopping for hockey sticks for kids it can be hard to find a flex that matches their weight. Most stick flexes start at 40 and then the stick needs to be cut, which can alter the flex. If you’re looking for a flex that is properly matched to your kids weight check out Raven Hockey
Hockey Stick Flex/Length Chart
Recommended Shaft Flex
|Youth (3-5)||3’0″-3’10”||30-65 lbs||35 Flex||38-44″|
|Youth (6-8)||3’10”-4’8″||50-80 lbs||40/45 Flex||45-49″|
|Junior (7-13)||4’4″-5’1″||70-110 lbs||50/55 Flex||50-54″|
|Intermediate (11-14)||4’11”-5’4″||95-125 lbs||60 Flex||55-58″|
|Intermediate (12-14)||5’2″-5’8″||100-140 lbs||65/70 (Light Flex)||55-58″|
|Senior (14+)||5’5″-5’10”||125-175 lbs||75/80 (Mid Flex)||57-61″|
|Senior (14+)||5’7″-6’1″||150-200 lbs||85/90 (Regular Flex)||58-62″|
|Senior (14+)||5’10”-6’4″||180-235 lbs||100/105 (Stiff Flex)||60-63″|
|Senior (14+)||6’1+||210+||110/115 (X-Stiff Flex)||60-63″|
Hockey Stick Lie
The lie of the hockey stick is the angle between the blade of the stick and the shaft. Most sticks will have a lie between 4 and 7 and each lie is a two-degree difference in the angle. For example, a 4 lie is 137 degree while a 5 lie is 135 degrees and so forth.
Lower lies are usually better for players who carry the puck out in front of them and skate lower to the ice. Higher stick lies are often used by those who carry the puck closer to their skates and skate upright. Basically, when standing on the rink you want the entire blade to be flat on the ice, not just the heel or toe.
How To Tape a Hockey Stick
Hockey Fitting Video
Video by: Pro Hockey Life