Hockey Stick Buying Guide - How to Choose a Hockey Stick

Published 20th February 2024

Choosing the Right Hockey Stick

Selecting the optimal hockey stick is crucial for enhancing your performance on the ice. To find the perfect stick, you need to consider your size, build, and playing style. Many players unknowingly use ill-suited sticks for years, impacting their game. By following these essential guidelines, you can ensure superior on-ice performance.

Determine Your Handedness

Decide if you need a left- or right-handed stick based on which hand is lower on the stick. If your left hand is lower, opt for a left-handed stick, and vice versa for the right hand

Choose the Correct Stick Length

The length of your hockey stick affects control and performance. When standing in skates, the top of the stick should reach between your chin and nose. Shorter sticks provide better control, while longer sticks offer more power for slap shots

Flex Rating

The flex rating measures a stick's stiffness. A higher flex number indicates a stiffer stick. Generally, you should choose a flex rating that is about half your body weight

Blade Pattern

The blade pattern influences puck control and shot accuracy. Consider the curve, face angle, and lie. A deeper curve enhances puck handling, while a flatter blade aids in slap shots. The lie should suit your playing stance


Hockey sticks are made from wood, composite, or a mix of both. Composite sticks are lighter and offer better performance, though they are more expensive. Wood sticks are heavier but provide a traditional feel and are less costly

One-Piece vs. Two-Piece Sticks

One-piece sticks offer a consistent feel and are lighter. Two-piece sticks, consisting of separate blades and shafts, allow for more customization. Choose based on your preference for balance and customization

Types of Hockey Sticks

Choosing the right hockey stick is crucial for any player's performance on the ice. Here, we break down the two main types of hockey sticks: Composite and Wood.

Composite Hockey Sticks

Composite sticks are the choice for most NHL players today. Made from woven carbon fiber and fiberglass blends, they offer exceptional lightness and consistent performance.


Composite sticks come in various price points, offering a range of performance features. Their lightweight nature enhances agility and quick shot release.


The primary downside of composite sticks is durability. While some are designed for increased longevity, they still can't match the lifespan of wooden sticks.

Wood Hockey Sticks

Wood sticks are considered "old school" but remain a viable option for certain playing styles. They provide a classic feel and are favored by many who grew up using them.


Wood sticks are known for their superior puck feel, durability, and affordability. They are less expensive and can last longer under regular use compared to composite sticks.


Wood sticks are significantly heavier, often weighing 2-3 times more than composite options. Over time, their performance can degrade, leading to inconsistencies.

Hockey Stick Length Chart

Age Group Height Stick Length
Youth (3-5) 3'0" - 3'10" (76cm - 97cm) 38" - 44" (97cm - 112cm)
Youth (6-8) 3'10" - 4'8" (97cm - 142cm) 45" - 49" (114cm - 124cm)
Junior (7-13) 4'4" - 5'1" (132cm - 155cm) 50" - 54" (127cm - 137cm)
Intermediate (11-14) 4'11" - 5'4" (150cm - 163) 55" - 58" (140cm - 147cm)
Intermediate (12-14) 5'2" - 5'8" (157cm - 173cm) 55" - 58" (140cm - 147cm)
Senior (14+) 5'5" - 5'10" (165cm - 178cm) 57" - 61" (145cm - 155cm)
Senior (14+) 5'7" - 6'1" (170cm - 185cm) 58 - 62" (147cm - 157cm)
Senior (14+) 5'10" - 6'4" (178cm - 193cm) 60" - 63" (152cm 160cm)
Senior (14+) 6'1" + (185cm+) 60" - 63" (152cm - 160cm)

Hockey Stick Flex

Stick flex measures how flexible or stiff a stick is when force is applied. Since the flex rating indicates how many pounds of force it takes to flex the stick one inch, you should know that some sticks are significantly easier to bend than others.

Proper stick flex can increase overall shot velocity since flex has what you can think of as a slingshot effect. There is no “right or wrong” flex – it varies among players. so you'll want to try out different options. The higher the flex number, the stiffer, or less bend a stick will have. Conversely, the smaller the flex number, the more bend and softer a stick will be.

Not sure where to start? Using a sizing chart is a good idea.

