Hockey Stick Glossary
One-Piece Hockey Stick -One piece sticks are complete with shaft and blade fused together and don't have to be assembled. This single piece configuration is the most common for hockey sticks and it guarantees that the stick meets the manufactures specifications for a stick ready to go.
Two-Piece Hockey Stick – Less common nowadays than the 1-piece stick, the blade and shaft of the 2-piece stick are separate units. With a 2-pice stick you can mix-and-match shafts and blades to your liking. And if one part breaks, you can usually salvage the other and reuse!
Butt end – The top end of the hockey stick where your top hand holds the stick – oppose end of the hockey blade.
Blade Heel –The hockey stick blade heel is the back part of the blade where the blade meets the hosel of the shaft.
Blade Lie – The measurement of the angle between the stick blade and shaft, and determines where the blade sits on the ice. These numbers range from 4-8 degrees.
A common stick lie of 5 corresponds to approximately 135° angle. Each additional lie number – greater or smaller – corresponds to a 2° greater or smaller angle (6° lie would be 133° – 4° would be 137°). The ideal lie is when the blade of the stick lies plat and is in most contact with the ice surface while the skater is in playing position. The stance and height of a player will determine the best lie. However a stick with a lower lie is ideal for a defenseman of a player who is a bit taller and one who tends to keep the puck farther from the body. Greater stick lies are usually chosen by forwards and players who keep the puck closer to the body. Check out the article Hockey Stick Blade Guide to learn how to tell if your lie is correct.
Blade Pattern and Curve – Hockey Stick Curves and Blade patterns determine the blade lie, curve type, curve depth, face angle, blade toe, and blade length. Curve and Patterns are usually named by NHL players. Click here to view our Hockey Stick Curves & Patterns charts.
Blade Curve Depth – The actual, measurable amount of curve to a blade. is the amount of curve in the blade. You can measure the curve depth by laying the stick flat with the blade curve down on the surface. Measure the point of maximum curve between the blade heel and blade toe to determine the amount of curve depth.
Blade Face Angle – describes how much of the face (or front) of the blade you can see when looking down at the ice. Face angles are referred to as Open or Closed. The more open the blade is, (you can see more of the front of the blade when looking down) the easier it is to lift the puck. Slightly open or closed angles are better for stick handling, catching passes and using your backhand. Many feel that developing players should use a less open pattern to help develop both their shooting and stick handling abilities.
Blade Toe – The toe is at the opposite end of the blade heel. Toe shapes are round, square, and a combination of round and square.
End Plugs – Also called butt-ends, these are composite or wood stick shaft extensions that are glue into the butt end of a composite hockey stick shaft and are used to increase the length of a hockey stick. These are great if you can't find a stick long enough. Sizes range in junior and senior size plugs.
Flex – Hockey Stick Flex is the stiffness rating of a hockey stick and a measure of how flexible it is when force is being applied to it. The higher the number, the stiffer the stick flex. A general guideline to finding your stick flex is taking half the player's bodyweight (A 200-pound skater would use a stiffer 100 flex) however there are other varibables and it ultimately comes down to personal prefernce. A 100 stick flex takes 100-pounds of pressure on the shaft to bend the stick one inch. The most common measurements for stick flex are:
- Youth = 30-40 flex
- Junior = 40-55 flex
- Mid or Intermediate flex = 55-70 flex
- Regular flex = 85 flex
- Stiff flex = 100 flex
- Extra stiff = 110 flex
Grip Shaft vs Clear Shaft – Grip is a more popular finish to the hockey stick shaft, as the texture applied helps provide a better grip and less spinning in the player’s hands particularly when shooting the puck. Clear can be either a Matte or Gloss finish. This non-texture stick shaft allows the player to move his/her hands more freely along the shaft, but may need additional hockey tape to prevent the stick from slipping and spinng when shooting.
Kick point – The kick point is the specific flex zone of the stick that is designed to flex the most at point of impact and pressure. Kick points are broken down into the folling categories:
- Mid Kick –Mid kick are the more traditional types of flex profile. The bend is in the middle of the stick and are designed to give the feel of wood and early composite hockey sticks.
- Low Kick –Flexes at the bottom of the stick in the taper and towards the blade. Designed for a quicker release as the leaded energy has less distance to travel.
- Constant Flex – A variable flex that is designed to react to the player’s bottom hand. The stick flexes from the bottom hand and down the shaft.
- Dual-Kick – Similar to the constant flex in that the flex responds to the player’s bottom hand – instead the dual-kick flexes in two points: 1. When the bottom hand is lower down the stick shaft, this stick will kick higher in the shaft to load more poer, and 2. When the bottom hand is higher up, the stick flexes for a quicker and more accurate release.
- High Kick – Uses the entire stick to load and release energy to the puck – flexing at the top of the stick shaft. Loads the energy from the top portion of the stick.
Left hand vs. right hand – A player is either a right-handed shot or left-handed. If you hold the top butt-end of the stick with your right hand and have your left hand down the shaft, you’re a left-handed shot. Vice versa, if your left hand is holding the butt-end and your right hand is down the shaft, you’re a righty.
