Which Hockey Stick is Right for Me?

Eric Eustace is a Co-Founder of Bolt Sports, former NCAA hockey player and hockey coach of 10+ years. Eric will be contributing articles relevant to Bolt updates in addition to interesting pieces for young, developing hockey players!

Choosing the right stick is not the easiest thing. There are so many options, price points, marketing strategies employed by companies to get you to choose their stick over the competitor. This article will break down main things to look for and help you choose a stick that will perform well for you! Hockey sticks can be simplified down to pieces of carbon fiber with different flex, curve, height, weight, kick point and finish.

  1. Flex: Arguably the most important part of buying a stick is choosing the correct flex. The flex of the stick will allow you to shoot the puck more efficiently (harder with less force) and handle the puck better. Flex is determined by how stiff the shaft is, the number corresponding to the amount of force required to bend the stick a certain amount. Generally, the required flex is determined based on the player’s weight and strength. A simple guide is to take your body weight (pounds) and divide it by 2.2. For example, an adult male of 190 pounds might choose an 85-88 flex stick (190/2.2=88.6). A small child who weighs just 60 pounds might opt for a 25 flex. 

    Keep in mind, the flex written on the stick reflects the stock height (the stick hasn’t been cut). As you cut the stick, the flex increases. This means if that same 190 pound adult needs to cut his stick 3 inches, he should opt for a 75-77 flex, rather than 85-87. Sticks are available in lower and lower flexes for young children these days, which is great! This allows the children to learn how to shoot properly at younger and younger ages.

  2. Curve/Lie: This one is a bit less scientific and is much more preference based. Generally, people this that bigger curves are more suitable for forwards who need to get the puck up faster and smaller curves might better suit defensemen. Sure it’s great to use a stick with your favorite player’s name on it, but don’t let this guide your choice. In reality, these players don’t use this stock curve anyways and their sticks are custom made. 

    The curve is often tied to the lie, so unless you opt for a custom stick, you’ll have to sacrifice the choice on one or the other. Lie 6 is standard, lie 5 is for players who like to play very low to the ice and lie 7 is for players who skate more upright. Really, any player can get used to any curve and it’s all about preference. Give a bunch a shot at your local hockey store, or exchange and try with a friend. Once you found one you like. stick with it and and stay consistent.

  3. Weight: The weight of the stick largely depends on the price point. The more expensive sticks are generally lighter and will therefore perform better (the lighter the stick, the faster you can move it with the same amount of effort). If it doesn’t break the bank, a lighter stick is almost always the better choice. You could choose the top of the line stick to use in games and a lower end stick for practicing and training to prolong the life of that $300 high end stick.

  4. Height: Sticks come in stock heights and need to be cut to the correct size of the player. It’s generally accepted the sticks should go up to somewhere between a player’s chin and nose. A shorter stick should offer better control and fluidity while a longer stick might be more suitable for pokechecks and hard shots. Like the curve, it’s very much about preference and staying consistent. If possible, try to avoid using a longer stick and ‘growing into it’ as this WILL affect performance. Once you outgrow your stick, you can relegate that one for training purposes (as it will be the correct height when not wearing skates). 



  5. Kick Point: This feature is still relatively new and simply refers to the point of the stick that’s a bit softer and will flex the most during a shot. Different lines of sticks represent different kick points. For Bauer, Vapor = low kick point, Supreme = high kick point and Nexus = mid kick point. It’s generally accepted that lower kick point is more geared towards a quick release while a higher kick is for power, mid-kick being the happy medium. Realistically, in most amateur players won’t notice a huge difference, but again, go to your local store and try all three options. Pick one, stay consistent.

These are the main criteria I look for when choosing a stick. I’ve used the same setup for years and years and it’s what I’m most comfortable with out there; using anything else just feels a bit off. Next to skates, the stick is probably the most important piece of equipment and the one with the most variables. Hopefully this article will help you in making the right decision on your next stick purchase!