How to choose the right Hockey Stick?

When it comes to choosing the right hockey stick there are several important factors that need to be taken into consideration. Using the right hockey stick can make a huge difference in your game as it can elevate your stick handling, shooting, and overall control to a whole different level.

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To help you find your perfect stick we divided the selection process into 9 topics each dealing with a single attribute of the hockey stick. Go through them one by one until you acquire a deep enough understanding to be able to choose your own preference.

In case you get lost or need additional clarification, don't hesitate to click on the Webchat window below and consult our Assistant.

Remember - there is no ABSOLUTE right or wrong when choosing a hockey stick. It largely depends on your PERSONAL PREFERENCES - the type of player you are (position, height, strength,...) and your GOALS - the elements of the game you want to elevate (passing, shooting, puck control,..). So use the following topics/guidelines to narrow your search and then go EXPERIMENT! The more sticks you are willing to try, the more certain you can be to find your ideal one. And don't forget to enjoy along the way! ;)

1. LEFT OR RIGHT HOCKEY STICK?

If you already know which way you shoot then this is commonly the first selection when buying a new stick.

Direction of Hockey Stick

   LEFT STICK RIGHT STICK
BOTTOM Hand:
Left Right
Blade Curve turns:
Right Left

GUIDE: If you hold the stick with your LEFT hand at the BOTTOM of the stick (right hand on top), then you use a LEFT (L) stick. If you hold the stick with your RIGHT hand at the BOTTOM of the stick (left hand on top), then you use a RIGHT (R) stick

IF YOU ARE A COMPLETE BEGINNER, making this decision might be a little more difficult than you think. However, the easiest way to figure this out may be to pick up a broom. Which way do you swing? Keep in mind, there is no right or wrong way to pick which way you will play hockey. It is important that you feel comfortable with the way you swing. If you are undecided, it is recommended to go with the option that feels most comfortable to you.

Again, this is something that is based off of comfort. If you are a dominant right handed person and you feel better holding a right handed stick then go with that stick and give it a try. There is no right or wrong when determining what way to shoot. It will make more sense when you hold the stick in your hands, one side won’t feel as right compared to the other.

 

2. ONE-PIECE OR TWO-PIECE HOCKEY STICK?

ONE-PIECE COMPOSITE HOCKEY STICKS

One-Piece Hockey Stick

These are the sticks you see professional players using today. Composite hockey sticks are usually made from woven carbon fiber and fiber glass blends, which makes these sticks incredibly lightweight, balanced and high performing.

One important thing to note is that most one-piece composite hockey sticks on the market have a FOAM CORE BLADE construction that is only suitable for use on smooth surfaces like ice or plastic tiles but will have a short life span on rough surfaces like concrete or asphalt.

If you intend to play hockey on a rough surface (concrete, asphalt,...) we advise you to choose a two-piece stick combination with Shaft + ABS-reinforced replacement blade (read below).

TWO PIECE HOCKEY STICKS: HOCKEY SHAFTS + REPLACEMENT BLADES

Shaft + Blade Combo

In order to construct a two-piece stick, it is required to purchase two separate items: a hockey shaft and a replacement blade. The shafts of these sticks are just like their one-piece counterparts when it comes to construction and materials used. These shafts are made with a blend of carbon fiber and fiberglass to produce an incredibly lightweight product.

As for your blade selection, you can choose between foam-core composite, wooden and ABS-reinforced blades. As noted above, being able to choose the right blade construction for the intended playing surface is one of the main benefits of a two-piece stick compared to the traditional one-piece composite stick.

If you are going to play hockey on a rough playing surface (concrete, asphalt,...) we advise you to look for an ABS-reinforced replacement blade at your local or online hockey shop.

 

3. OPTIMAL FLEX OF THE STICK

Stick flex is a measurement of how flexible or how stiff a hockey stick is when force is applied to it. Since the flex rating indicates how many pounds of force it takes to flex the stick one inch, you should know that some sticks are significantly easier to bend than others. Benefits of utilizing a proper stick flex could increase your overall shot velocity as flex can be described as somewhat of a slingshot effect.

Stick Flexing

The appropriate flex varies among players, so you'll want to try out different options. The higher the flex number, the stiffer or less bend a stick has. Inversely, the smaller the flex number, the more bending and softer the stick is.

