A piece of equipment used in any form of hockey
, inc. ice street, roller and field.
The ice, street and roller hockey
stick are generally one and the same. At least in design. It consists of a shaft varying from 3' to 6' in length, depending on the height of the user. The blade bends out from the shaft and is approx. 3" in height. In addition the blade may curve making the stick designed for a left-handed
shot. The curvature allows the user to get more power
out of a forehand shot
, while sacrificing stick-handling ability and back-hand shot
power. Though the curvature does have those drawbacks
very few hockey players
above the age of eight use a neutral stick
. And have grown accustomed to the curvature in their stick handling
shots. A neutral stick
has no curvature in the blade.
of a stick refers to the angle between the blade and the shaft. However, in recent times the lie rating
has fallen by the wayside, instead being replaced by the flex
of the stick.
of the stick refers to how easy the shaft is to bed. This bending is generally only used in a slapshot
In early years hockey
sticks were formed from a single piece of wood and were very prone to breaking
. Also, in the beginning all sticks were sold as neutral
. Many hockey players curved the blade of their sticks. Using the steam rising from a pot of boiling water
they could steam the wood allowing them to curve it. Large curves prompted the rule limiting the curvature
of the blade.
In the 'middle-ages' of hockey manufacturers began laminating
their sticks with fiberglass
. The fiberglass
brought the durability of the stick up from its brittle past. However most players still kept several sticks on the bench, just in case. Also, with the advent of the fiberglass stick it became much more difficult to curve the blade. A blow torch
needed to be used to heat the fiber glass. I myself ruined
more than one stick in my youth attempting this. In the mid-eighties the aluminum stick made its debut. Providing unsurpassed durability in the shaft it was favored by some and shunned by others. Initially, the weight of the stick was greater than that of a wood. And the blade was still wooden and just as likely to break as its cousin. The wood blade was held in by a strong form of hot glue
. When the shafts first hit the market the only way to remove the blade was by heating the shaft with a blow torch
. The fatigued metal
holding the blade became brittle and caused problems. The nineties saw the advent of the graphite
shaft. Providing a much lighter stick with just as much durability as the aluminum shafts of the eighties. Also in the nineties the heat-gun
became popular. Allowing players to remove broken blades with a high-powered hair dryer. It was easier on the metal and not such a safety concern
. Now we have sticks like the Synergy
, pure graphite shaft and blade. At $150 each they are 5x-6x the cost of a wood stick. However, they are pure graphite and much lighter than any wood or aluminum
stick. Their responsiveness
(I use one myself).
Street hockey sticks were at one point, the same as ice-hockey
sticks, literally. However, once the fiberglass was worn through the blade quickly began to disintegrate
from the inside-out. Plastic
has replaced wood as the material of choice for a long lasting street-stick. The draw back to a plastic blade is that it flexes. The flex is problematic for hard wrist-shots
and makes slapshots
Field hockey sticks I know little about. However instead of the blade just jutting out from the shaft they actually curve back up toward the top of the shaft.
Taping a stick
A hockey stick is taped it two places. The top of the shaft and around the blade.
The end of the shaft generally has a tape-ball
, providing the skater a good grip and an indication of where the end of his stick is. The tape-ball
can be formed in multiple ways, from simply wrapping tape around the end of the shaft to purchasing a pre-made rubber
topper. However, the rubber toppers are generally frowned upon as taboo
. White tape is used at the top of the shaft since black tape has a tendency to get black tar
on your hockey gloves.
The blade of the stick is taped to improve the stick-puck friction. There are two different types of tape that can be used. First is standard black. Providing good contrast with the ice as a passing target, and generally out of tradition
. The other is tar
is little more than fabric dipped in tar, giving both sides a sticky quality. Many players swear by it (as I do). I have heard it gives an added 5mph on shots due to the added friction the tar provides. However, I am unsure of the accuracy of that statement. The only draw back to tar-tape
is that is does not last as long as standard black-tape