It can be a big surprise for you the first time you go to the rink this season and realize that your stick is suddenly too small. After growing up through each age group thinking the stick you have would last forever it’s now time to get a new one. Getting the right stick and finding the right comfort level is something that you should invest time in. Go to the store and test out a few different makes and models before deciding which one is best for you. Here are some things to consider when buying a new stick.
This is up to personal preference. Some players prefer lighter sticks because they are easier to handle and move around on the ice. Others choose a stick with more weight because it helps to build up strength while using it and can be tougher for opponents to lift off the ice. Using a heavier stick also allows more power on your shots.
Finding a stick that is the correct height for a player will help them be more comfortable on the ice. An incorrectly sized stick could break easier and hinder stick handling and shooting. Without skates, a stick should reach between a player’s mouth and nose. With skates, it should be around the chin. This is the easiest way to determine which stick is right for you.
Some sticks come with grip handles that make it easier to maintain control while on the ice. While gloves and tape are meant to increase grip, some factors like sweat, water and ice throughout the game can reduce it. A grip also indicates proper hand placement for a player. This is another choice that can be left up to the player and could depend on how strong you feel going through contact while holding the stick.
A stick’s flex indicates how much it bends. This is helpful on wrist and slap shots to put just a little bit more snap and power into your shot. It also leads to higher accuracy. The higher the flex number, the stiffer it is. These flex numbers are usually standard across all stick makers. Generally, older players, especially taller ones, will opt for a stick that has more flex. Keep in mind that if you cut a stick to resize it, the stick will lose some of its flex.
Remember that children can quickly outgrow their equipment and that include hockey sticks. Don’t invest in a very expensive stick that may only last a year. Take a look at previously owned sticks and try to go into the store with a budget. Do some research into sticks you are considering and see which is the best between price point and fit.
Share your tips, experiences and thoughts on minor hockey with thousands of other OMHA members!