Hockey Stick Flex Chart

Age Group Flex
Senior 65 - 95
Intermediate 55 - 70
Junior 30 - 50
Youth 20 - 35

Hockey Stick Length and Flex Sizing Chart

Age Group Height Weight Recommended Shaft Flex Stick Length
Youth (3-5) 3'0" - 3'10" (91cm - 117cm) 60 - 65 lbs. (27kg - 29.5 kg) 10/20/30 Flex 38" - 44" (97cm- 112cm)
Youth (6-8) 3'10" - 4'8" (117cm - 142cm) 50 - 80 lbs. (22.7kg - 36.3 kg) 30/35/40 Flex 45" - 49" (114cm - 124cm)
Junior (7-13) 4'4" - 5'1" (132cm - 155cm) 70 - 110 lbs. (31.8kg - 49.9kg) 50Flex 50" - 54" (127cm - 137cm)
Intermediate (11-14) 4'11" - 5'4" (150cm - 163cm) 95 - 125 lbs. (43.1kg - 56.7kg) 60 Flex 55" - 58" (140cm - 147cm)
Intermediate (12-14) 5'2" - 5'8" (157cm - 173cm) 100 - 140 lbs. (45.4kg - 63.5kg) 65/70 Flex (Light Flex) 55" - 58" (140cm - 147cm)
Senior (14+) 5'5" - 5'10" (165cm - 178cm) 125 - 175 lbs. (56.7kg - 79.4kg) 75/80 Flex (Mid Flex) 57" - 61" (145cm - 155cm)
Senior (14+) 5'7" - 6'1" (170cm - 185cm) 150 - 200 lbs. (68kg - 90.7kg) 85/95 Flex (Regular Flex) 58 - 62" (147cm - 157cm)
Senior (14+) 5'10" - 6'4" (178cm - 193cm) 180 - 235 lbs. (81.6 - 106.6kg) 95 Flex (Regular Flex) 58 - 62" (147cm - 157cm)
Senior (14+) 6'1" + (185cm+) 210 lbs. + 95 Flex (Regular Flex) 58 - 62" (147cm - 157cm)

Finding Your Ideal Blade Pattern

Selecting the perfect blade pattern can significantly enhance your on-ice performance. Do you favor a toe, mid, or heel curve? Do you aim for corners in tight spots or unleash powerful shots from the point? These choices may seem daunting, especially if you’re new to hockey, but we're here to simplify it for you.

In the past, selecting a blade pattern was straightforward as options were limited to straight blades until the 1960s when curved blades became popular. Today, the variety of curves can be overwhelming for novice players.

Understanding Blade Curves

Blade curves are defined by three main factors:

Curve Type
Curve Depth
Face Angle

Types of Blade Patterns

Manufacturers typically offer 3 to 6 blade patterns, with some overlap in styles across brands. However, unique patterns exist, and experimenting with different ones can lead to noticeable improvements in your game.

Toe Curve

A toe curve has most of the curve in the top third of the blade, ideal for quick snapshots and dekes.

Mid Curve

The mid curve features a prominent curve in the middle, providing a balanced feel for versatile play.

Heel Curve

With a heel curve, the bend is most noticeable in the bottom third, perfect for powerful slap shots and long passes.

Curve Depth

Curve depth refers to the degree of the curve:


Creates a larger pocket for the puck


Offers a balanced curve.


Features a gradual curve for subtle control.

Curve Openness

Curve openness affects the face angle and loft creation, categorized as:


The face is less twisted, visible from the front


Slight twist for moderate loft.


More twisted, enhancing puck lift and elevation.

Understanding Hockey Stick Lie

The lie of a hockey stick refers to the angle between the blade and the shaft. It's crucial that the bottom of the blade lies flat on the ice, aligning with your height and skating style for optimal performance.

Choosing the Right Lie

Higher Lie

Best for taller players or those who skate more upright.

Lower Lie

Ideal for shorter players or those who skate in a low, forward-leaning position

Most blade patterns come with a standard lie, but finding the ideal lie for you can be more complex. Your height in skates provides a good baseline for selecting the right lie.

Importance of Stick Lie

The significance of stick lie is often overlooked. Many blade patterns come in a single lie, but some offer multiple options. Adjusting the lie can significantly impact your game, providing a more customized fit.

Pro Tip: Checking Blade Wear

Examine the wear on your blade tape to determine if your current lie is appropriate:

Wear Near the Heel

Indicates a need for a higher or more upright lie.

Wear Near the Toe

Suggests a lower or flatter lie might be better.

Understanding Hockey Stick Kick Points

The kick point of a hockey stick is a crucial factor for composite sticks, directly affecting flex and your style of play. The kick point is the spot where the stick flexes most during shooting. There are three main types: low-kick, mid-kick, and customized kick points, each catering to different player needs and styles.