Length of Hockey Sticks – Hockey Sticks come in variety of sizes and lengths match to the size of the hockey player. A good rule of thumb when sizing a hockey stick is when a player is wearing hockey skates, the top of the stick should be between his/her nose and chin; while in sneakers, the stick should be between their lips and eyes. However the length of a stick is a matter personal preference and position the player plays. A general guide of standard stick lengths:
- Junior = 46-53 inches
- Intermediate = 54 inches
- Senior = 56-63 inches
Shaft –The hockey stick shaft is the long length of the stick between the butt-end and the blade. Composite shafts and blades can be purchased separately mixed-and-matched to a player’s specifications as a 2-piece stick.
Stick Wax – Stick wax is a wax compound rubbed onto the tape of the stick blade to keep the blade dry; prevents ice and water from sticking to it; provide a bit more cushion and feel of the puck on the stick blade.
Tapered shafts – The lower portion of the shaft, a tapered shaft provides a lower kick point. The thickness, design and shape of the taper impacts the velocity of shot releases.
Hockey Stick Flex
How Do I Choose The Right Stick Flex?
- Youth (Approximately 30 flex) 0-60lbs
- Junior (Approximately 50 Flex) 60-100lbs
- Intermediate (60-70 flex) 100-150lbs
- Senior Mid (Approximately 75 flex) 150-170lbs
- Senior Regular (Approximately 85 flex) 170-200lbs
- Senior Stiff (Approximately 100 flex) 200+ lbs
Be sure to read everything you need to know about hockey stick flex numbers, what to consider when choosing a flex, and many other FAQ in our hockey stick flex guide.
Composite vs Wood
Composite Stick or Wooden Stick - How do you light the lamp?
Being the rink rats that we are at Pure Hockey, we constantly hear and see the never-ending debate between composite and wood sticks. Even with the amazing popularity of composite sticks in hockey – there are still a good amount of players that prefer wood sticks. The biggest question we hear is, “Why composite?” or “Why wood?” So the great debate rages on.
Much like everything else in this great sport we love, the choice of wood over composite (or vice versa) is very much personal preference. Don't let us try to fool you and start thinking that what you've been told all along with composite sticks is all smoke and mirrors; this would not be true. Everything that you hear and know about composite sticks are certainly true. The reason composite sticks have become so popular of late is the combination of weight reduction, flexibility and performance. Notice we did not say durability; as these are very much durable, it doesn't make the deciding factor between the two.
- WEIGHT: The lighter weight feel of the composite stick does offer a huge benefit. In an age where everything needs to be thinner, lighter and faster – the composite stick offers just that. A lighter weight stick provides quicker speed, which can improve the velocity of your shots. On the other hand the wood stick does offer a totally different feel. Because of its bulk, you are constantly working on your strength, this means that over time you will build up the shot velocity similar to what you would find with the composite stick.
- FLEX: Flexibility is a pretty much one sided debate. Composite sticks basically run away with this one, not without a fight though. Most wood sticks are starting to come with flex choices - for the most part only staying around the 90-100 flex. This is nothing compared to what composite sticks offer though. Composite sticks are designed specifically to flex at a certain point. This is called a kick point – if you've done minimal research before – you probably have come across this term. Kick point is where the stick flexes. Most ‘true' one piece composite sticks (the $200+ models) have the lowest kick point; this height can vary at different price points though. The lower the kick point, the quicker the release of the shot.
- PERFORMANCE: When flexed, composite sticks create an energy transference within the stick. This transfer flows from the flex point down through the blade creating an extra little push at the release of your shooting motion…much like something you might have seen from an aluminum bat or golf club. Beware of this though; too much flex may cause the puck to take off in a direction that you didn't intend it to go. The denser wood stick however does not have this exact effect for a couple reasons. The first being that it isn't hollow and wood acts as a deadening agent of sorts – this means that you don't get that increased velocity off your shot like you would with the composite stick. On the other hand, a harder pass will be easier to control with a wood stick than a composite for this same instance. The other reason is the lack of significant flex; since most wooden sticks are limited to their flex, you are more likely to see shots stay in the direction that was originally intended.
- OUR TWO CENTS: So where do you go from here? Ultimately it's your choice. Since flex can be an issue at a distance – keep in mind of your position. If you are a defensemen where most of your shots come from around the blue line – try to keep the flex on the stiffer side. Since a defensemen might take more slap shots than a forward, you will still be able to get a good flex and the puck won't ‘fly' away when you shoot from a distance. Forwards; Whether you're a playmaker, grinder or sniper, each flex can benefit you tremendously. Where snipers and playmakers may stay at a softer or lower flex, this option allows for a quick release to catch the goalie off guard. On the other hand, a slightly stiffer feel for a grinder will allow for a bit of extra strength in the corners and in front of the net avoiding unwanted breakage during gameplay. As for the whole composite vs. wood debate, we will leave you with this; Try using a wood stick during practices if your preference is the added performance of the composite. The sometimes heavier feeling wood stick will act like a weighted donut on a baseball bat. This added weight will build strength and speed when you switch to your ‘game' stick.