One of Hockey’s Biggest Lies
I was 24 years old when I learned about the “lie” of a hockey stick. I picked up my first stick at 3 years old, started playing organized hockey at 5 and continued playing competitively all the way through college.
Never once had I heard the term.
For those of you still unfamiliar (and believe me, you’re not alone), the lie of your hockey stick is the angle of the shaft in relation to the blade when the blade’s bottom edge is flat against the playing surface.
The lie of a hockey stick is designated by a number, usually ranging from 4 to 7. The higher the number, the more upright the stick. A lower number will force your hands farther out in front of your body in order keep the blade flat.
In the hockey world, blade lie is too often overlooked and is highly under-appreciated. It wasn’t until I started working closely with pro stock sticks that I understood just how important using the correct blade lie can be.
Here’s my story so that you can save yourself a bit of time, money and embarrassment:
The first pro stock stick I ever purchased was a Warrior Covert QR1 which, at the time, was a brand-new release. It was lighter than any stick I had ever owned, it was the perfect flex and had a curve that was ever so slightly different from a retail P92. In my head, it checked all the boxes of what I was looking for in a stick.
I took it home, cut it to the perfect height, taped it up and drove to the rink that night excited to see what it could do. I took the ice for warmups and took my first shot. The pop felt good, but there was something about the shot and stickhandling that felt a bit…off.
I shrugged it off and didn’t think much of it until I received a pass early in the 1st period. The pass was a little in my skates, so I adjusted by pulling my stick in towards my body to catch it…but the puck went right underneath my blade!
I got to the bench and started looking at the blade – doing my due diligence to check for the hole in my blade that my teammate had suggested may be the issue. I stood up to reenact the play and found that when I pulled the stick in tight to my body, only a couple inches of the blade were on the ice!
I did my best to adjust and finish out the game, but I’m fairly certain the number of times I whiffed on both giving and receiving passes set a league record that will never be broken.
After the game I discovered that the stick I had purchased had a blade lie of 4, which does not bode well for my playstyle. As a player that likes to use a taller stick, but still likes to stickhandle and take wrist shots, using a stick with a blade lie of 4 was the worst possible option to suit my game.
The moral of this story is not that a lie of 4 is bad (it clearly worked well enough for the NHL player it was intended for), but rather to show the importance of using the correct blade lie.
A lower lie can help defensemen block passing lanes by allowing more of the blade to be flat on the ice or it can be used by forwards that like to stickhandle with their arms farther away from their body to protect the puck.
A higher lie can help players more easily bury a rebound that falls at their feet and can help get quick shots off with minimal load time.
So, the next time you’re shopping for a stick, ask about the blade lie. If you’re told “it doesn’t matter” or “they’re all pretty similar”…it’s a lie.