Types of Kick Points

Low-Kick Point

Ideal For: Players who need quick release times.

Best For: Quick wrist shots and snap shots.

How It Works: The stick flexes in the tapered area, providing a fast release that propels the puck quickly, perfect for close-range shots.

Mid-Kick Point

Ideal For: Power players who deliver hard slap shots and fully-loaded wrist shots.

Best For: Shots from greater distances.

How It Works: The stick flexes in the middle of the shaft, offering more power and stability for long-range shooting.

Customized Kick Point:

Ideal For: Versatile players needing flexibility in shot types.

Best For: Any location on the rink.

How It Works: The stick flexes where the bottom hand is placed, optimizing power and control for various shot styles.

Choosing the right kick point can greatly enhance your performance by aligning the stick’s flex with your shooting style. Experiment with different kick points to find the one that best suits your game.

Left-handed or Right-handed Hockey Stick?

Determining whether to use a left-handed or right-handed hockey stick can be challenging for novice skaters. While seasoned players may instinctively know their preference, beginners might need more guidance. Understanding your dominant hand and shooting preference can simplify this decision.

Identifying Your Dominant Hand

If you're unsure of your dominant hand for hockey, try picking up a baseball bat and see which way you naturally swing. This can provide insight into your preference. Remember, there is no definitive right or wrong choice in hockey; the key is to prioritize comfort and a natural feel.

NHL Handedness Ratio

Interestingly, left-handed players outnumber right-handed players in the NHL by a nearly 70 to 30 ratio. This statistic often surprises people and can be intriguing to explore.

Choosing the Right Stick

The designation of left or right-handed refers to which hand is lower on the stick when held comfortably:

Left-Handed Stick

Your left hand is lower on the stick.

Right-Handed Stick

Your right hand is lower on the stick.

Understanding Stick Control

The logic behind stick-handedness often relates to control. If your dominant hand is on top, it's easier to manage the stick. For right-handed individuals, controlling the top of a left-handed stick can provide better maneuverability, which is why many professional players shoot left-handed. This preference aligns with the fact that approximately 90% of the global population is right-handed

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, the choice between a left- or right-handed stick comes down to comfort. If you're predominantly right-handed and feel more at ease with a right-handed stick, go with that option. There's no definitive way to determine your shooting style; it's best to experiment with both options and see which one feels most comfortable

Hockey Stick Shaft Finish

Choosing the right hockey stick shaft finish can significantly impact your game. Hockey sticks typically come with two types of finishes: grip or clear (non-grip). Each finish offers unique benefits and drawbacks, depending on your playing style and preferences.

Grip Finish

A grip finish on the shaft is designed to enhance control, especially with your bottom hand. This type of coating helps prevent your hand from slipping, allowing for better power generation during shots. However, overly tacky grip finishes might hinder your ability to slide your hands smoothly up and down the shaft.

Advantages of Grip Finish:

1.Improved control during shooting.

2. Enhanced stability for your bottom hand.

3. Better power generation.

Disadvantages of Grip Finish:

1. Potential difficulty in sliding hands smoothly.

2. Overly sticky feel for some players.

Clear (Non-Grip) Finish

A clear finish offers a smooth surface, making it easy to slide your hands along the shaft. This can be beneficial for quick stickhandling and adjusting your grip. However, without a grip, there is a higher risk of your hand slipping during powerful shots, which can reduce shot power.

Advantages of Clear Finish:

1. Effortless hand movement along the shaft.

2. Ideal for quick stickhandling.

Disadvantages of Clear Finish:

1. Increased risk of hand slipping during shots.

2. Potentially less power in shooting.

Hockey Stick FAQs

Left-handed or Right-handed Hockey Stick?

Choosing between a left-handed or right-handed hockey stick often depends on your dominant hand in daily activities. Generally, if you’re predominantly left-handed, you’ll likely prefer a right-handed stick. Conversely, if you’re right-handed, a left-handed stick may feel more natural.

Hockey Stick Sizing by Age Group

Hockey stick sizing is influenced by height, weight, and age. Using a sizing chart can be helpful to find the ideal stick length and flex for different age groups, ensuring proper fit and performance.

What Type of Player Should Use a Lower Lie?

A lower lie is beneficial for players who skate low to the ice and keep the puck close in front of them. This allows for better control and accuracy in stickhandling and shooting.

Are Hockey Sticks Warranted Against Breakage?

Composite hockey sticks typically come with a 30-day warranty from the date of purchase, covering breakage under normal playing conditions.



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