Evaluating your height, weight, and age will most likely determine what flex of the stick is most appropriate for you. 

Stick manufacturers often use four broad (Age Group) Categories when it comes to flex as well as the profile dimensions of the shaft and the overall height of the stick: Youth, Junior, Intermediate and Senior. Youth being the softest/shortest/thinnest and Senior being the stiffest/longest/thickest.

There is no straightforward rule or a formula to determine the optimal flex for a given player, but you can use this chart to give you a good place to start:

Age Group Player Height Player Weight Recommended
Flex
 7 - 13  (Junior) 130 – 155 cm 30 – 50 kg 30 – 55 Flex
 11 - 14  (Intermediate) 150 – 165 cm 45 – 55 kg 45 – 65 Flex
 11 - 14  (Intermediate) 155 – 175 cm 50 – 65 kg 50 – 75 Flex
 14+  (Senior) 165 – 175 cm 55 – 80 kg 65 – 80 Flex
 14+  (Senior) 175 – 185 cm 70 – 90 kg 70 – 90 Flex
 14+  (Senior) 185 cm – 195 cm 90 – 105 kg 85 – 105 Flex
 14+  (Senior) 195 cm - 105kg - 195 Flex –

One simple way of determining the right flex interval, which we found to be very practical, is using a player's height and weight in the following way:

   Player Height (- 100)   Player Weight
Actual Height and Weight of a player:
184 cm   90 kg
Optimal Flex Range:
84 Flex to 90 Flex

Remember, the above methods are only intended as a general guide. It cannot be stressed enough that flex is a PREFERENCE that should eventually be determined by player's comfort. So go pick up a few sticks with different flexes and give each one a try. The one that fells and performs the best is the right flex for you to use.

 

4. KICK-POINT

Before composite materials were introduced in the production of hockey sticks there was no such concept as a "Kick-Point" or "Flex Profile". Wooden hockey sticks had only one flex profile, which in today's terms would probably be called "Mid-Kick" or "Constant Flex Profile.

The introduction of composite materials in the design of hockey sticks allowed manufactures to create various Flex Profiles or Stiffness Areas of the shaft that complement a player's biomechanics to optimize his shooting capacity. By distributing the orientation of fibers along the shaft manufacturers are able to create areas of various stiffnesses which in turn allows them to choose the area where the stick will bend the most, where the stick will be whippiest. This area is called the kick-point.

Most largest stick manufacturers offer 3 separate Lines of Sticks each with a different Flex Profile or Kick-Point: Low-Kick, Mid-Kick, and High-Kick.

Bauer Lines of Sticks with different kick-points

LOW-KICK POINT

A Low-kick point stick is designed for the player who is looking for a quick release wrist and snap shots Low-kick sticks compress and load in the tapered area of the stick and is meant to get the puck on net as fast as possible and usually when you are within a close vicinity of the net.

Best suited for: SLOT-SCORING FORWARDS.

Popular Low-Kick stick lines: Bauer Vapor, CCM Ribcor, Warrior Covert.

MID-KICK POINT

Mid-kick point sticks are designed for power players, the types of shooters that love to unleash fully loaded wrist shots as well as hard slap shots. This type of profile compresses and bends mainly in the middle of the shaft and is meant to provide full powered shots for players shooting from greater lengths.

Best suited for: POWER FORWARDS & ATTACKING DEFENSMEN.

Popular Mid-Kick stick lines: Bauer Nexus, Warrior Alpha.

HIGH-KICK POINT

A High-kick point is similar to the Mid-kick point but accentuated and even more specifically designed for hard slap shots and one-timers.

Best suited for: POWER-SHOOTING DEFENSMEN.

Popular High-Kick stick lines: Bauer Supreme, CCM Tacks, Warrior Dynasty (abgesetzt).

VARIABLE-KICK POINT

Some manufacturers of hockey sticks claim to offer a Variable-Kick Point stick - one that flexes depending on how a player loads it (where he positions his lower hand). This variable flex profile would allow a player to make maximum use of stick's flex for any type of shot.

Popular Variable-Kick stick lines: CCM RBZ (abgesetzt), CCM Jetspeed.

