How to Buy Ice Hockey Stick
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Buying the right hockey stick can become confusing. Here are a few key ideas to keep in mind:
* The player should be able to easily pick up the stick while wearing gloves.
* The stick should come up to the chin or mouth of the player when they are wearing skates. It's better to have a stick that is too short than too long.
* When handling the stick, the player should be able to easily move the butt end of the stick across their body.
It's important for each player to find the correctly sized stick that works best for them.
Size is important; a stick that is either too large or too small will causes problems for the player during play.
A stick that is too large will be hard to control. While a stick that is too small hinders the player's reach and power during play.
There are some basic rules to follow when choosing stick size, keeping in mind that some modifications to stick length may give the player an advantage.
The general rule for beginners is choosing a hockey stick that complements the size of their body.
One way to measure this is by having the player put on their skates and stand with the blade end of the stick on the floor.
The butt end of the hockey stick should measure up between the chin and nose.
If not wearing skates, the butt end of the stick should reach to at least the nose.
Junior hockey players should usually be playing with sticks that measure from 46 to 54 inches while adult players are looking for a measurement of 56 to 63 inches.
Players who are more advanced will want to choose their hockey sticks based on more that just a few of the standards mentioned above.
Stick length for advanced players is much more dependant on their own comfort and the way they like to play the game.
One important thing to keep in mind is that the stick needs to be short enough to be able to catch those passes that land right at the player's feet. For advanced players, buying a stick too long is a good option since it can always be cut down to achieve a customized personal fit.
As a general rule, here are some guidelines for players:
* Forwards and offensive players often choose shorter hockey sticks since this allows them better handling of the puck. Shorter sticks are superior for snap and wrist shots. The one thing to keep in mind is that a shorter stick reduces some of the player's reach.
* Defensive players often choose longer hockey sticks since this gives them more reach to lunge out at the puck. Leverage is improved, leading to shots that are strong and powerful. The one drawback of longer sticks is that the player needs to have precision control of the puck or it will become easy to loose it during play.
Hockey players of all skill levels will want to play close attention to the "flex" of the hockey stick. "Flex" is all about the flexibility of the stick, or how much it bends without too much effort.
A stick that is too stiff will decrease the speed of the puck, resulting in an inaccurate shot. Most players will opt for a stick with a light and flexible shaft.
This will give them the optimum feel for handling the stick and for passing and shooting the puck. Most hockey stick manufacturers have three different flex types.
Young hockey players do well with a medium flex stick, which will provide an average weight and stick stiffness. This is good for both passing and shooting the puck.
The correct stick flex for any player should allow for bending of the stick shaft when a slap shot or wrist shot is taken.
You'll find the stick flex number on the top of the shaft.
Flex numbers will range from 45 to 110 and is an indication of the force that is needed to bend the shaft.
A number of 45 will indicate a much softer bend than a flex number of 110, which is very stiff.
The lower the flex number the quicker the release of the puck will be. A higher flex number means the player needs to put more muscle into each shot.
Lie of the Hockey Stick:
The lie of a hockey stick is simply the angle where the shaft of the stick meets the blade of the stick. If the stick has a lower angle, such as 110%, it means the puck is closer to the player's feet.
Higher angles, such as 135%, mean the puck is further away from the feet. Players will need to experiment to try and find a lie that is best for them and the way they skate and carry the puck.
Younger hockey players may want to choose a stick that has a lighter and shorter shaft length, combined with a shorter blade size. This can provide the player with optimum grip.
Curve of the Stick:
Curve sticks are available for either right or left handed shots. It's the lower hand of the stick shaft that decides whether a player shoots right or left. The standard measurement for a curve is ¼ inches, which is ideal for beginning hockey players.
Once a player becomes more experienced they can move up to a stick with a bigger curve of ½ inches.
Types of Hockey Sticks:
There are two different types of hockey sticks:
Traditional Wooden stick and the lighter, Composite sticks.
Wooden sticks are powerful and long-lasting, as well as affordable. However, they break easily and have poor consistency throughout the shaft.
The one advantage of a wooden stick is that players can customize it by cutting it down to the size they want and sanding it to their preferred finish. Composite-shaft hockey sticks will often have wooden blades and are made from a variety of materials such as:
* Fiberglass: A fiberglass stick has really a wooden stick on the interior, with an outer coating of fiberglass.
They are lightweight and affordable, often a great choice for beginning players.
* Aluminum: The aluminum hockey stick is lighter than wood or fiberglass sticks. They are also stronger than wood or fiberglass and use replaceable blades. Aluminum hockey sticks are low priced so are a good choice for beginning players.
* Graphite: Graphite hockey sticks are strong and lightweight. They are more durable than wooden or aluminum sticks.
The entire stick can be made of graphite or the graphite can be used to reinforce a stick that has a wood core. As with the aluminum stick, graphite sticks use reusable blades, though they are more expensive.
* Kevlar: A Kevlar hockey stick is a combination of Kevlar and graphite.
This combination forms a lightweight composite material that is very strong. The shaft itself can be made entirely of Kevlar.
A Kevlar stick is more expensive then other types of sticks, other than one made of titanium.
* Titanium: Titanium hockey sticks are the top of the line. They are an excellent choice for experienced players who want a stick that is lightweight and strong.
Hockey Stick Taping - get a better grip on your stick and the puck
Hockey Stick Brands
There are some well-known and large manufacturers which have been around for years, such as CCM, Sher-Wood, Nike, Reebok, Montreal, Kitchener, Louisville hockey sticks, Easton hockey sticks, Christian Brothers and Bauer hockey sticks, and some relative newcomers to stick making, such as Ballistik Tundra hockey sticks and Mission. There are also some other hockey stick brands on the market that may not be as well known as the larger companies, but are still making some solid hockey sticks. Some of these companies include Trilage, Salming, Busch, Falcon, Ferland, Flarrow, Flite, Fury, Harrow, Innovative, Rebellion and Tour.
Most of the equipment manufacturers such as Bauer, CCM, Christian, Falcon, Ferland, Flarrow, Itech, Kitchener, Montreal, Muskoka, Reebok, Sher-Wood and TPS-Louisville also make a line of goal sticks as do goal equipment manufacturers such as Brian's, Eddy, Gould, Heaton, Maltese and Vaughn.
Buying Ice Hockey Equipment - how to, select right size tips (read here)
HOCKEY'S THREE MAIN RULES
Offsides: When any member of the attacking team precedes the puck over the defending team's blue line.
Offside (or two-line) Pass: When a player passes the puck from his defending zone to a teammate beyond the red center line.
Iceing: When a player shoots the puck across the center red line and past the opposing red goal line. Icing is not called if the player's team is killing a penalty, a teammate of the player shooting the puck touches it before a player from the opposing team, the defending goalie touches the puck first or if the puck travels through the crease (semi-circle of blue paint at the "mouth" of the goal) on it's way to the red line.