Hockey's one of our favorite sports here at SidelineSwap, and we've got a handful of former collegiate players on our staff here at HQ. They can definitely attest to the importance of having a quality gear setup; in the same breathe, they'll be the first to tell you that brand new, top-shelf hockey gear can come at a high cost.
Hockey sticks are one of the most important -- and most expensive -- items you need to play the game. If cost is a concern for you, buying a used hockey stick is a great alternative. We asked one of our in-house hockey experts, Joe, to give us a few tips on what to look for when buying a used hockey stick.
Question: How can you tell if a blade is too damaged to use?
Joe's advice: If there are visible cracks in the blade where the inside core foam is visible, the blade is probably past its prime. Once water gets inside of the blade, the graphite particles break down and this can weaken the blade and cause it bend or warp. Light, surface level dings and scratches on the blade, however, are normal.
In the comparison above, the crack in the blade on the left isn't deep enough for water to seep in. This means the stick still has some life left. The blade on the right, however, has a pretty significant crack that would most likely allow water damage to occur.
Question: What’s the average shelf life of a hockey stick?
Joe says: If you're wondering whether or not a stick is too old or too past its prime, you should consider the following:
- Construction: is the used stick that you're looking to buy a top-of-the-line stick, or a mid-level stick?
- Position: this matters because different positions call for different styles of play. For example, defenders tend to take a lot of slap shots, which could wear out the blade more quickly; centers, on the other hand, take hundreds of faceoffs a season, meaning their shaft and blade are going to undergo more wear and tear than other positions.
- Level of play: hockey players who play in college or at an elite level will undoubtedly play more frequently than younger, or more novice players. Most collegiate or junior players will play so often that they may go through multiple sticks in a given season.
With all of these things in mind, we suggest you ask the following questions when you're exploring buying a used hockey stick:
1. What position did you (the seller) play?
2. What level of hockey do you play at/how often did you use this stick?
3. Is this stick model considered a top-tier option or is it a mid-level stick?