CCM Stick Lines

 

5. WHAT IS THE RIGHT HOCKEY STICK HEIGHT?

Jeremy Rupke of How to Hockey provides a good general guideline - standing strait up looking forward with stick in front of the body (stick's toe on the ground) the stick should be somewhere between your chin and your nose (usually at your upper lip). When on skates it should be up to around your chin.

How long should a hockey stick be?

What type of player would want to use a shorter/longer stick?

Short

"The Dangler" – Hockey players who are good at stickhandling tend to prefer shorter sticks. Using a short stick makes it a bit easier to move the puck around because the stick will be lighter (less material) and a shorter stick is easier to move around the body. Many players who are good at stickhandling tend to bring the puck in close to their body in order to protect the puck while pulling a deke. A short stick makes it easier to perform these moves.

Average

"The Grinder" - Grinders like to get in the corners, dig for pucks, and cause trouble in front of the net. With an average length stick you can still easily handle the puck, and also make poke checks, intercept passes, and hammer off a slapshot.

Long

"The Defensemen" – It is common for defensemen to have the longest sticks on the team. A long hockey stick gives you a longer reach, which makes it easier for you to poke the puck away from attackers, intercept passes, and stop a puck before it leaves your end. Defensemen are also known to have hard slapshots, and a longer stick (with the right technique) will provide more power on the slapshots.

Note. While the above points are common in hockey, that does not mean they are absolute truths. Some defensemen use short sticks, while some hockey players who are great with the puck use a longer stick (Marty St. Louis). These tips should help beginner players find a length to start at, but don’t be afraid to try something new!

Personal preference is super important! Make sure to ask the question: does it feel good in my hands? That being said the typical guidelines are there for a reason, and unless you’re playing at an elite level it’s unlikely that you’re helping your game much by using an unusually short or long stick. Experienced players on the other hand know the exact length they like and are thrown off by change.

How should I measure the exact Height of my Stick?

To measure the exact height of your stick, lean it next to a wall standing straight up. Measure from the floor up to the top end of the stick. This is also the way we measure and state the height values of individual sticks in our online shop.

How to measure a Stick's Height

How do Stick Manufacturers measure the Length of their (New) Sticks?

Stick manufacturers use a different way of measuring the length of their sticks. First of all, they are stated in Inches, not centimeters, which leave European customers confused. And secondly, they don't measure the sticks from the bottom up but from the point where the shaft meets the blade to the end of the shaft, making it even more confusing - where is the exact point the shaft breaks into the blade?

How stick manufacturers measure the length of the stick

Different Stick manufacturers offer different standard lengths of their (New) Retail sticks. See the standard Inch values converted into Metric values and the corresponding full-height value below.

   Inch   Metric Full-Height
Bauer
60"   152,40 cm 165 cm
CCM 62"   157.48 cm 169 cm
Warrior 60"   152,40 cm 165 cm
 

6. BLADE CURVE OR PATTERN

Back in the days, there was no problem for a player to choose the right blade pattern, because they simply was no choice. Sticks were all straight blades up until the 1960's when Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull popularized a curved blade. Today's blades come in so many different shapes and sizes to choose from, that it can cause you a major headache unless you learn what and how to choose from.

There are many ways to describe and categorize blade patterns. The two most important are curve type and face angle.

CURVE TYPE

Curve Type-options are heel curves, mid curves, and toe curves. Each of these gets their names from the starting point of where the curvature of the blade begins.

Hockey Stick Curve Types

Heel Curve

Heel curves are most popular with players who take mostly slap shots, one-timers and like to sit in front of the net and deflect pucks. Since the blade curves at the heel it creates a large flat surface which creates a big sweet spot for off center shots. Defensemen will reap the benefits when they are being pressured at the point and need to get the puck on net. It will also help in one-timers since you have a better chance at getting more "wood on it". A heel curve is not the optimum curve for stickhandling.

Mid Curve

This curve starts in the middle of the blade and makes a nice smooth pattern. A mid curve is the all around do everything pattern. It is great for puck control, backhands, shooting and passing. Since it does everything well it does not do any task great. For instance the heel curve will be better for slap shots and one-timers and the toe curve offers exceptional control to pull off sick moves. The mid curve is the most popular of all curves and it is the best starting point for beginners.

