The most successful hockey players look at their hockey sticks as natural extensions of their arms. For the player to effectively control the puck, the stick should be well aligned with the size, strength and skills of the player. There is a wide variety of hockey sticks depending on size, construction material and flexibility. A stick well suited to you as a player helps in accurate passing and consistent scoring.
This buying guide examines the advantages and limitations of different materials used in the construction of hockey sticks. There are a number of considerations to make when choosing a hockey stick. This guide covers such considerations and includes information on how to search for the right hockey stick in the market.
Types of hockey sticks
In the market, there is a wide variety of hockey sticks. Apart from the original wood hockey stick, today`s hockey sticks are made of fibreglass, graphite, titanium, aluminium and Kevlar. These hockey sticks are lighter.
Wood sticks are generally heavy. The advent of lighter and hollow hockey sticks has made wood hockey sticks nearly obsolete. They are not flexible and can break easily. They are also prone to warping when exposed to moisture. Though wood hockey sticks are cheap, they may not be a good choice for you.
Fibreglass hockey sticks
This type of hockey sticks has a wood core which is wrapped with fibreglass to increase its strength and durability. Fibreglass hockey sticks are a simple improvement of wood hockey sticks.They are the least expensive in the composite options. They are also very heavy and least durable.
If you are shopping for a more durable hockey stick, fibreglass hockey sticks may not be a good choice for you.
Aluminium hockey sticks are more flexible and durable as compared to wood and fibreglass hockey sticks. They are slightly more expensive than wood sticks.
Titanium hockey sticks
Titanium hockey sticks are strong, light and affordable. They incorporate blades made of high density carbon fibreglass foam core. This reduces the vibration inherent to titanium hockey sticks.
Kevlar hockey sticks
Kevlar is the same material used to make bullet proof vests. Kevlar hockey sticks are light and very strong. They are more expensive than graphite hockey sticks.
They are not prone to warping like wood hockey sticks when exposed to moisture.
Graphite hockey sticks
These sticks may be purely made of graphite, or a mixture of graphite and other materials like fibreglass. As the percentage of graphite increases in the material used to make the hockey stick, so does the price. A higher percentage of graphite indicates a lighter stick and a lower percentage indicates a heavier stick. Though graphite sticks give the best response and feel to the player, these sticks can be damaged easily.
Graphite hockey sticks use replaceable blades of varying composition and quality. This allows the player some flexibility to experiment with different blades.
Factors to consider when purchasing hockey stick
This refers to the angle between the blade and the shaft. It ranges from four to eight. Greater lie indicates low angle and the lower the lie, the greater the angle. If you are a tall and more upright skater, a stick with a higher lie is the best for you. If you like skating in a more bent over attitude, go for a hockey stick with a lower lie.
Examine a stick already in use to determine which lie is good for you. The wear pattern on the base of the blade should be close to seven. If the front or the toe of the blade is too thin, the lie is too low. For excessively worn stick heel, the lie is too high.
This is the measure of relative stiffness of a hockey stick. Its number is stamped onto the shaft. It ranges from 40 to 112. As the number increases, so does the stiffness of the stick. Small and light players go for low to medium flex sticks while larger players prefer more stiff hockey sticks. Defenders tend to take more and strong slap shots hence they need hockey sticks with greater stiffness. Forwards tend to use their wrists more when playing hence they need more flexible shafts
Generally the size of hockey sticks ranges from 46 inches to 63 inches in length. For defensive players, longer hockey sticks are the best option. Defensive players are advised to use shorter sticks for better puck handling.
There is a wide variety of grip finishes ranging from tacky coatings to abrasive grainy textures. A grip finish reduces the tendency of hands slipping on the shaft. Before buying any hockey stick, try out the options you have so as to determine which grip finish is best for you.
If you want to play the goalie position, you need a totally different hockey stick. A goalie hockey stick should be heavy, bigger, and always made of wood. The maximum blade width should be 3.5 inches and the length limited to 15.5 inches. A goalie hockey stick should have a lie ranging from 11 to 15.