Choosing the right hockey stick is just as important as getting hockey skates that fit properly. When choosing a hockey stick, it helps to know what kind of sticks are out there. Some aspects of the stick are left up to your preferences but others are based on fundamental guidelines. Whether you’re trying to go pro or just have fun playing on a frozen lake with friends, here is what you need to know about picking the right hockey stick.
Types of Hockey Sticks
There are three categories of sticks:
- Two-piece shaft and blade combinations
A composite stick is what most professional players use today. These sticks are made of fiberglass blends, and they are lightweight. The only disadvantage is the lack of durability. Wooden sticks are more old-school, but they’re less expensive and have more weight to them.
With the two-piece route, this means you are purchasing two separate items: a shaft and a blade. Shafts are made with a blend of fiberglass and carbon fiber, which means they are lightweight. With the blade, you can either choose a wooden or composite blade. The benefits of this type of stick include cost savings and excellent performance. If you break the blade, you can replace it. The same concept works for the shaft. The only disadvantage is that the sticks can loosen over time after hours of play. When purchasing these sticks, make sure that the shaft and blade you purchase are the same type, so they can fuse together.
Hockey Stick Length
Determining how long the stick should be is easy. Stand up straight while wearing your hockey skates and hold the stick in front of you—the stick should be about one to two inches below or above the chin. Shorter sticks can be good for puck handling but not for powerful shots. Long sticks can give you reach and help develop a more commanding shot.
Stick flex measures how stiff or flexible a stick is when force is applied. The flex rating indicates how many pounds of force it can take and some sticks are easier to bend than others. There is no wrong or right flex, and it will vary depending on your preferences. Using a sizing chart can be a good place to start while you try out different options.
Blade Pattern and Curve
In the past, it was much easier for players to choose a blade pattern because there wasn’t a choice. Now, curves are available in different sizes and shapes and it can be overwhelming at first. Curves are shaped by three factors:
- Face Angle
There are the toe, mid, and heel curve patterns. With a toe curve, the curve is in the top third of the blade. With a heel curve, it’s the last third of the blade. The curve depth relates to the shallowness of the curve type, and you can choose between slight, moderate, and deep. A deep depth creates a bigger pocket where the puck is able to sit.
The openness is the face angle of the blade and how much loft it makes. The face angle has three different types of loft. If you are looking straight down on a closed blade then you see the front side of the blade. However, if you look straight down on an open blade then you see how much more front is visible and the blade appears twisted. This means more loft and it’s easier to lift the puck.
Hockey Stick Lie
How the blade is angled is called the lie. Most patterns have a predetermined lie and you can find the right one by using your height with skates. Lie is something you may want to adjust before you buy a stick. Check the wear on the tape of your blade—if the wear is closer to the toe, you want a lie that is lower. If it’s closer to the heel, you want something higher.
The kick point is a big selling point for composite sticks. It’s defined as the area where the stick flexes the most. There are three different types and each caters to a different type of player. A low kick point is for the player that wants a quick release, mid kick points are for power players, and high kick points are for players who make a lot of slap shots.
Your hockey stick is one of the most important pieces of hockey gear to get right. Now that you’re aware of the different parts of a hockey stick and how they change how you handle them, you can choose the one that fits your style of play.