Much like a golf club, choosing the correct hockey stick that best suits you is vital to your performance on the ice. Many factors lend hand to which stick will work best for you and your playstyle, and it is wildly important that every hockey player know which stick to choose for themselves. Numerous factors go in to choosing the right stick, including:
- Composite vs. Wood
Hockey sticks are typically made from one of two materials: composite, and wood. Traditionally, hockey sticks have always been made from wood, however with advancements in carbon fiber, newly developed composite sticks are now made readily available on the market. Composite sticks offer a wide range of benefits over a wooden stick, as the material they are made out of is significantly lighter than wood, making the sticks more maneuverable and less burdensome to skate with (which is particularly important for new players). In addition, composite sticks are longer lasting than wooden sticks, as they are able to handle much higher loads of pressure before breaking, which is important on the ice. Wooden sticks are typically cheaper, and many players purchase them for practice use only, however they can still be used competitively if that is a player’s personal preference. However, composite sticks outrank wooden sticks in most key areas of performance, meaning that unless otherwise desired, the composite sticks are the best choice for most players.
- Left- or Right- Handed
Also like golf clubs, hockey sticks are made in both left- and right- handed forms. For those who are sure which way they predominantly hold the stick, choosing left- or right-handed is easy, however for those who are ambidextrous and can use both hands to play, it is best to consult an expert for assistance in choosing the properly handed stick.
- Stick Size
Just as important as the handedness of a stick, the stick size is also vital to a player’s performance on the ice. Children under the age of 7 should be using a Youth sized stick, with kids 7 and up using either a Junior or Intermediate sized stick. At age 13, most youth players are old enough to move to a senior sized stick, which is large enough for most adults to use.
In addition to size, hockey sticks are also made with a certain flex. The flex refers to the stiffness of the hockey stick, with Whippy Flex being the least stiff option, Traditional being the typical stiffness found in a stick, and Extra Stiff being appropriate for those who appreciate a more rigid flex option. When starting out, most new players find the Whippy Flex to be the best option to learn with, however experienced players will typically prefer a stiffer option.
- Price Tag
The final aspect of choosing the right stick we are going to cover is the price point. Hockey sticks can range wildly in price, from under $100 to over $1000. Before purchasing a stick, check online or visit one of the many hockey gear shops in Saint John. By telling a clerk what your price range is and the basic outline of what you are looking for in a stick, they can point you in the right direction. Many players are starting to shop online for their sticks, but many still feel that it is only right to try the stick out in the store before purchasing to ensure a good fit.
There are more factors which determine the right stick for you, however these are the basic things you should look for when making a purchase. If you still have questions, Saint John has many shops which sell hockey sticks, and their staff will be more than happy to help with any questions you may have.