It’s inevitable — your hockey stick, no matter what make or model, will eventually break. They can only take so much abuse and fire off so many shots before something eventually gives. But picking out a new hockey stick — no matter whether you play in an adult “beer” league or in a more advanced, competitive league — is a lot more than just heading to the store and selecting a new one.
Yes, the hockey stick has evolved rapidly since the early days of the game. It’s transformed from all wood makes to aluminum composites with detachable blades and now to one-piece composites that are lighter and offer more power than predecessor models. Hence, there’s a lot to consider when you’re selecting your next stick. Here’s a look at the anatomy of a hockey stick and all of the different features you need to keep in mind when making your next selection. Believe it or not, even a slight change or alteration in anything from the shaft to the blade can either increase performance or force you to adjust your game accordingly.
The hockey stick shaft is composed of a variety of different characteristics, such as kick point, weight and target flex. Here’s a further look at these features, and more, when it comes to the stick shaft.
- Shape: Tapered, concave, flat — there’s more than just one standard shaft shape.
- Finish: You can always do a nice tape job on the handle of the stick to enhance the grip, but there’s also gloss, tack and texture pattern options that can offer hockey players a built-in sort of grip right on the stick.
- Kick point: The location of the stick shaft that flexes most. Back in the day, sticks had a mid-kick point because the shaft was universally stiff from top to bottom. But today, kick points vary greatly due to the composite makeup of sticks. There are still mid-kick sticks that flex near the center, but there are also low-kick sticks that flex near the blade. Low-kick sticks are ideal for players when they need to get a hard shot off quickly. On more advanced pro stock models, kick point can be further dialed in and specified based on the customizable nature of the hardware.
- Weight: Sticks today are low in weight, but heavy in performance. How heavy of a stick are you comfortable playing with? They can be customized down to the gram these days.
- Flex: Flex is another area where today’s hockey stick vastly outperforms the sticks of old, and it’s another area that can be customized down to a “T.”
From curve type to the blade lie, there are a lot of different advanced blade characteristics that can boost a player’s performance:
- Curve type: Gone are the days of just toe, mid and heel curves. Now, curves can be customized down to the millimeter based on player preference.
- Blade lie: Get more specific than the half increments you’d find in the store — this is another area that can be customized.
- Toe shape: Blades aren’t just available in a round or square toe shape anymore — there are no restrictions.
- Face angle and curve depth: How open or closed do you prefer your face angle? Want a curve depth that’s deeper than just “slight,” “moderate” or “deep?” These features are also customizable.
- Blade length, weight and finish: These are all other blade options that can be customized based on player preference, unlike the stock product that is found in the store.
As you can see, the hockey stick isn’t just a piece of wood used for batting around a puck — it’s an advanced piece of technology that’s able to help players shoot better, pass better and stickhandle better than they’ve ever done before. And these advanced customizable options can help you take your game to that next level, whether you’re playing in a 30-and-up rec league or skating competitively.
Here is an inforgraphic to sum it all up nicely:
So which type of hockey stick would be right for you?