A hockey stick is the most important piece of gear you will need inside the ice rink. But not just any hockey stick. Ice hockey sticks need to be measured and tailored to the player’s specific needs. So, if you want to play to your best, you must ensure that your hockey stick is appropriately sized.
With that said, size is often overlooked across amateur hockey leagues. However, when you step into competitive play inside professional leagues, size becomes a determining factor in your stick’s performance, and subsequently, your performance too. With that said, measuring and sizing a hockey stick is more complex than purchasing a stick of appropriate length or cutting it down to size.
Measuring and choosing an appropriate hockey stick that will fit you or your child will require factoring in additional features, like flex, blade profile, blade height, etc. So, we compiled all the necessary information about measuring hockey sticks so that you can learn how to measure a hockey stick yourself and ensure that you are making informed decisions.
In the following sections of this article, we will discuss different types, lengths, flexes, kick points on a hockey stick, and how it all comes together to forge a weapon for your hockey battle.
Table of Contents
Hockey Stick Height
There is an argument to be made every time someone questions the stick dimensions. Are hockey sticks tall or long? Do we measure stick length or height? The answer is: it does not really matter. However, stick length is the correct term when you are sizing a hockey stick.
Before discussing how you measure a hockey stick, it is important to discuss predetermined size categories. Primarily, hockey sticks come in four different size categories, according to the hockey player’s age:
- Youth sticks –ages 4-8J
- Junior sticks –ages 7-12
- Intermediate sticks–ages 10-15
- Senior sticks –ages 15 and above
The categorical breakdown allows the player to find a stick that might suit him/her best quickly. Still, those are generalized measurements; older but smaller-built players might still prefer intermediate hockey sticks, and some younger, taller players might opt for the senior category stick. With that out of the way, let us talk about materials before we discuss proper methods of stick sizing.
Determine the Best Materials for You
Once you determine your size category, it is essential to consider the type of material that best fits you. Modern one-piece hockey sticks are primarily made of composite materials or wood, which has proven to provide the best feel/durability ratio. There are other materials present on the market, like aluminum and plastics, but composite materials and wood sticks are the most common.
Wooden hockey sticks are more traditional and less expensive than composites but usually feature more weight. On the other hand, composite sticks are more lightweight and durable, with great flexibility and power loading. They are made from a combination of different materials, which often include various types of resin, carbon fibers, and additional graphene, Kevlar, or fiberglass.
Developing players usually need a heavier stick to better feel the puck during handling, passing, and shooting.
How to Measure Hockey Sticks
Sizing a hockey stick is like fitting a suit –it works best when the player has a stick in his hands. As a rule of thumb, you should stand straight with the stick in front of your body during sizing. Position the stick parallel to yourself so that the toe of the stick (the tip) touches the ground. The top of the shaft should be between your chin and nose if you are barefoot and up to your chin if you are in hockey skates.
This method will help you choose an approximate stick size according to your height, leaving out the matter of the player’s personal preference. For the most part, players are satisfied by the default lengths of hockey sticks. Some players, however, prefer shorter or longer sticks, depending on their style of play.
Generally, players who are good at stickhandling prefer shorter sticks, as they allow more agility and freedom of movement. If you are one of those players, the but-end of the stick should reach your throat instead of your chin, with your skates on.
Defensemen prefer longer sticks, whose reach allows them to steal a puck from an opponent, intercept passes, and the occasional slap shot. If you are looking for a defenseman stick, the stick but-end should reach your eyebrows.
Important note: Young players who are still growing should not have a stick they can grow into. Equipping a young player with a long stick can be detrimental to their development as hockey players. Parents tend to make this mistake thinking that they will save money in the long run, impeding their children’s performance.
With everything said, you can always shorten the stick by cutting an inch or two from its but-end. If a stick is too long, just mark where it touches the nose, and cut off the excess length. Keep in mind that tampering with the original stick length will affect the flexibility of the stick
Pick your Flex
When choosing a new stick, it is essential to choose the right flex –your stick’s ability to bend. Your stick should have just enough flex for the shaft to bend slightly to generate enough power, butnot too much to hinder it.
