Choosing a Hockey Stick:
- A good way to measure your stick is to stand, without skates in your stocking feet, on a flat surface.
- Place the toe of your stick on the ground between your feet.
- Lean the stick straight up-and-down so the handle of the stick touches the tip of your nose.
- A general rule is to mark and cut the handle of your stick where it touches the tip of your nose.
- Then when standing on your skates, the stick should come up to your chin or just below it.
What Are The Differences Between Composite & Wood Sticks?
Wood Sticks are generally manufactured with a standard square shape. These are generally the heaviest sticks. They are a good value but have poor consistency and many breakages.
Composite shafts/Sticks can be found to have all types of shapes, weights and flexes. A composite shaft/Stick should be purchased for the shaft consistency, shot speed and accuracy and its lighter weight.
Sizing is integral to your game. If the size and flex of your stick is not correct, the risk for failure in performance is much greater. If the stick is too small or not stiff enough, it could break easily. On the other hand, if the stick is too big or too stiff, it can hinder stick handling, passing and shooting. All of these are common problems when purchasing sticks for younger players. Begin with determining the right stick that fits the player’s height and length.
The length of the hockey stick is generally the easiest to determine, but imperative for a player’s success in the game. Sticks usually come in four sizes: senior, intermediate, junior and youth. Each size normally reflects a smaller shaft circumference and a softer flex. Senior sticks are usually used by players ages 14 and up; intermediate for ages 10-15; junior for ages 7 to 12; and youth for players ages 4-8. Adult women generally use intermediate or flexible senior sticks. Determining the appropriate stick length is relatively easy. Have the player stand in place without skates, place the toe of the stick on the ground between their feet and position the stick vertically against their body so that the stick comes to about their nose. If the stick is too long, simply make a mark where it touches their nose, and cut the handle of the stick accordingly. If the player’s skates are on, the stick should come up to their chin. Please note that this is a general rule of thumb and can change with personal preference. In addition to cutting sticks to the desired length, players may also extend a stick’s length by inserting an end plug at the top of the shaft. This can be used to lengthen the life of a stick and get maximum use if the player cut the stick too short or experiences a growth spurt.
The first thing many players do when they pick up a new stick is bend it. A good fit is a stick that allows the player to bend the shaft a little, but without much effort. A stiff stick shaft lessens shot accuracy and puck speed and does not provide a good feel for the puck. Most players prefer flexible and light shafts that allow for optimal passing and shooting. Most stick manufacturers offer a variety of flexes. The higher the flex number, the stiffer the stick. Regardless of age, the correct flex for the player should allow him/her to bend the shaft when they take a wrist shot or slap shot. Different manufacturers have different systems for measuring flex ratings, but most conform to this method: the flex is a measure of the amount of weight required to bend a stick 4 inches when suspended between two support points that are 48 inches apart. For example, an 85 Flex stick requires 85 pounds to be applied at the center point between two support points to flex the stick 4 inches.
Grip vs. Non-Grip: Sticks can have either a smooth surface or a textured sticky surface. The surface of a non-grip stick is smooth, allowing the bottom hand to easily move up and down the shaft for stick handling, passing and shooting. However, during a game it is possible for the gloves to become slick because of sweat, hindering a player’s performance. If that is the case, a Grip stick might be the better option for the player. Some grips cover the entire stick, while other grips are only featured on the main area of the shaft where the player’s hands are located. The grip can also be a coating or it could be incorporated in the texture of the stick. The main purpose of grip is to provide increased control if the player’s gloves are wet. If the gloves are not wet, it may be more difficult for the player to move his/her bottom hand. Ultimately, the choice of grip or non-grip comes down to personal preference.
Curves, of a blade can be used for different types of players. Please view our Pattern Guide to see the different specs and pattern names for different curves from various manufacturers. Stick pattern is almost entirely player preference.