Hockey sticks have evolved a ton over time. From the early days where all players -- even though pros -- were only using wooden twigs, to now where we have the lightest composite sticks the game has ever seen. Wooden sticks are still a viable option today, but it’s important to consider the various options of hockey sticks available to you before making a purchase. In addition to material, you'll also want to take into account a few key metrics: stick length, flex, and blade pattern.
Hockey Stick Length
Like most aspects of a hockey gear, hockey stick length is partially based on preference and partially based on your height/size. At the professional level, many players prefer sticks that don’t follow traditional length guidelines. If you’re not quite at the NHL level yet, it’s best to follow certain rules when determining your stick length. A good starting point for any aspiring player is to find a stick that reaches your chin when you’ve got skates on, or that reaches your nose when you’re in shoes.
As another quick tidbit, it should be noted that shorter sticks are best for stickhandling, whereas longer sticks will give you greater reach and typically produce more powerful slap shots.
What is Hockey Stick Flex?
The next thing that’s important to consider when choosing your stick is flex. Hockey stick flex refers to the measurement of how flexible or stiff a hockey stick is when force is applied to it. The main thing that will help you determine your ideal stick flex is your bodyweight. Additionally, different flexes are better suited for certain positions.
Here’s a helpful chart to consult when considering the wide array of flex options:
Hockey Stick Pattern
Hockey players know that sticks come either left-handed or right-handed. But beginners probably aren’t aware of how things like lie and curve can lend themselves to your style of play.
The majority of hockey stick blades are not perfectly straight. On the contrary, most blades have some degree of curve to them. From brand to brand, there are a number of different curve patterns that you can choose from. The three most popular blade curves today are defined by where the actual curve begins: toe curves, mid curves and heel curves. Looking for the perfect stick for toe drags? Sort by "toe curve" under the Pattern filter on our hockey sticks page. If you're a beginner, we would recommend not experimenting with any curves that are too drastic. We say a straighter curve is your best bet if you're new to the game.
The lie of the hockey stick is the angle between the blade of the stick and the shaft. For beginners, the best lie is the one that places the stick’s blade evenly and centered on the ice, not just on the toe or heel.
Types of Sticks
Wooden sticks are what we all tend to picture when we think of a traditional hockey stick. They’ve got a lot of upside. They’re cheap, durable and often give you the most authentic “feel” of the puck on the ice. On the down side, they’re often 2-3 times as heavy compared to their composite stick counterparts.
If you’re craving something a little more high-performance than your grandpa’s wooden CCM, it might make sense to consider adding a composite stick to your collection. There’s a reason why you don’t see wooden sticks at the professional level anymore. Composite sticks are light as a feather, flexible on the ice, and are designed for high-performance players. Composite shafts are generally made from woven carbon fiber and fiberglass blends that come in either one or two-piece models.