As a player or more importantly as a hockey parent, you no doubt cringe a little when you are tasked with purchasing a new hockey stick. Technology has made purchasing a hockey stick more complicated than it needs to be at times. However, doing a little homework can save you some grief (and some money) when it comes to buying a hockey stick for your child or yourself.
Gone are the days when hockey sticks were simply made out of wood and your selection was limited to that of Sherwood, Christian, Titan or Koho. Today there are multiple types of sticks that are available, however in essence there are three types of hockey sticks available:
- Composite sticks – which are made from fiberglass and carbon fibre. Composite sticks are what the majority of pro players and NHLers use today.
- Wood Sticks – You can still get wooden sticks although they are less popular than the modern composite stick. Wooden sticks tend to be cheaper and were know for have a better feel for the puck. Unlike today’s composite sticks, wooden sticks don’t have that “whip” that a composite stick has. Not to mention wooden hockey sticks are heavy, or at least heavier than the new composite and carbon fibre-made sticks that are available.
- Two-Piece – two piece sticks were popular in the 90’s when players such as Wayne Gretzky used an Easton Aluminum stick. Two piece hockey sticks consist of a shaft and a blade. Shafts are made with a blend of carbon fiber and fiberglass, to provide a lighter feel while the blade usually consists of either wood or composite material.
Related: History of the Hockey Stick
Looking to purchase a new twig (hockey stick)? Use the following tips when buying a new stick to ensure that you get the best performance with your child’s or your own shot or pass. Common questions you may have:
- what brand of hockey stick should I buy?
- which curve should I get?
- how much should I spend on a stick?
- how do I know which stick flex my child needs?
- where is the best place to buy a hockey stick?
Here are more of the most common questions we hear about purchasing and selecting a hockey stick.
Purchasing a Hockey Stick: Frequently Asked Questions
What size/length of stick should I purchase?
Ah the most common question asked. The size (or length) of stick that you require can depend on a number of things such as age, height and position you play. Old school players and coaches will suggest that the length of your stick should measure from the ground to your chin when you are standing in your skates. There is still a lot of truth to this, but the fact is, some players prefer playing with a longer stick and others prefer a shorter stick. For parent purchasing hockey sticks for there children, it is recommended that you have them get sized to determine the best fit of stick for them. If you are unable to get them sized, here is a handy stick length chart that you can use as a guide.
Hockey Stick Length Chart
Historically, hockey equipment has been measured in four categories:
- Youth (typically Xtra-Small, Small, Medium or Large for ages three to eight)
- Junior (ages 7 to 12)
- Intermediate (Small, medium, Large for ages 11 to 14)
- Senior (S,M,L,XL ages 14+)
|Age Group||Height||Stick Length|
|Youth (3-5)||3’0″ – 3’10”||38″ – 44″|
|Youth (6-8)||3’10” – 4’8″||45″ – 49″|
|Junior (7-13)||4’4″ – 5’1″||50″ – 54″|
|Intermediate (11-14)||4’11” – 5’4″||55″ – 58″|
|Intermediate (12-14)||5’2″ – 5’8″||55″ – 58″|
|Senior (14+)||5’5″ – 5’10”||57″ – 61″|
|Senior (14+)||5’7″ – 6’1″||58 – 62″|
|Senior (14+)||5’10” – 6’4″||60″ – 63″|
|Senior (14+)||6’1″ +||60″ – 63″|
What does flex mean (specific to hockey sticks)?
Stick flex measures how flexible or stiff a stick is when force is applied. Think of watching an NHL game when you see a player’ stick bend when they shoot or pass the puck. Depending on the flex of their stick, velocity of the player’s shot will change. Technically speaking, a stick flex rating implies the amount of pounds (weight) required to flex the stick one inch. The higher the flex, the stiffer the stick will be (meaning that it will have less bend to it).
How do I know which flex I need when buying a hockey stick?
The flex will vary on the player. Stronger players/shooters will most likely want a higher flex or stiffer stick (so that they do not break it when they apply pressure in a shooting or passing motion). To determine what flex your hockey stick should be, the general rule of thumb is to choose the flex number that’s half of your weight. So, if you’re 100 pounds, you’ll start with a 50 flex. If you’ are between sizes, round down the flex number. For reference, here is a hockey stick flex chart that compares a player’s size, recommended flex and recommended stick length.