A flex number usually represents the hockey stick’s flex, and the higher the flex number, the stiffer the stick is. In theory, the flex rating means the amount of pressure (in pounds) necessary to flex the center of a 1-inch stick. But since flexibility changes with length, flex rating can be broken down into categories:·
- Youth sticks – flex rating of 35 and above
- Junior sticks – flex rating of 50 and above
- Intermediate sticks – flex rating of 65 and above
- Senior sticks – flex rating of 75 and above (up to 110 or 120)
After you have found the right stick length, it is time to match it with a befitting flex rating. The best way to get a general sense of what flex you will need is to divide your weight by 2. For example, if your 5.9ft tall and weigh approx. 165 pounds, you will need a 60″ stick with an 80 –85 flex rating. Naturally, these measurements are generalized, and a more comfortable flex may depend on your position, playstyle, or just personal preference
Hockey Stick Grip
When you are measuring and sizing your hockey stick, you must factor in your grip. Grip-wise, hockey sticks come in two variants: a texturized, tacky surface and a smooth, glossy, non-grip finish.
Texturized grip provides better control of your stick, despite external factors, like wet gloves. However, it somewhat impedes your hands’ movement speed on the stick, which is why some players prefer smooth, non-grip finishes.
Non-grip finishes are smooth, allowing your bottom hand to move freely up and down the stick’s shaft. Unfortunately, smooth surfaces are prone to slipping, which can impede your control of the stick, and potentially missing a shot. If you are somewhere in between, you can purchase a non-grip stick and wrap some mild-adhesive wrapping tape to provide minimal tackiness and prevent slipping.
It is common practice among manufacturers to offer both types to their customers. Some even went a step further and segmented the grip, making only certain otherwise glossy stick areas texturized and tacky.
What is a Kickpoint on a Hockey Stick?
The kick point is where your ice hockey stick bends and recoils from (or flexes) when you apply standard pressure. Most hockey sticks are made of very thin carbon fibers layered in different patterns to provide the stick with durability and flexural strength. Additional changes to the stick shaft’s geometry may affect the shaft’s flexing area, providing different performance.
There are two main types of kick-points:
- Mid-kick – uniformly constructed sticks bend in the middle, which is known as the mid-kick point. These sticks are the most common in ice hockey, as they are designed for heavier energy loads and shooters who lean heavily into their shots to generate more power.
- Low-kick – Low kick point signifies a flexural point that is shifted lower along the shaft, closer to the blade. This design trades power for speed and often pairs with unique geometrical profiles, strengthening the flex area, allowing for a quicker release.
- Variable-kick – Lastly, there is a variable-kick point, otherwise known as hybrid-flex, a meeting point between speed and power. Variable-kick sticks offer different performances depending on the player’s hand placement on the shaft, offering quick releases with very little power loss.
- Blade patterns are a notable feature to factor in when sizing and measuring a hockey stick. Unfortunately, blade patterns are mostly overlooked features by beginner players. And here is the most crucial part: blade patterns consist of several different blade features, like curves, faces, and lengths. Here is what they all mean:·
- Curve – There are different types of blade curves, categorized by direction, type, and depth. The curve direction mainly depends on whether you are left-handed or right-handed, blade type refers to where the curve begins (heel, mid, or toe), and depth dignifies the curvature of the blade.
- Face angles – This refers to the blade’s “twist” at the end of the toe. The face with an upward twist is regarded as the open face and allows you to lift the puck off the ice easier. The closed face will cup over the puck, which is fantastic for defensive play.
- Blade lengths – Hockey sticks have short, medium, and long blades, which you should choose based on your personal preference, and playstyle. Shorter blades are fantastic for stick handling and close-up play. Longer blades are great for developing players because they provide more contact surfaces for the puck. Medium blades offer the best of both worlds.
Blade lie is, generally speaking, a blade pattern feature. However, since it marginally affects the stick’s length and the way you hold it, it deserves a more comprehensive description.
Blade lie refers to the blade’s angle in relation to the hockey stick shaft’s longitudinal axis. With the bottom of the blade lying flat on the ice, the angle at which you hold the stick is referred to as the lie. If you are more comfortable with steep angles, you will want a high lie, and if you want your blade farther from you, a low lie is what you need.
Proper sizing of a hockey stick is paramount to your performance on the ice. The number of variables is far more complex than simply measuring the stick’s length, as you need to account for the material, weight, grip, flex, etc. We hope that our article provided enough insight into measuring a hockey stick so that you may find one that is a perfect fit for you.