Stick selection for a short girl
I'm a little stuck on what my next step should be in finding the right stick for me.
Background - I'm a beginner, nearly 5-foot-4 girl who's been playing for a year in the lowest division of the local co-ed, no-check league (I know weight plays a role in this, so I'm going to say more than I'd like but not by too much). Because I'm, well, a girl, I have disproportionately less strength in my upper body, and I'm having problems finding sticks that are the right length with the right flex.
I started off with a set of wood intermediate sticks that I cut down, but they were way, way too stiff for any sort of effective shot. They were 77 and 85 flex sticks that I cut like... three inches off of. I now use these to practice stickhandling at home.
Then I bought a intermediate, composite 70 flex Warrior Johnson (and if you think guys get chirped for this stick, you can imagine the fun with innuendo I hear) on clearance. I really like it. It's significantly lighter, and my wrist shots have a lot more snap to them because I can flex the damn thing. The difference from the wood sticks was immediate. The problem is it's still at least two inches too long, but I'm afraid cutting it down will make the flex too high.
I'm the right height for most 50 flex junior sticks off the shelf, but I know those have smaller blades and thinner shafts for the most part, and one hockey shop guy warned me to stay away from them.
Although my sider says Dallas, I'm living in a much smaller town right now with the only rink for 180 miles any direction. We have the small pro shop there and a Johnny Mac's, which has an okay selection but less-than-educated staff. I'd be willing to buy something offline but only if I knew what I was getting into and had several good recommendations.
Any specific ideas or general advice you guys can give me?
Hi, I can relate on stick problems!!
I too am also a girl, nearly 5'8 - playing weight is 155lbs. I've gone through senior and intermediate sticks like crazy trying to find the right flex with the right blade pattern, I feel your pain. The blades are longer, thicker and trying to balance that with the correct lie drove me nuts. Comfort wise, my hands would get sore using a senior/intermediate and my stickhandling was off. Pucks were rolling off heels or just bouncing off altogether and I am a great stickhandler so you can imagine how frustrating that was to me. A friend lent me an intermediate during a casual skate in April and I HATED it.
A long time ago, I made the switch over to junior shaft + blade combo and never looked back - I have never broken a junior composite or 1 piece ever and I always go to the dirty areas (front of net, boards) so its pretty remarkable they haven't broken. They're stronger than you think! For me, junior factory length is too short so I add about 2 inches with a plug and I'm good to go. I can never find a good blade pattern I like in a one piece so I just use a combo - using Bauer P106 Jokinen, which isn't made in junior 1 pieces or was discontinued. I did buy one piece Bauer jr late on a good deal last season I did like but only got 3 games in with it. I also find that after about 2 seasons, I have to replace the shaft but have had one particular stick since 2005 with no breakage, just wear on the blade.
If anything give it a shot, you might never walk away from using a junior stick. I am definitely glad I made the transition over and recommend it.
You've got the right idea, intermediates are the way to go. You can try cutting them a couple inches if that's the length you feel comfortable with. It will feel a little stiffer, but shouldn't be enough to kill your shot.
Also, Warrior makes 55 flex intermediates and Bauer makes 60 flex intermediates, which are going to be whippier at full length so you can cut them down a bit and have them be perfect for you.
Lastly, try doing some pushups and pullups to gain upper body strength. I've been doing them the last few weeks and it makes a big difference pretty quickly!
That was going to be my suggestion.
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