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Stick is the heart of the game. More than 30% of your performance relies on your stick. Every new player must choose the right stick at the beginning.
Back in 2009, Bruins’ budget for sticks was around $400K. NHL players go through 82 matches in a season. Considering that number, each player requires at least 82 sticks in a season.
These numbers highlight the importance of sticks in hockey. Your stick determines the stance you take in a match. An improper or uncomfortable posture will cause weaker performances.
This article will guide you to choose the right stick for you.
Choosing the Right Type
In the market, you will find different types of sticks. You don’t have to be a genius to choose the right one for you. It depends on your preference and budget.
Let’s look at the types of ice hockey bats.
These are amazing for beginners. A wooden stick weighs around 800 grams. That is twice of a composite stick. If you start learning hockey with these, your handling will get much better.
The second best thing is – these are inexpensive. You will get one of these around $20. It helps the starter to begin a hockey career comfortably without spending much money on the equipment.
The durability of the one-piece wood stick is excellent. Many complain about the blade losing surface while the shaft being as good as new. You can resolve this matter with a simple upgrade in your budget. Go for the fiberglass wood blade stick.
Finally, wood sticks are better for practice and learning. I already said it is best for learners. For professional players, wooden sticks are not suggested. It drops performance after a sequence matches.
Some people call it a blade-shaft combo. These sticks are separable in shaft and blade. Isn’t it mindblowing?
Suppose you brought an expensive composite. Accidentally, it broke from the middle. On the other hand, the blade is still intact. Can you fix that? No, can’t. You can manage to pull the pieces together. But this will not help you on the ground.
Two-part sticks play the magic in these situations. You can customize the shaft or the blade any time soon. You can shuffle the composite shaft with a wood blade.
Very few people complained about the joint. Their complaint was – it loosens after hours of play.
Above 90% of the NHL players use composite sticks. These sticks offer you high performance, great control, and handling.
Composites are the blend of carbon fiber and fiberglass. It makes the stick fabulously lightweight. The weight gets around 400 grams. That is half of a wooden.
The price of composite sticks is higher than other hockey sticks. It may raise around $200 -$300. Nowadays, manufacturers are trying to minimize the cost as much as they can.
The only down part of composite sticks should be its durability. These don’t last as long as the wooden sticks.
Right Stick Length
A proper stick length enhances handling. If you hand a senior stick to a 5-year-old child, will he be able to handle it comfortably? You already imagine his struggle.
This happens when you pick an unsynced stick size. The standard size should be reaching your chin bottom. How would you measure a hockey stick? Follow four simple steps.
- Stand straight,
- Hold the stick perpendicular to the ground and parallel to you,
- Only toe head of the stick should be touching the ground,
- Follow the end of the grip.
According to the experts, the grip end should be between the nose and chin. It is the proper length. The stick that goes past your nose is long. The one below the chin is short.
There is no ideal size. You can prefer short or long, depending on the style of your play. The forwards prefer short sticks for excellent handling. Conversely, the defenders go for long sticks. It helps them to pull a puck from the opponents.
It is the measurement indicating the bend of a stick. The higher number you go, the stiffer you stick you get.
A 100 flex can bend up to 1 inch. There is no ideal flex for any player. You have to try out different flexes to find your proper balance.
A stiff stick will help you to make harder shots. Besides, lower flex sticks produce delayed shots with lesser power. You can try to dodge the defender and goalie.
The angle between the shaft and the blade is the lie. A number 5 lie has an angle of 135 degrees.
Lie varies on your stance. Some stance styles may require a higher lie. Oppositely, some stance might need a smaller lie.
How would you understand the proper lie? Just take the hockey stance. Observe the toe bottom. If it lies flat, it is a correct lie on that stance.
The taller players need a lesser lie. If you love to keep the stick near you, a smaller lie is a better option. Strikers love to use sticks with a lower lie.
On the other hand, a bigger lie will allow you to reach more distance. Defensemen prefer a wider lie.
The grip is crucial. Your performance can hinder due to poor grip. The curve is also useful. If you want to dribble or hit a curved shot, you should find a suitable curve.
NHL has a limit of 19mm or ¾ inch curve.
There is no textbook for the right stick or wrong stick. The discussion ends with your preferences only. The more comfortable you get, the better you can perform.
You should combine your preference and tactics to choose the best stick. It may take time in the beginning. Remember, a good start will lead you to a prosperous career.