Hockey Stick Flex Chart
|Age Group||Height||Weight||Stick Length||Recommended Stick Flex|
|Youth (3-5)||3’0″ – 3’10”||50-65 lbs||38″ – 44″||30/35 flex|
|Youth (6-8)||3’10” – 4’8″||50-80 lbs||45″ – 49″||35/40/45 flex|
|Junior (7-13)||4’4″ – 5’1″||70-110 lbs||50″ – 54″||50/55 flex|
|Intermediate (11-14)||4’11” – 5’4″||90-125 lbs||55″ – 58″||55/60 flex|
|Intermediate (12-14)||5’2″ – 5’8″||100-140 lbs||55″ – 58″||65/70 flex|
|Senior (14+)||5’5″ – 5’10”||125-175 lbs||57″ – 61″||75/80 flex|
|Senior (14+)||5’7″ – 6’1″||150-200 lbs||58 – 62″||85/90/95 flex|
|Senior (14+)||5’10” – 6’4″||175-225 lbs||60″ – 63″||100/105 flex|
|Senior (14+)||6’1″ +||205+ lbs||60″ – 63″||110/115 flex|
Keep in mind that your height, weight, and age will determine and help you decide on the best stick for your needs. CCM released a decent chart visual on stick flex.
What is meant by the lie of a hockey stick?
The lie of a hockey stick refers to how the blade is angled in relation to the shaft of the stick. It is determined/measured when the bottom of the edge is placed flat against the playing surface. The lie of a hockey stick is indicated by a number on the shaft, which usually ranges from 4 to 7. The higher the number, the more upright the lie. As an example, players who take quick wrist shops will most likely prefer a higher lie with their sticks.
From a skating perspective, a higher lie is better for taller players or players who skate more upright. A lower lie is better for players who are shorter or skate low and hunched forward. Learn more about hockey stick lies here.
Why is the lie of a stick important?
The lie of a stick can have an impact on a player’s possession of the puck, impact a player’s posture and affect the power of the player’s shot. A quick tip for determining which lie is best for you is to look at where the tape is wearing on your blade. If the tape is wearing more towards the toe or tip of your blade, you might want to go with a lie that is flatter or lower. If your tape is wearing more towards the heel of your blade, you should consider a lie that is higher or more upright.
How much does it cost for a good hockey stick?
Prices of hockey sticks vary by the type of stick that you purchase. Wooden sticks are cheaper, but won’t necessarily have the performance of a more expensive composite stick. Every brand has a variety of price points, and just like any product, you’ll find a range in quality as the price gets higher. Hockey sticks can cost between $25 and $400. Goalie sticks tend to cost more.
Hockey Stick Pricing Chart
Prices of hockey stick range depending on the type of stick. Here is a high level guide to hockey stick prices. Prices vary by brand, size and stick type. The following are estimates based on 2022 pricing.
|Price Range||Age||Stick Type||Price|
|Budget – Youth||Youth (3-8)||Wood, Composite||$25-$60|
|Mid-Range Youth||Youth (6-8)||Composite||$75-$175|
|Budget – Junior||Junior (7-13)||Wood, Composite||$50-$100|
|Mid-Range – Junior||Junior (7-13)||Composite||$100-$200|
|Top-End – Junior||Junior (7-13)||Composite, Carbon Fibre||$200-$300|
|Budget – Intermediate||Intermediate (12-14)||Wood, Composite||$50-$125|
|Mid-Range Intermediate||Intermediate (12-14)||Composite||$100-$250|
|Top-End- Intermediate||Intermediate (12-14)||Composite, Carbon Fibre||$200-$350|
|Budget – Senior||Senior (14+)||Wood, Composite||$50-$125|
|Mid-Range – Senior||Senior (14+)||Composite, Carbon Fibre||$150-$250|
|Top-End – Senior||Senior (14+)||Composite, Carbon Fibre||$250-$400|
For additional information on hockey stick price, visit this resource.
Are more expensive sticks better than cheaper ones?
The answer is, it depends. For children who are just starting out, there is not a lot of difference between the options simply because they are not yet strong enough to generate passing and shot power. So purchasing your six year old a $300 hockey stick is not necessarily going to improve their performance at that stage. Having said that, as the kids develop their shots, as they enter U11 and U13 hockey you will start to see differences in higher end stick performance compared to some of the cheaper models that are available. It depends on the athlete. A poor shooter is a poor shooter and a great shooter is a great shooter who will have an advantage even more with better stick technology.
More expensive sticks are not necessarily more durable than cheaper ones. In fact they can be more susceptible to cracks and breakages.
Where is the best place to buy a hockey stick?
This depends on the options that are available to you and on the type of stick that you need. It’s always a good idea to start with your local sporting goods store. For folks living in Canada that might mean your local mom and pop hardware store, or your local Canadian Tire or Sports Check. For those in larger towns and cities that might mean your local hockey shop. If you are looking to purchase online, there are a number of places to purchase hockey sticks including:
Buying a hockey stick does not have to be a challenging experience. Especially if you do your homework ahead of time. Consider what you want to get out of the stick and of course budget comes into play.
There are a ton of great resources on selecting the right hockey stick. Here are a few you might want to check out: