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What’s the right stick for me?

After fitting hundreds of kids with sticks and spending weekends at hockey tournaments selling hockey sticks, I have realized a lot of people don’t understand flex and how to properly fit a hockey stick.  Why is flex so important?  Flex does two things for you; it allows you to shoot harder and lift the puck easier.  Good shooters will use the flex to sling shot the puck faster than you can ever do with your arms alone. 

Throughout the 90’s and 2000’s, we saw NHL players using stiff sticks surpassing 110+ flex.  In the last 10 years, the trend has gone the other way.  You used to never see an NHL player using anything less then an 85+ flex.  Now, 70-90 flex sticks are the norm for the NHL.  It is reported that Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames uses a 55-flex stick.      

What’s the right length for me?
The general rule still applies for length; without skates on, the stick should be below your nose.  With skates on, the stick should be below your chin.  Length is critical. If the stick is too long or short, you will change the lie of the stick.  This will affect the players ability to shoot the puck accurately.  If the stick is too long, you will struggle to get the puck off the ice. If the stick is too short, you will lose power and often shoot higher than intended. 

What’s the right flex for me?
That is a great rule, however, now let’s talk about flex.  The general rule is less then half your body weight.  So, if your child weighs 100 pounds a 50 flex is the most you should buy; even better is a 45 flex.  Don’t forget that for every inch you cut off, you add 5 points of stiffness to the stick.  So, for example if you have a 45 flex and you cut two inches off the stick, it now becomes a 55 flex.  This is crucial I see kids that weigh 60lb and their parents will buy them a 35 flex thinking he will grow into the stick and cut 4 inches off. That stick is now essentially a 55+ flex.

Thanks to Rich Wahls for coming and getting his son fitted! This is showing one of the goals he scored with his new stick.

Why is curve and kick point important?  
Curve is a very personal item, however, for youth and junior players, most companies offer a p92 or p28 curves. Both have a open curve on the toe.  This helps the child be able to lift the puck just a little easier.  The kick point is even more important. Having a low kick point will allow for the puck to get air born just a little easier then a mid or high kick point. 

General rule for kick point is to use a low kick point if most of your shots are wrist shots that come inside the face off dots or 5-15 feet from the goal.  If most of your shots are shots between 10 and 20 feet from the goal and can be a wrist/snap or slap shot, then a mid-kick point is a good stick and in general a mid kick point stick is a good all-around stick for most players.  High kick points are good for defensemen who shoot 0-10 feet inside the blue line and who like to let the slappers fly.  

What hand is right for my new player? 
So, this is a lot easier than people think.  The general rule in the last five years has been to put your dominate hand on the top of the stick.  If you don’t know your child’s dominate hand, then put a broom or stick in front of them and ask them to grab it with one hand and then the other.  Most of the time you will find that they will reach toward the top of the item with their dominate hand.  So, if they put their right hand at the top of the stick, then they are left-handed and if they put their left hand at the top of the stick, then they are a right-handed hockey player. 

ice hockey sticks

Comparing the Top Single Piece Ice Hockey Sticks for 2019

Not all ice hockey sticks are made equal.  The top end sticks are made of 100% carbon fiber and are made in a single piece manufacturing process.  Cheaper sticks are made of 40-80% carbon fiber and are made in a two-piece manufacturing process. 

Why should you care how much carbon fiber is in your stick?  Carbon fiber is light and strong and the more carbon fiber they use in the manufacturing process, the lighter the stick.  More importantly, why should you care if your stick is made with a single or two-piece manufacturing process?  There are few companies that manufacture their sticks using the single piece manufacturing process because it is expensive.  The benefit of single piece manufacturing is three-fold.  At the blade you will have better energy transfer to the puck.  Thus, your shot will be harder with less effort.  The second advantage is that you will have better feel for the puck in your hands.  Lastly because of this process the stick is more durable and less likely to break at the throat of the stick. 

Ice hockey sticks have a handful of variables, the main ones being kick point, curve, flex, grip, weight and most important price.  For the most part, top end sticks are manufactured the same and often in the same factories in China or Mexico.  Shaft size and shape is very consistent across all brands.  So, among the top stick manufacturers, there is little difference.  The chart below shows the biggest differences among the top brands of ice hockey sticks is the weight, kick point and price. 

Low Kick Point – Fastest wrist/snap shots

Description Price Weight
Haggard Sniper PRO$189.95 400
Warrior Alpha DX $259.99 395
True AC6.0 HT $259.99 415
CCM Ribcor Trigger $279.99 415
Bauer Vapor FlyLite $299.99 390
Warrior Covert QRE $319.99 360

Mid Kick Point – Great all-around stick

Description Price Weight
Haggard USA PRO$189.95 410
True XCORE XC9 $269.99 425
Nexus 2N Pro $279.99 410
CCM Super Tacks AS1 $279.99 420

High/Hybrid Kick Point – D Men and slapshots

Description Price Weight
CCM JetSpeed FT2 $279.99 417
Bauer Supreme 2S Pro $279.99 415

So, if top end sticks are created equal why are we paying as much as $300 for a stick.  Haggard Hockey is striving to put the best stick in your hands at a reasonable price.