Everything you need (and more than you'd want) to know about sticks
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04-27-2009, 02:03 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Tampa, FL
Originally Posted by
I've worked in a pro for the past few years and day after day I see people buying the wrong sticks because they really don't know much about them. Even some people I work with don't know a whole lot about sticks. So here's the basic gist of it.
This is the most commonly misunderstood part of a stick. Flex is the amount of force you need to put on the stick for it to bend. Each composite (who uses wooden sticks anymore) stick has a flex number. This number ranges from the 80s to the low 100s. As a rule of thumb, the flex should be about half of your weight. For instance, I'm 175 and use an 87 flex.
IF YOU CUT THE STICK DOWN YOU WILL MAKE IT HARDER TO FLEX
This is a very important factor in buying a new stick, especially for a child or middle schooler. If your son is under 160 pounds then a composite stick will not help them at all. I've actually seen a bantam sit on a stick to make it bend and his parents bought it. Please, buy an age appropriate stick. Which brings me to my next point.
Length and Size
The butt of the stick should come up to your nose when your skates are off and your chin when you have your skates on. If you mess up the length you'll notice problems with stick handling and with slapshots.
Sticks also come in three different sizes Junior, Intermediate and Senior. These stick sizes correspond to the age of the person using them. The most misunderstood switch is from Intermediate to Senior. Parents will buy their son a $200 Senior stick and have it cut down for them. Please, buy a cheap stick until they get taller and add a bit of weight, hockey equipment is expensive as is so don't waste money.
The curve is the term used to describe the way the blade of the stick is bent. A curve can start in the heel (where the blade connects to the shaft), the middle or mid and the toe (the end of the blade). Every curve has a different depth, from slight to deep. The
factor in a curve is the
, which is the angle of the blade to the shaft. A lie is the best way to remember what kind of curve you prefer and is categorized from 1 to 7. A 1 curve is straight and a 7 is a near ridiculous angle. Most every stick made is from Lie 4 to 7.
This is all a matter of preference though and you will probably need to try different curves out before you find one that fits you well. Generally speaking, the higher the lie the easier it is to lift the puck off the ice. A deep curve does have setbacks though as it will hurt your backhand and make receiving passes more difficult.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO KNOW ABOUT STICKS
Your stick needs to be relative to your, or your child's, skill level. A $200 stick is not going to turn a beginner into Ovechkin and no curve or flex will teach you the proper slapshot technique. Remember that you are taking the shot, not the stick.
And remember: there is a difference between top of the line composite sticks and discount ones from a few years back; but unless you're a 30 goal scorer in the NHL, you probably won't notice it. The point to all this seemingly useless information is to be comfortable with your stick and have it be an extension of your body.
Every hockey play does it and few know why. Most people think it's to stop the blade from grinding down but it's to help catch the puck on passes. In reality, receiving passes is a skill you need to learn and the tape is used to stop the blade from grinding down.
And BAM, that's all and more.
Your "rule" on flex is just wrong, flex is preference... although most people use a flex that is to stiff for them. Phil Kessel, 192 lbs, uses a 75 flex stick. Brett Hull, 200 lbs, used a 65-75 flex stick. Ovechkin 220 lbs, 85 flex stick. Alexei Kovalev, 215 lbs, 120 flex stick.
The length of the stick is also preference and has a lot to do with the lie of the stick, the blade rocker, the skating style of the player and well their preference.
Junior, Int, Senior isn't correspondent to age as it is height, strength and preference. Phil Kessel has used intermediate sticks playing for the Bruins... that's in the NHL, oh and he's an adult by the way. You think that if he can use an intermediate stick in the NHL, a 28 year-old, 5'1" 105 girl might want to look at something besides a senior sized stick?
Lies go higher than 7. Look at a goalie stick, those are typically between 12-15.
You're an idiot if you think that a higher LIE makes it easier to "lift" the puck.
There isn't always a difference between older high-end sticks and current high-end sticks... and it certainly doesn't mean that the newest high-end stick is better.
Tape is used to help with wear and tear but it is also used to give some cushion and feel to the puck... as well as add grip to the blade to aid in shooting accuracy and puck control. This is pure preference as well.
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