How To Choose A Hockey Stick
November 8, 2023 by Bill Burniece
When it comes to hockey equipment, aside from skates, your hockey stick holds a pivotal role in your equipment arsenal.
If you know how to choose a hockey stick that fits your style and ability, you will increase your scoring and overall performance on the ice.
We all know that professional players obsessively choose their sticks, but us beer league hockey peeps should also carefully choose our sticks because the right ‘lumber’ can significantly improve our game.
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Now, let’s jump into the crucial attributes to consider when evaluating hockey sticks.
Choosing A Hockey Stick Guide
1. Player Age Group
The first step to choose the right hockey stick is to find the right age group.
Hockey sticks are generally grouped into four age group categories:
- Senior player (age 14+)
- Intermediate player (ages 12-14)
- Junior (ages 9-12)
- Youth (age 8 and under)
2. Left Or Right?
Do you shoot right-handed or left handed?
3. Hockey Stick Flex
In beer league hockey, having a flexible stick is paramount, same as it is in the pros.
The flex of a stick directly affects how it behaves during shots and passes during critical times in the game.
Lower flex can lead to weaker shots because there is no leverage delivered from the stick shaft.
Flex is typically denoted by the pressure required to bend the stick one inch, with a general rule being to select a stick with a flex around half your body weight.
If that doesn’t generate the desired power, opt for a stick with higher flex to enhance your shots.
The ‘kick point’ is the part of the hockey stick shaft where it bends the most during shooting and passing. It’s important to choose the kick point you like for your hockey stick.
A low kick point near the bottom of the stick shaft works best for players who take quick-motion shots and prefer release speed over pure power.
A high kick point near the top of the shaft allows the entire stick to load and release energy, which makes high kick sticks a good choice for players who prefer taking slap shots and other heavy shots further away from the net. (Perfect for defensemen).
Mid-kick sticks delivers the best of both worlds – a balance of both power and quickness.
4. Hockey Stick Curve & Blade Pattern
The blade of the stick is what controls the puck, so different curves and blade patterns impact both your stickhandling and shooting performance.
The 3 most common blade curves today are the toe curve, mid-curve, and mid-heel curve.
Each curve model follows a different pattern determined by the stick manufacturer. For instance, CCM stick curve options will differ from Bauer stick patterns. Your style of play will likely determine which blade curve model is right for you, based on personal preference.
5. Hockey Stick Shaft Geometry & Grip
Modern hockey stick shafts are available in a wide variety of contours and grips and to suit your preferences.
Personally, I love the sticky, tacky shafts that allow a nice grip on your stick even when your gloves get wet.
Other players like the glossy, slick surface found in old-school sticks.
Shafts also come in different configurations – some with rounded edges and others with square edges.
Just hold different sticks in your hands and get a feel for what you are comfortable with.
6. Stick Length
The length of your hockey stick plays a critical role in your game.
If it’s too long or too short, it can hinder your performance.
Proper stick length varies based on a player’s height.
Without skates, the stick should reach your nose, and with skates on, it should extend to your chin.
This serves as a baseline for determining the appropriate stick length, but players may adapt it over time to their preference.
7. Hockey Stick Cost
When I grew up playing ice hockey in the 1970’s the only sticks available were made of wood.
Today, sticks are made of super-lightweight and durable composite materials. And that stuff isn’t cheap.
You can spend upward of $300+ for a high-end hockey stick today. That’s you call.
Luckily, most high-quality hockey sticks come with a 30 day money-back guarantee if you should break it within that timeframe.
If cost is a huge factor, and you’re not the hard on sticks, you might consider finding a used stick as a second-hand sports outlet.
8. Stick Weight
Generally speaking, the lighter the stick, the higher the cost since high quality composite stick materials that are lighter in weight cost more.
Elite players often opt for sticks weighing between 19-21 ounces, but some go as light as 14 ounces.
Like everything else related to choosing a hockey stick, it’s personal preference vs. how much money you want to spend.
How To Choose A Hockey Stick Conclusion
If you have been playing hockey for a long time you already know what type of sticks you like to play with.
You also know what your comfortable spending on new sticks.
But with new technology making sticks lighter and stronger, you may be surprised with the improvement the new generation of sticks can provide even us beer league hacks.
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