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Henry Taylor
Henry Taylor

Composite Ice Hockey Stick

A composite hockey stick is the preferred choice for almost all hockey players around the world! Composite sticks are constructed out of carbon fiber layers and lightweight resin, providing an excellent combination of weight-saving and durability. While the top-end composite sticks from the major ice hockey brands tend to be the most expensive, they feature the best specs and tend to last the longest.

composite ice hockey stick

How long a composite hockey stick lasts is based on a few factors. First, the level of play is the most significant factor. If you play in a top-level youth (AAA) or Junior league (USHL), composite hockey sticks will not last nearly as long as someone who is using one in a recreational league due to the more physical nature of the top-level leagues. Also, all major hockey stick brands feature different levels of sticks, top-end to low-end. Generally, the top-end sticks will last longer thanks to improved internal materials.

The biggest difference between a wood hockey stick and a composite hockey stick is weight. Composite hockey sticks are significantly lighter than wood sticks. While lighter, composite hockey sticks are more durable than wood sticks as well. Lastly, composite hockey sticks come in various different flex and blade pattern choices, unlike wood sticks. The upside to wood sticks is that they are much less expensive than composite sticks. Check out our entire inventory of composite hockey sticks here!

Yes, all players in the NHL use composite hockey sticks. Players choose them for their weight savings (over wood sticks), ability to get custom specifications (like specific flex, blade pattern, etc.), and overall ability to get them. All major stick brands like CCM, Bauer, True, and Warrior have composite hockey sticks ready to go!

Believe it or not, there are many factors to be take into consideration when it comes to choosing a hockey stick. Using the right hockey stick can make a huge difference in your game, as it can make shooting, stick handling, and overall control of your game much easier. Use this guide to find the best hockey stick for you and your style of play.

The goaltender has a slightly modified stick. The lower part of the stick is wider, the angle is smaller, and the blade is slightly curved towards the direction of the play. New goaltender sticks also are made of the same composite technology as used in regular sticks.

The oldest known hockey stick dates to the mid-1830s; it was made for William "Dilly" Moffatt (born 1829) from sugar maple wood and is now owned by the Canadian Museum of History.[2] In 2006, a stick made in the 1850s, at the time the oldest known, was sold at auction for $2.2 million; it had been appraised at US$4.25 million.[3]

The Moffatt stick may have been made by the Mi'kmaq. Starting in the 18th century, there are numerous references to the Mi'kmaq people of Nova Scotia playing ice hockey, and starting in the 19th century, there are claims that they invented the ice hockey stick.[4] In the mid-19th century, the Starr Manufacturing Company began to sell Mic-Mac hockey sticks nationally and internationally.[5] Through the first decade of the 20th century, it was the best-selling hockey stick in Canada. By 1903, apart from farming, producing them was the primary occupation of the Mi'kmaq on reserves throughout Nova Scotia, particularly Shubenacadie, Indian Brook and Millbrook.[5] In 1927 the department of Indian Affairs for Nova Scotia identified that the Mi'kmaq remained the "experts" at making hockey sticks.[6] Mi'kmaq continued to make hockey sticks until the 1930s.[7]

Hockey sticks were mostly made from the maple or willow trees, which was also a common choice for golf club shafts and wooden tools. However, as hornbeam supplies diminished, it became more cost effective to use other hardwoods, such as yellow birch and ash. Ash gradually became the preferred medium, and by the 1920s an ash hockey stick crafted from a single piece of wood was the type most commonly used. These early sticks were extremely heavy and not very forgiving, although they were extremely durable (Hall of Famer Moose Johnson famously used the same extra-long stick, which gave him a 99-inch (2,500 mm) reach, his entire career).

There were only a handful of major developments in hockey stick technology between the 1920s and the 2000s. Foremost among these was creation of the laminated stick in the 1940s, where layers of wood were glued together and sandwiched to create a more flexible and durable design. In the 1960s, companies began adding another lamination of fiberglass or other such synthetic compound as a coating, which further added to the durability and usability of the stick. Also in the 1960s, players began curving the blade of the stick, which dramatically changed the physics affecting players' shots.

