This is the most difficult variable to meet based on retail sticks as most are way too stiff. There are typically 4 levels of flex you will find in stores:
- Youth (typically 25-35 flex) – this is for the beginner who is just starting to play. The good thing about these sticks is the very small circumference of the shaft which fits in the hands of a toddler. The low flex is also good for younger players as they’ll be able to learn the basis of flex and how it helps to generate velocity.
- Junior (typically 45-55 flex) – this stick is suited for a wide array of players. These sticks are still way too stiff for players under 9, but most opt for this stick as they don’t like the feel of the Youth stick. This stick is best suited to players between 9 and 12 and great for smaller teenage girls.
- Intermediate (typically 60-75 flex) – this stick is best suited to a stronger player who weighs over 130 pounds and is strong on their skates. Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs uses a 75 flex stick to get his quick release snap shot. This stick is best suited to Bantam and Midget players who have enough power and balance to still use the flex of the stick.
- Senior (typically 85-110 flex) – this stick is for large players (typically 200+ pounds) and strong on their skates. This is the standard for semi professional and professional players.
There are 3 types of curves to choose from:
- Heel – this provides a large sweet spot which is great for slap shots, one timers and deflections.
- Toe – this provides the best puck control and is great for wrist shots
- Mid – this provides the best of both worlds – good puck control and shot accuracy
Generally speaking, your stick should be somewhere between your chin and your nose when you are on your skates. However, this is a general rule of thumb and you should find your personal preference. The advantages of a smaller stick are better puck control, but you sacrifice a bit of power with your shot. A longer stick provides the ability to poke check the puck better and get a bit more power in your shot, while sacrificing a bit of puck control. See what works best for you!
Normally the lie ranges from 4 to 6 in 0.5 increments. The more upright a stick is, the higher the lie number. This is for players that skate more upright or are more comfortable controlling the puck closer to their body. The key for players is to ensure that the blades lays flat on the ice when controlling the puck.
This is one of the most important factors for parents. Once you figure out the specs that work best for you, it is just looking for a stick that is the closest fit for your specs and within your budget.
If you need any more tips on how to choose the right stick, feel free to ask me any questions.
Choosing the right stick can make all the difference.