Buying a Hockey Stick
If you are considering purchasing a new ice hockey or roller hockey stick, it is important to keep your level, height and style of play in mind. Hockey sticks come in both wood and composite materials and with different flex. In this guide we help you find the optimal stick for you.
Having the right hockey stick is essential for your play no matter whether you are playing ice hockey, roller hockey or street hockey. That is why it is important that you do not just buy the first one you see. Keep several factors in mind when doing your research in order to get the right one for you. The most important things to consider are the material of the stick, the flex, your height compared to the stick and which your dominate hand is.
Hockey sticks for ice hockey or roller / street hockey?
How to find the right size stick for you is the same for ice hockey, street and roller hockey, however, you cannot use the same stick for both ice, roller and street hockey. Some sticks are best suited for ice hockey while others are designed for street or roller hockey. Traditionally, wood is better suited for roller hockey, because it is more durable and heavier, but you can easily use a stick made of both wood and composite materials. Notice that if you buy an ice hockey stick and use it for street or roller hockey, the lifespan of the blade will be significantly shortened due to the faster wear of the wooden blade.
Hockey shaft types - wood or composite
Ice hockey or roller hockey sticks are either made of wood or composite materials. Composite means that it is composed of several materials.
- Shafts made of wood are the cheapest but when the blade is worn, the whole stick needs to be replaced. Wooden shafts are also more stiff and heavier than those made of composite materials.
- On sticks made of composite materials (e.g., graphite, carbon fiber, Kevlar or titanium) you can change the blade. The price is usually higher than wooden shafts, but in return you get a more durable shaft that weighs less.
Sizes of Hockey Sticks
There are two basic sizes: Senior sticks and junior sticks.
- Senior hockey sticks are made for adult players who can control a stick that is more stiff, has a bigger blade and is heavier and longer. They have a length from 140 to 158 cm (4'8"-5'3") (shaft alone).
- Junior hockey sticks are made quite slimmer for less weight and more flexibility. They have a length from 116-138 cm (3'10"- 4'7") (shaft alone).
Length - find the right length for your hockey stick
The length of the stick is measured without the blade. In the previous section (Size) you can see which standard sizes there are.
Get the correct length by following these two steps:
- Place your arm along the side of your body and grab the end of the stick while wearing your skates. Bend your arm slightly while still keeping it close to your body. If the toe of the blade points a little upward, the length is correct.
- Hold your stick vertically in front of you with the blade toe on the ground and the shaft pointing towards your chin. You can then find the right length of the shaft:
- With skates on: The end of the stick cannot reach above your chin.
- Without skates on: The end of the stick cannot reach above the tip of your nose.
Short vs. long hockey stick
A short hockey stick gives you better control while a longer stick gives you a better opportunity for a heavier shot and wider range. That is why many offensive players prefers a shorter stick, while many defensive players prefers a longer stick.
Tip: Some ice hockey and roller hockey players buy the shaft a little too long so they can cut it down to the right length.
Flex - flexibility and stiffness of the stick
The flex of the stick refers to how flexible or how stiff the hockey stick is. The flex is essential for how much control you will have of the puck and how much power you will have behind your shot. In terms of flex:
- The lower the flex, the more flexible the stick.
- The higher the flex, the stiffer the stick.
Hockey sticks often come in medium flex (85) and up to extra flex (110). With a higher flex you also get a heavier stick which provides more power to your shot.
- Beginners are recommended to use a hockey stick with medium flex in order to have some feeling with the puck; the feeling is easily lost if the stick is too stiff.
- Bigger and stronger players are recommended to use a hockey stick with higher flex in order to use their strength when hitting the puck.
The hockey blade
The blade at the end of the shaft is usually made of wood and from time to time strengthened with other materials such as plastic, fiberglass or carbon fiber. Blades specially made for roller hockey are often made of a composite material of wood/plastic/glasfiber.
Should the stick be to my left or right?
Hockey sticks are labeled as L or R:
- L - for hockey players with the blade on the left side of their body.
- R - for hockey players with the blade on the right side of their body.
Being left or right handed does not have anything to do with whether you should buy a left (L) or right (R) stick. Left and right refer to which side of the body you primarily lead the puck when you play.
To be sure of which your preferred side is, you can grab the stick with both hands and position yourself in the same way as if you were going to shoot the puck.
- You should choose left (L) if you lead the puck at your left side, hold the right hand on top of the stick and have the left hand closest to the blade.
- You should choose right (R) if you lead the puck on your right side, hold the left hand on top of the stick and the right hand closest to the blade.