Buying any sporting equipment should be carefully planned, especially when it’s the tool that stands between you and scoring a goal. Even if you are new to the sport, choosing a hockey stick that suits you and feels right is important, as it can be the key to executing defensive and offensive manoeuvres with confidence.
Choosing Your Material
There are two main types of stick: those made with wood and those made of composite. The wooden sticks are said to offer the best feel and be more authentic, whilst the composite ones are more durable and provide better shot power. Many professional hockey players prefer composite, but wood is a favourite of those who are a little more old-school.
Another important consideration is whether you’d prefer to opt for a one-piece stick (OPS) or a two-piece stick. Two-piece sticks provide the option for players to mix and match a blade and shaft that will suit them, whilst the OPS ones are designed to have a shaft response and constant flex point, as there’s no join where the shaft meets the blade.
Regardless of which position you play on the field, the flexibility of your stick is important. The shaft of a stick will be rated between 40 and 110, and the higher the number the more rigid and stiff the shaft. Players who are heavier should always opt for a stiffer shaft that can easily support their weight, whilst lighter players can opt for a more flexible shaft that provides the basis for a more powerful shot. This chart for hockey stick flex can give you the specific flex that is best for your height and weight.
Hockey sticks have curves that are built on three options: face angle, curve depth and curve type. The curve is particularly important to the position played on field, as generally speaking, a defenseman will need to have excellent control and the ability to shoot low and hard, so a slight curve will be beneficial. For forwards, a mid or deep curve is better, as they tend to handle the puck more and take more snapshots than snap shots.
When it comes to choosing between a grip finish and no-grip finish, it’s purely down to a player’s preference as to what works best for them. Some players prefer a stick with a grip finish, as it provides better stability. With a better grip comes better control, and this is essential for any player when engaged in a fast-paced game.
For more experienced players, the clear-finish shafts may be a better option, as there is nothing inhibiting their hands from sliding to the bottom of the stick when required, but it may take some time to become accustomed to playing so freely.
Choosing a stick can be a combination between what works best for you and personal preferences. Don’t be afraid to experiment and decide which option best suits your needs rather than setting your sights firmly on what you believe is the ideal stick based on stats, specs and set expectations.