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How to Choose the Right Stick

Monday, 02.6.2012 / 10:02 AM ET / Pittsburgh Youth Hockey Network
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How to Choose the Right Stick
In the game of hockey, one of the most important items of equipment is the player’s sticks. Having the proper stick for your child is key to their development as a player and their ability to continue to improve in the sport. Here is a simple guide for choosing a stick for your child, a hockey stick 101 if you will. There are four components involved in choosing the right stick.

1. The material. –Hockey sticks are either made of wood or composite materials. Wood is the original material used to make sticks, but today, composite sticks are in favor due to their light weight and improved performance.

2. The Lie. -The lie of the stick is the angle of the blade in conjunction to the shaft. The average lie is a 5.
3. The flex.-The flex of the stick is the stiffness of the shaft. The higher the stiffness the harder it is to flex the shaft. 25 flex = easy to flex 100 flex = harder to flex.
4. The curve.-The curve of the blade of sticks can come in many different types. The more curve the easier it is the lift the puck when shooting thought it is harder to handle the puck.
Now that you have a basic understanding of the hockey stick here are some basic guideline for choosing the right stick for your child.
  • If your child is young and just starting out do not feel that you need to buy them the pricy composite sticks. There is nothing wrong with wood sticks for a child who is just starting out. They will not be able to reap the benefits of a composite stick until their skill level improves.
  • Choose the right lie. The standard lie is a 5. If you are just beginning to play use that is what you want to use.
  • Make sure the flex is appropriate for the size of your child. If he or she is young and just starting out you want something with a low number flex usually about a 25.
  • The curve should be mostly straight. When they are starting out the straighter the curve the easier it will be to handle the puck..
  • After you have picked the appropriate stick you want the make sure it is the right size for your child.
    • While wearing skates – Have your child stand straight up and stand the stick straight up in front of them on its toe. Measure and cut the stick so the stick is level with your child’s chin.
    • While not wearing skates – Have your child stand straight up and stand the stick straight up in front of them on its toe. Measure and cut the stick so the stick is level with your child’s nose.

  • Goaltenders typically do not cut the stick. Cutting the stick causes it to be improperly balanced.
  • The main focus should be on the height of the paddle length. For beginner goalies, find the appropriate paddle length by wearing skates while picking a stick. The goaltender can find the right stick for them by getting in their stance and trying different size sticks. In a proper stance, the goaltender’s blocker hand should be lined up with the top of their pad (approximately). The Blade of the stick should sit flat on the ice 6-12” in front of the toes of their skates.
  • For a younger goalie, there shouldn’t be too big of a curve, a bigger curve just causes more of the blade to come off the ice in their stance. As a goaltender gets older and begins playing the puck and is more comfortable controlling their stick in their stance, a bigger curve can be used.
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