Toe Curve

If your goal is to pull off the sickest moves possible, the toe curve is for you. With the blade curving at the toe you are able to cup the puck more for exception control. The toe curve is also great for quick shots as it pulls the puck to the center of the blade. The toe curve offers exception control to pull off sick moves. This is the toughest blade to use. Your backhand will suffer and it is not great for slap shots and one-timers.

FACE ANGLE

Face Angle-This is described to be how much loft/slope a blade has. We distinguish 3 different types of loft: closed, slight, and open. With the closed blade, notice how the face or front side of the blade cannot be seen when looking straight down at it. Looking at the open blade face, you can see how you the front of the blade face has been made more visible with a kind of twisting of the blade, this creates more loft. The more loft a blade has, it becomes easier to achieve lift or elevation to a puck.

Hockey Stick Curve Openness

Closed

A closed face will give you more control of your shot and it will be easier to keep it low on longer shots. A closed face will also aid in stickhandling and backhand shots.

Slightly Open

This face angle aids in getting the puck in the air. It is the most widely used face angle of the three. It will help with slap shots, deflections and saucer passes.

Open

If you need some help getting some air under the puck, you may want to try a blade that has an open face. An open face will also help chip the puck up quickly in scrambles in front of the net.

OTHER PROPERTIES

Blade patterns can also differ by Curve Depth (Slight to Deep), Toe Shape (Round to Square), Length (Short to Long) and finally Lie (which we describe in a separate topic below). These aspects are slightly less important than Curve Type or Face angle but still enhance certain functionalities of the blade and add more detail to the blade selection process.

Slight – A slight curve depth gives you an advantage with slap shots, one-timers, deflections and backhand shots due to its large flat surface. The disadvantages of a slight curve are that it is hard to raise the puck and harder to control the puck as it really does not cup the puck at all.

Moderate – The moderate curve depth is the most popular. It will help with puck control, raising the puck on slap shots, backhand shots, one-timers and deflections. It may affect backhands some but not the extent of a deep curve.

Deep – If you’re desire is to pull off ankle breaking moves then you may want to try a deep curve since it cups the puck for increased control. The deep curve will also help you hit the top shelf from close quarters. Since the curve is deep it makes it much harder for backhand shots, slap shots, one-timers and deflections. The deep curve is not a good beginner’s pattern.

Round – A round toe will aid in pulling off some more advanced moves and allow for greater puck control.

Square – A square toe has a bigger surface area so it make it easier in receiving passes, taking one-timers and collecting the puck off the boards.

STANDARD OR RETAIL BLADE PATTERNS

Stick manufacturers have come to offer certain standard or retail blade patterns that have been most widely adopted by professional and amateur hockey players for the way they combine several of the above described aspects. Choosing one such standard blade pattern should be the first step of every novice player. Once you find yourself comfortable with the preferred standard blade pattern you can go forward and experiment with Custom blade patterns that deviate from the standard ones by accentuating a certain (non-standard) property. This is essentially what PRO players tend to do.

Heel- to Toe-Cuve Comparison Chart

As noted above there are different ways to categorize blade patterns. The above chart lists the most popular standard/retail blade patterns offered by the biggest stick manufacturers based on their Curve Type. This should give you a good enough starting point. To learn more details about the individual patterns consult our Blade Pattern Comparison Chart.

CUSTOM CURVES/BLADE PATTERNS

Professional hockey players usually start using a standard/retail blade pattern and eventually begin to adapt/customize it to their own individual preferences and objectives. This possibility is rarely offered to amateur hockey players or is simply too expensive to be considered an option for non professionals.

By refurbishing hockey sticks from professional hockey players we can finally offer amateur hockey players the chance to choose from hundreds of customized curves/blade patterns. If you feel dissatisfied with your standard/retail blade pattern and/ or you want to step to the next level then visit our broad selection of CUSTOM CURVE refurbished sticks and search for the one that could most improve your play. Don't be affraid to experiment. You might try several options until you finally settle for THE ONE.

If you have any additional questions regarding blade patterns, send us an email or click on the Webchat window below and consult our assistant.

 

7. HOCKEY STICK LIE

The lie of a hockey stick determines how the blade is angled in relation to the shaft of the stick. While you are playing it's important that the bottom of the blade lies flat on the surface in correlation to your height and your skating style.

Hockey Stick Lie

The lie can range from 7.0 to 4.0. A higher lie is great for taller players, or for players who skate more upright. A low lie is perfect for shorter players or players who skate low and forward pitched.

Correct VS Incorrect Stick LIE

The easiest way to identify if the stick lie you are using is correct, is to examine the wear of the hockey tape on your blade. If the tape is wearing closer to the toe of the blade, you should consider using a lie that is more upright or higher. If the tape is wearing closer to the heel of the blade, you should consider using a lie that is flatter or lower.

The Retail/Standard blade patterns come with a pre-determined lie (see the chart below). 

    LIE
Bauer P02 Kessler (Lindstrom) 7
  P91A Staal (Drury) 6
  P92 Backstrom (Sakic) 6
  P88 Kane 6
  PM9 Stamkos 5
CCM P19, P29 (Sakic) 5.5
  P28 5
Easton E3 Hall (Sakic) 5.5
  E4 Zetterberg 5
  E6 Parise (Drury) 5.5
  E28 5
Warrior W01 Lupul 5
  W02 Lindstrom 6
  W03 Henrique(Sakic) 6
  W05 Granlund (Drury) 6
  W28 Yakupov 5
  W88 Zetterberg 5

Since professional players have the option to choose their preferred lie just like any other property of the stick, we are able to offer options in our online shop that are usually not available to an amateur hockey player. Make sure to browse through our offer. You will notice that the sticks/blade patterns with LIEs other than standard are clearly designated.

Watch this video from Hockeywarehouse to find out why choosing the right lie can be important for a player:

 

8. HOCKEY STICK SHAFT PROFILE

Although all hockey stick shafts may look like they are the same, each line of sticks actually offers a slightly different shaft profile. We generally  divide them into "SQUARE", "ROUND" and "MID" shaft profiles.

The benefits of each type of shaft profile could be described as this: SQUARE shaft profile offers a stronger hold of the stick and can thus maximize shot power while a ROUND shaft profile gives the player a more nuanced, natural and flexible hold of the stick thus increasing puck control and potentially accuracy of the shot. A MID Shaft profile falls in between both extremes.

 Stick Line Shaft Profile Type
Shaft Profile Specifications
 Bauer
   
 Nexus MID  Slightly rounded corners, concave sides, convex top & bottom
 Supreme SQUARE  Slightly rounded corners, concave sides, straight top & bottom
 Vapor ROUND  Rounded Corners, concave Sides, convex top & bottom
 CCM    
 Jetspeed MID  Rounded corners, concave sides, convex top & bottom
 Ribcor SQUARE  Slightly rounded corners, straight sides, straight top & bottom
 Tacks ROUND  Rounded corners, straight sides, convex top & bottom
 Warrior    
 Alpha SQUARE  Slightly rounded corners, straight sides, convex top & bottom
 Covert SQUARE  Slightly rounded corners, straight sides, convex top & bottom

Professional players can choose every single aspect of their custom stick so a »Pro Stock« stick can have a different shaft profile than the Retail version of the same stick. 

 

9. HOCKEY STICK SHAFT FINISH

Most sticks come with two different finishes to the shaft: Grip or Clear (Non-grip). The purpose of adding a Grip coating to the shaft is to optimize the amount of control the player has over the stick with his bottom hand.

While you play, you will notice that your bottom hand will be shifting up and down the stick while you are stick handling: With a Non-grip finish sliding your hands over the shaft is effortless but the set back to not having that grip is that if you don't have a tight enough handle on the stick while shooting, your hand can slip and reduce the amount of power generated from the shot.

The opposite is for a stick with Grip. The grip coating may be too tacky which can inhibit your ability to slide your hands up and down the shaft. The benefit, however, is the extra grip provided locks your bottom hand in place to efficiently generate full power on your shots.

Some manufacturers offer a third option – Matte grip, which is somewhere in between a grip and non-grip finish.

Each manufacturer can provide several variants of Grip (as well as Matte and Non-grip) finishes that are usually only available to Professional hockey players. Retail versions of sticks are usually limited to few basic options (Grip and Non-Grip).

Choosing the right shaft finish is very much a matter of individual preference. If you get the chance try out different  finishes and see how each one can benefit your game.


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