In the 1970s, cricket and baseball bat manufacturers began experimenting with lightweight steel alloys as a replacement for the traditional willow or ash bat. Hockey stick designers followed suit in the early 1980s, introducing first a single piece all-aluminum stick. This design was not popular, as the stiff aluminum did not have the proper "feel", and so a design featuring an aluminum shaft and a removable, replaceable wooden blade was tried. This became very popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s, challenging the prevalence of the traditional wooden stick for the first time.

In recent years, the aluminum stick, as well as its wooden counterpart, have largely been replaced by more advanced composite designs. Common building materials include fiberglass and carbon fiber. Composite sticks generally weigh less than their aluminum forebears, and they can be manufactured with more consistent (and varied) physical properties than their wooden counterparts. They are, however, considerably more expensive than wooden sticks, and are not as durable as the older aluminum sticks.

Over the last two decades, there have been tremendous advances in the material technology used to create hockey sticks. The vast majority of sticks are made with one or more of the following materials:

Carbon fiber has become by far the most common building material for sticks used in the NHL. Carbon fiber sticks were originally sold as shafts alone, much like their aluminum counterparts but nowadays, most hockey sticks are "one piece" sticks. The first company to successfully develop, produce and market "one piece" carbon fiber composite sticks was Composite Busch SA [10] out of Switzerland in 1992.

Carbon fiber sticks are ideal due to their light weight and favorable mechanical characteristics. They are generally accepted to be able to store and release elastic potential energy predictably and efficiently.[11] However, there is ongoing debate over whether the mechanical characteristics of composite sticks make for more powerful shots.[12]

Fiberglass was the first composite stick material, initially used with wood. Some sticks made solely from fiberglass have been produced but today, fiberglass is most commonly used as a composite with other materials, such as wood, carbon fiber, and/or kevlar.

Wooden sticks are usually constructed by laminating multiple types of wood into a high quality plywood, then coating the stick and blade with thin plastic or fiberglass.[citation needed] Some manufacturers use fiberglass as a laminate between wood layers. Today in the NHL, almost no players still use wooden sticks.

The main advantage that wooden sticks enjoy today is their low cost. This makes them a popular choice for street hockey. Their main disadvantage that wooden sticks suffer from is their relative inconsistency.[13][14] Wood has a tendency to warp, and over time its flex and stiffness properties will change. Additionally, being a natural material, wood also creates variations in production (even between identical patterns).

Aluminum sticks were the first non-wood sticks to appear. Most aluminum sticks consist of a shaft made of an aluminum alloy and a wooden blade or composite blade, which is held in the shaft by glue and the compression of the shaft itself. There was a brief period in the 1990s when the majority of NHL players used aluminum sticks, but today nearly all players use composite sticks.[15]

The main advantage aluminum sticks enjoy is their unparalleled durability. It is fairly rare for an aluminum shaft to be broken or damaged, even at the professional level, and since the blades can be easily replaced, a shaft will typically last for a relatively long period of time. Aluminum sticks will not suffer wear or warping like a wooden stick, and they can be manufactured with high consistency. Aluminum sticks, however, are not as elastic as other materials.

The lie of a stick refers to the angle between the shaft and the blade. A lie value of 5 corresponds to a 135 angle, and each additional lie value corresponds to a 2 smaller angle.[16] With the bottom of the blade flat on the ice, a higher lie value corresponds to a more upright shaft. Typical values range from 5 to 7; most sticks now are near 5.5. Goalie sticks typically have a lie between 11 and 15.[17]

Players usually seek a lie that will put the blade flat on the ice while they are in their typical skating stance. Hall of Fame center Wayne Gretzky, for example, used a stick with a low lie to correspond with his deep skating crouch and shorter height, whereas Hall of Fame defenceman Rod Langway used a stick with a very high lie number as he was very tall and tended to skate in a very upright position.

Hockey stick shafts, much like golf club shafts, are highly flexible, and this flexibility is a key component in their performance. Flex, bend, stiffness, and whip are all terms used to describe the amount of force required to bend a given stick shaft a certain amount.

With most composite and aluminum sticks, their stiffness characteristic is correlated numerically. This number, which ranges from 40 through 160, is printed on the stick and corresponds to the amount of force (in pounds-force) that it takes to deflect or bend the shaft one inch. For example, if 100 pounds-force (440 N) is required to bend the shaft 1 inch (2.5 cm), it would be labelled "100 stiff". The stiff rating of a stick applies to its original length and increases if it is cut to a shorter length. 041b061a72

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