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True Lies: Covering Every Stick Angle


There are hockey stick lies to which one should pay no mind: “I used this baby to pick Patrick Kane’s pocket with a poke-check back in juniors.”

And there are hockey stick lies every player should consider very carefully: 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. Having the right lie will help you control the puck, maximize the power of your shots and play in the proper posture. With the wrong lie, you’ll lose more puck battles, whiff on more shots and play with your head down more often.

The Broad Strokes

The lie of a hockey stick is indicated by a number on the shaft, usually ranging from 4 to 7. The higher the number, the more upright the lie — think puckhandlers, weaving through traffic to snap off wrist shots. The lower the number, the farther the puck is from your body — think slap shot-happy defensemen.

The Minutiae

The most common lie, Lie 5, has a lie angle of 135 degrees from blade to shaft (45 degrees from the ice to the shaft). A Lie 4 flattens out a bit to 137/43, a Lie 6 gets more upright at 133/47, and so on.

Finding the Proper Lie

Your height, skating style and style of play will factor heavily into your lie choice. Remember, too, to account for skates when trying out sticks.

Picking out a stick for the first time? Start in the middle, which is to say a Lie 5. Grab a 5 off the rack. Assume your natural skating position, and hold your stick comfortably — where your arms hang just right for controlling or shooting a puck. Now look at the blade. If it’s flat on the floor, you’re good. If the toe is off the floor, you need a lower lie (a lower number). If the heel is in the air, you need a more upright lie (a higher number).

If you already have a stick and are wondering if you’re using the right lie, go to the tape. Whatever part of the stick tape wears the quickest is getting the most ice time. Holes in your heel? You need a lower lie. Toe poking through? Go to a higher lie.

Final Thoughts

Typically, the lie of the blade corresponds with stick length. Short sticks, favored by most forwards, bring the blade closer to your body, so the lie will be more upright. Long sticks, more favored by defenseman, put the blade further from the body, thus a lower lie is needed to keep the blade flat.