How To Buy Hockey Sticks
This ice hockey stick overview is the first in a series of writing about ice hockey sticks. I did a lot of research in my quest to provide the specifications of my own custom hockey sticks that I could send to ice hockey stick manufacturers to custom build for me. I wanted the ultimate performance stick for my own comfort and style of ice hockey. Sticks are a common subject in the online hockey community. Researching wasn’t easy because most articles available are poorly written, contradictory in technical and characteristic specs, and based mostly upon personal assumptions and opinions of the authors without much research, and in many cases not based on much experience.
Why would I want to pay so much to have my own custom hockey sticks?
Other than the players themselves, the most important item is the stick. Well, unless we’re talking about how to buy hockey sticks specifically for use on ice – they would then be third; skates are kind of important. Since most of what matters between me and the opposing net is what I hold in my hands, I want my stick to be mine, not Ovechkin’s. Ovechkin does his things and I do mine, though not as well as he does his. You do your stuff on ice and have to determine your own buy hockey stick requirements. Yours are different than mine and Ovechkin’s too. Does that mean you need custom hockey sticks?
Out of my experience, and my research to design my own custom hockey stick instead of worrying about how to buy hockey sticks off the shelf, came the following article subjects for you to research your purchases:
Don’t Buy Hockey Stick Facts
Why pay for the facts? To find and buy the right stick for you, NHI is giving you everything you need to know about how to buy hockey sticks in this comprehensive series. No charge! With the right stick (or left stick!) hopefully soon you’ll be better than Ovie.
Buy Hockey Stick Basics
Both off the shelf and custom hockey sticks have a top and a bottom, and there’s something rather important at each end. The blade of the stick at the bottom end of the shaft is the part of the stick that touches the puck for stickhandling, passing, and shooting (sometimes hooking!). I told you this was the basics! By the way, the blade should be flat on the ice at most times, or whatever surface you’re playing on. The butt end is at the opposite end of the shaft where your top hand holds the stick. There isn’t much to know about the butt end except how and why to tape it. Read about How to Tape a Hockey Stick here, it covers more than just the butt end.
Read in depth about how to buy hockey sticks by clicking the into the above Table Of Contents for this Ice Hockey Stick Series.
Buy Hockey Sticks
Which is the best hockey stick for you?
Hockey players should understand themselves and what their needs are before trying to understand various ice hockey stick characteristics. Among other things, you should acknowledge: If you’re a forward, a defender, or a goalie; a play maker, checker, passer, or sniper; or if you are a tricky deke and dangler. You may fill many rolls and have to pick a generic stick to fill many needs. Also consider where you’re headed (what you want to be able to do). You might be on defense now but want to be a stickhandler with dekes and dangles, or a sniper soon, and are practicing at it hard. In that case, maybe you’ll need a twig for defense and one to practice other things.
In stores, try a variety of ice hockey sticks before making a selection. Factors such as weight; shaft shape, texture, circumference, length, flex; blade size, shape, curve, lie, face, tape; and materials used in construction of the stick and blade can either improve upon or detract from anyone’s game in the sport of ice hockey. Stick manufacturer or Brand Name ice hockey sticks mean nothing and many are made in the same place anyway.
Be aware of the shaft height and circumference to buy. Hockey sticks are categorized in youth, intermediate, and adult sizes. Hand size is considered in young players’ sticks where the circumference of the shaft is smaller. Don’t buy an adult stick and cut it way down, because that changes the intended dynamics of the stick, such as but not limited to the flex.
Go for the composition that suits your size and strength (weight and dimensions of stick), type of play (position, style, level), and wallet (price).
Buy the Best Hockey Stick For You
Things to note when you’re ready to buy. Hockey sticks should be tested in the store for feel and function, then tried out. If it’s not right in a game, then note what you want to improve and choose differently next time. Once you find what works for you, stick with it. Note all of its specs and shop for them repeatedly. The specs of your best hockey stick might be available under a different name later, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the best. Hockey sticks specs are all that matter. It is advisable to pick the best hockey stick that works in most ways for you, so that you don’t have to think when the time comes to replace it. You’ll know what you need and will be able to just go buy. Hockey stick replacement is inevitable, so don’t buy the most expensive one. Pick one that does what you need it to do and can be replaced in a week if necessary.
Steps To Buy Your Best Hockey Stick
- Find the right Size: Adult, Intermediate, Youth.
- Find the right Curve: Left, Right, Straight.
- Find a good Flex: Lean slightly on a stick to determine its flex for your strength.
- Choose a Blade: Size, shape, amount of curve.
- Determine the Lie: Stand the way you’d position your body in a game based on your position and style. The blade should be flat on the ground. Lie will change when you crouch or straighten up, so go for your average stance. Hold your had where the cut will be at the top of the shaft, because length will change Lie also.
Ice Hockey Stick Storage
As a side note, I’d like to add that it is not advisable to store ice hockey sticks in the garage or a car in the summer (or at any time in southern parts of the country) because of the heat. Keep sticks indoors when not in use. Basically, if you remain comfortable in an environment for hours at a time, so will your ice hockey sticks.
Extreme heat can dry out wooden sticks rendering them less flexible and easier to break. Prolonged heat can cause composite sticks to become more brittle and even make blades come unglued. Composite stick blades that are different plies glued together can split and separate in heat.