Playing with the right hockey equipment can really improve your game. Whether it is the skates, stick, or even the helmet, choosing hockey gear is an important decision. For that reason, if you are just choosing a hockey stick for the first time, you will have to be sure that you are making the best choice possible.
This is what you need to know to get started.
Types of Hockey Sticks
To begin with, if you are newer to hockey, you might question the type of material that your stick should be made out of. When it comes to looking at composite versus wood sticks, it is ultimately a preference. Professional players, however, exclusively use composite sticks. We asked hockey experts at Hockey Pursuits on their recommendations for the use of composite hockey sticks as well, and they are:
- More durable
- Offer better flex
- More individual customization
- Offer a better power shot
Composite sticks use the latest hockey technology and have more individual options than wood sticks do, making them the better choice. Wood sticks are, however, more affordable. Yet even at a lower cost, they are more likely to break on you and more likely to need to be replaced.
The flex rating of your shaft is a completely individual decision. The flex refers to the amount of force that you have to put on the stick in order for it to bend. This pressure rating is measured in pounds, so an 80 flex rating means 80 pounds of pressure is what it would take to bend.
When you are shopping for your stick and considering the flex rating, the best rule of thumb is to go with a flex rating that is half of your body weight. A 180 pound person should opt for a 90 flex rating. Children buying their sticks for the first time will have a lower rating, more likely 20 or 30. Theirs is not as heavily guided by weight, but more by age.
Composite sticks are lighter than wooden sticks, but they even have a variety of weight choices. The lighter the stick is, the less energy is required to move a puck and the easier it will be to move around the ice efficiently. Heavier sticks might be more cumbersome, but they also have the ability to make slap and power shots with extra force. The heavier sticks are also more durable and can take heavier hits.
You might think that the heavier stick is the way to go to get the extra force you are looking for, but if your stick is too heavy, you will be focusing more on carrying it than you will be on the game itself. A heavy stick can be cumbersome and slow you down, which is why more players will opt for a lightweight stick. It is entirely personal, however, and you should be able to tell whether you can easily carry a heavy stick for a whole game without struggle.
How you Play
How you are as a player can also affect the type of stick that you want to go with. Some players prefer an all-around stick that works regardless of your position, whereas other players would rather have a high performance stick to get them through the game.
More all-around hockey sticks will have a sensible flex rating and a low kick-point. This will allow the stick to be versatile enough to make passes and take shots. These sticks are lightweight with a reliable puck feel.
If you are more of an aggressive or a competitive player, you will want a high performance stick instead. High performance hockey sticks are designed to give you the most effective energy transfer that you can get. They are often made out of ultra-thin carbon fiber so they are lightweight, but are still durable enough to take a beating.
The position that you play can also affect the type of stick that you buy, depending on whether you are more likely to take power shots, play defense, or even if you like to play multiple positions.
Remember: When it comes to buying your first hockey stick, you do not want to just rush into your purchase. You should already have skated on a team to know how you play so you can select an appropriate type of hockey stick.
Every feature should be considered, which means you are not going to have the same stick as every person on your team. Sticks are built for variety, allowing them to be matched individually. Choose wisely.