There has been a lot of discussion regarding the pros and cons of wood versus composite hockey sticks in the NHL that last couple of years. The fact of the matter is that wood hockey sticks are almost extinct in the NHL. But what about for the recreational player? Wood hockey sticks are a very viable, and sometimes preferred, option. We are going to cover the pros and cons of each stick.
The advantages of the newer composite sticks are many. The sticks are lighter, they are more consistent from stick to stick and they have been engineered to provide player with a quicker shot. The quicker shot comes from the lower kick points in composite sticks. The kick point is the play on the hockey shaft where the stick bends when your stick the puck. With wood shafts the bend tends to be where you place your lower hand. This causes a larger and slower loading and release cycle. Low kick point composite sticks place the bend point at the bottom of the shaft near the blade. This provides a shorter loading and release cycle and the net result is a quicker shot.
If you have played hockey before chances are good that you started with a wood hockey stick and that is still a good choice for today’s beginning hockey players. Wood hockey sticks are significantly less expensive than composite hockey sticks and this certainly helps the budget when you are just getting started and have to gear up with all of the equipment required to play hockey. Another advantage of wood sticks is that they impart a better feel for the puck for beginning players. After you have been playing hockey for a while you will be better able to judge the qualities of hockey sticks and how they match your style of play. That is a good point to investigate whether or not a composite hockey stick makes sense for you.
For a beginning player a wood stick is a great first hockey stick. In your early years playing hockey, the advantages of a composite hockey stick over a wood one might be beyond your ability to take advantage of. The one exception to this is the lighter weight of the composite sticks. Beyond that price is often the factor that most influences a wood versus composite purchasing decision. The key thing to figure out is if the benefits of a composite stick are worth the extra cost to you.
After making your selection you still need to choose the blade pattern to match your preferences and whether you shoot right or left handed. Your stick will need to be long enough to come up to your chin area when you are standing in skates and hold the stick vertically with one end on the ice in front of you. Hockey sticks also have a flex to their shafts just like golf clubs do. You will need a flex that woks for your skill, style on overall body weight and strength.
In the end it all comes to personal choice. You need to try out a large variety of sticks to find the one that is best suited to your skills and your budget. As your skills and experience improve over time you “perfect” hockey stick will evolve as well.
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