- Hockey 101
New to the world of pro stock sticks? Don't sweat it! We've created a series of videos that will walk you through everything you need to know about your hockey stick - and then some!
Episode 1: Selecting the Proper Length of a Hockey Stick
The length of your hockey stick is a personal preference, but a good starting point is to cut the stick so that it is even with your nose OFF THE ICE. For taller players, it may be necessary to add an end plug to reach the desired height. A shorter stick will make puck handling slightly easier and allow the player to get a shot off slightly quicker. A longer stick will help with poke checks and the extra reach will make it easier to block passing lanes.
Episode 2: Choosing the Proper Lie For Your Stick
The lie of a hockey stick is often one of the most overlooked aspects when it comes to selecting a stick. 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. This is typically designated by a number ranging from 4 to 7 (most retail hockey sticks fall between a 5 and 6 lie). It's important to use the correct lie so that your blade lays flat on the ice - not tilted towards the heel or the toe. An easy way to find out if you are using the correct lie is to check wear of your tape on the bottom of your blade. If the tape is worn down near the heel, you should use a stick with a lower lie. If the tape is worn down near the toe, you should use a stick with a higher lie.
Episode 3: Choosing the Proper Flex of a Hockey Stick
A good place to start when deciding on the proper flex is to try out a stick that is half your body weight. It’s important to take into account which types of shots that you find yourself taking most often. If you primarily find yourself taking wrist shots or snap shots, you may enjoy a slightly lower flex. If you find yourself taking slap shots or one-timers more often, you might enjoy a higher flex option. It’s not uncommon for players to change their flex throughout the season or even situationally within the same game. Cutting your stick or adding an extension can also affect the flex of the stick. Typically, each inch added/removed from the shaft will decrease/increase the flex of the stick by roughly 3 flex. (Ex: Cutting 2 inches off an 80 flex stick will make it feel more like an 85-86 flex.)
Episode 4: Choosing A Stick Curve
There are hundreds of custom curves used in the NHL today – most of them being slight variations of the more popular curves found at retail. Bigger curves, like the P28/W71, make it slightly easier to control the puck on the forehand and quickly elevate the puck. However, it makes the puck more difficult to control on the backhand and makes backhand shots more difficult. Straighter curves, like the PM9/W01, make it slightly harder to elevate the puck, but makes accurate passing slightly easier and allows for better use of the backhand. A common adjustment that we see in custom curves is the addition of a “kink” near the toe of the blade. According to Jared Quartuccio, Pro Services Manager at Warrior Hockey, the kink is intended to help the player pull pucks back into their body that are just barely in reach. From personal use, we’ve found that this helps with toe-drags, pulling pucks off the boards and, surprisingly, that it did not have any noticeable effect on most shots.
Episode 5: The Purpose of Taping Your Hockey Stick
The purpose of taping your stick blade is to add friction to the blade so that it’s easier to keep the puck on your stick. Without tape, the puck has a greater chance of sliding off your stick. To further improve the grip that the tape provides, players will often use stick wax to prevent snow/ice buildup on the blade which may make it difficult to pass, shoot and stickhandle effectively.
The purpose of taping the knob of your stick is to provide a solid grip for your top hand. A solid grip with your top hand is not only important for situations with one hand on your stick (poke checks, skating to a loose puck, etc.), but also because this is where nearly all of your stick control is generated. Stickhandling ability is directly tied to the wrist movements of the top hand. If your top hand cannot grip your stick firmly and securely, it’s going to be extremely difficult to perform.
Episode 6: Installing A Stick Grip
Although some processes may vary, depending on the type of grip you've selected, here are some quick tips for easy application of a hockey stick grip. Apply the adhesive sticker to shaft, pour warm soapy water on the sticker & inside the grip itself, twist grip into position, then let sit for several hours until dry. Pre-made grips are beneficial because they leave no sticky tape residue on the palm of your gloves and offer a better overall grip for your top hand. Some drawbacks include being more expensive than a simple roll of tape, they are slightly less customizable and certain types of grips can actually be more abrasive against the palm of your glove.
Episode 7: When To Replace Your Hockey Stick
It’s not at all uncommon for an NHL player to use a new stick every game. Martin Brodeur famously used a new stick for each of his 1,266 NHL games…but chances are that you’re not getting your sticks for free! It really depends on the level of play and what you expect from your stick. If you’re playing in a beer league and typically find yourself taking primarily wrist shots, you can probably continue to use the same stick until it breaks. If you like to take one-timers or slap shots, you might reach a point where you’ve broken down the resin in the shaft and your stick becomes somewhat of a “noodle” instead of firmly snapping back into place. Sticks can be “broken” without breaking – they lose their pop and your shots won’t be nearly as hard or accurate.
Episode 8: Different Types of Stick Grips & Blade Finishes
There are a variety of types of finishes and textures available to pros that aren’t available at the retail level. Instead of choosing between "grip" and "no grip" there are actually 10+ textures and finishes offered at the pro level for the shaft of the stick. There are also several options for the finish of the blade! The "sandpaper" option on the blade makes removing the tape from the blade a breeze and even offers some additional grip in the areas not covered by tape. Check out our selection of pro sticks and try something new!