How to choose the perfect hockey stick

Left-handed or right-handed, length, flexibility, material, curve and width: there are so many criteria to bear in mind when buying a hockey stick. A simple wooden stick is enough for certain players, but many hockey fans will tell you that every characteristic must be taken into account when choosing a stick so you can optimize your performance on the ice.

This short guide will help you tackle the wide range of options available so you can make an informed choice.

Left-handed or right-handed

This first criterion is obviously the starting point for all players and future players. The orientation of the hockey stick is the first element to consider when making a purchase.

Even though certain athletes consider themselves ambidextrous, you must choose a side when playing hockey: right-handed or left-handed. Therefore, you must ensure that you make the right choice before you start playing.

Material

While we used to carve hockey sticks out of wood, one piece composite sticks are now available. They are made from a much more malleable material than wood.

However, old-school players may prefer the rigidity and weight of a wooden stick. Conversely, players who are used to composite sticks find them lighter and easier to handle. They also have a comfortable grip, whether curved or square, bent or straight.

Wood hockey sticks Composite hockey sticks

Length

As a general rule, you should choose a stick that comes up to between your chin and nose, depending on whether or not you are wearing skates.

However, an experienced athlete may choose a different length depending on the type of game. While an offensive player may prefer a shorter stick, a defenceman may choose a longer stick, depending on the type of play he envisages.

Flexibility and kick point

While some players appreciate the qualities of a fairly flexible shaft, you must also consider the kick point of the stick, i.e., the maximum flex which can be either low, mid or high.

For wide and powerful shots, we suggest a high flex, while a low kick point is better suited to short and fast movements. When it comes to the handle, it is generally recommended to choose a level of flexibility equivalent to a little less than half of its weight.

The blade

There is a very wide range of possibilities when it comes to the curve, tilt angle and thickness of a hockey stick blade. The main point to consider is the contact between the bottom of the blade and the ice.

Therefore, you must test the stick by taking into account how far you lean into a shot on the ice in order to choose a stick that will give you an optimal contact zone. The tilt angle (lean) depends on the height of the player. The curve of a stick is chosen according to the play. A high curve blade is suitable for shots that require lifting the puck and a straighter blade suits ground shots.

Weighing all these criteria will help you find a stick that suits your game and style, but you should also bear in mind that instinct comes into play when choosing a hockey stick.

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