Measuring a goalie's stick length is very important and often overlooked with younger goaltenders. When measuring for correct size, remember paddle length is the most important feature. Paddle length helps the goalie maintain a proper stance. To
elaborate, the paddle (thicker part of the goal stick) must be long enough so that when the goalie is in the proper stance (knees bent, stick flat on the ice 8" to 12" in front of their toes), the blocker is aligned with the leg pad and is not
overlapping the leg pad.
To properly fit a goalie stick, follow these simple steps:
1. If you're able, it is best to fit a goalie stick while wearing goalie skates. Fitting a goalie stick in street shoes does not accurately simulate use, and your fitting will not be accurate.
2. Have the goalie get in a stance position as if he/she was playing - knees bent hands in front of the body, stick 12" from the skates.
A perfectly fit stick will place the goalie's blocker next to his or her leg pad as shown in the picture to the right.
The stick is too short if the blocker overlaps the leg pad, or if the heel of the stick comes off of the ice in a normal stance position.
The stick is too big if there is a large gap between the blocker and the leg pad, or if the toe of the stick comes off the ice in a normal stance position.
Choosing a Stick Pattern
With the emphasis placed on goalie’s playing the puck these days, it is more important than ever to consider the blade pattern of the goalie stick when purchasing. Don’t just purchase the lightest, cheapest stick on the rack –
know your individual needs and style, and purchase a stick based on these attributes.
The “Pattern” of a stick describes two elements – the curve of the blade and the lie of the stick.
Curve is based on two different attributes – where the curve begins in the stick (“Mid” or “Heel”), and how the face of the blade is positioned , moving from the heel of the stick to the toe of the stick (“Open”
or “Closed”) Knowing these options, and the strengths of each, will help you make the best purchasing decision.
Curve Pattern Descriptions:
- “Mid” Curve - curvature begins in the middle of the blade.
- “Heel” Curve - curvature starts at the heel of the blade.
- “Open” Curve - blade flares open as the curve approaches the toe (think of a wedge in golf).
- “Closed” Curve - blade stays more flat throughout the curve (think of a 3-iron in golf).
As a general rule, sticks with a MID curve make it easier to play the puck, but make it a bit more challenging to shoot the puck higher.
Sticks with a more OPEN curve, especially an open heel curve, make it easy to clear a puck high off of the glass but a bit harder to play around the net.
BEGINNING GOALIES should start with a MID curve and then adjust from here, if necessary, based on their style.
The lie of the stick describes the location of the paddle when the stick blade is flat on the ice. Generally, we advise that your blocker be just to the side, and not overlapping, your leg pad when the goalie is in his/her stance. Depending on your
unique stance, this may require the goalie to purchase a stick that has a lower (13) or higher (15) lie.
Choosing the proper stick lie is critically important when choosing a stick as it affects more than just the blocker board position in the goalie’s stance (shooting, directing the puck upon impact, etc. are all affected by the stick lie).
Therefore, it is important that the goalie wear his/her skates when picking a new stick to insure an accurate fit.
Lie 13: Places the blocker board farther away from the body with the stick blade flat on the ice.
Lie 14: Mid-level lie
Lie 15: Places the blocker board closer to the body with the stick blade flat on the ice.
NOTE: Lie measurement only applies to sticks with a flat blade bottom. Sticks with a curved or rockered blade bottom have no lie listed.
Considering “Flex” When Buying a Stick
Again, due to the fact that passing and shooting the puck have become critical skills for today’s goalies to master, it’s important that the goalie choose a stick that best fits his or her needs. Stick flex (or “stiffness”)
is a measure of how flexible or how stiff a hockey stick is when a force is applied to it.
When a player bends his hockey stick when taking a shot, it essentially turns the hockey stick into a spring that stores energy. When the spring is released (when the stick unbends and returns to straight), the energy is released and accelerates
“Stiff” sticks are harder to flex, but the energy released when the stick returns to form is greater. For this reason, stronger players, or those that are a bit heavier, may wish to use a stick with a stiff flex. Younger or weaker shooters
will not be able to take advantage of the energy recoil of stiff sticks (because they can’t bend them in the first place).
More flexible sticks are easier to bend, but there is less energy released as the stick recoils. The ease of the flex makes shooting easier for younger, weaker shooters. Stronger shooters will find that these sticks bend too much and shooting accuracy
suffers because of this.
What are the different types of sticks?
Goalie sticks come in one of three different types:
1. Wood Goalie Sticks
Wood sticks are typically made of laminated pieces of aspen, ash or birch, which are covered on the paddle and blade by thin layers of fiberglass for durability and water resistance.
As stick technology has advanced in the last few decades, the demand for wood sticks has decreased as today's goalies tend to favor lighter and softer models. Goalies who prefer a more traditional feel, or who are on a budget, will find
wood sticks appealing.
2. Foam Core Goalie Sticks
Foam core sticks typically feature a wood shaft with a glass lamination for durability. The paddle and blade are made from a molded urethane, which is then injected with foam, and covered with a glass or composite laminate for strength and
water resistance. Newer foam core sticks also feature a harder heel insert to keep the heel from premature wear and tear.
The foam inside both the paddle and the blade act to provide rigidity, and to dampen the vibrations that goalies feel when the puck hits the stick. Oftentimes, goalies who use a foam core stick will describe it’s feel as “soft”,
meaning that there is little vibration when the puck impacts it.
Foam core sticks have grown in popularity over the years as they combine a reasonable price point, light weight, a soft feel, and good durability.
3. Composite Goalie Sticks
Today’s composite sticks are made from a variety of materials, ranging from fiberglass to graphite to carbon fiber/Kevlar. Like the foam core sticks, composite sticks often feature foam core injections for vibration deadening, and
they are often wrapped in higher grade synthetic materials (nylon, carbon fiber, Kevlar) which help promote durability.
Due to the nature of the materials being used, composite sticks – especially the carbon fiber, Kevlar and graphite models; tend to be the lightest on the market. Additionally, many of today’s models feature innovative elements
including “rubbery” grip zones on the shoulder area, convex or flat paddle profiles (on the side that faces the shots), and contoured paddles that accommodate goalies who like the hold the stick closer to the body.
Composite sticks tend to be the most expensive on the market, though the buyer can be comforted in knowing that many of today’s composites feature a 30-day manufacturer’s warranty.