Just starting out or in ice hockey or planning to soon? Then you should follow this advice about making your first hockey stick one that works well for you. It is best to start out with an inexpensive wood hockey stick for your very first Ice Hockey Stick and it should have a basic or standard version of a blade, length and flex of the hockey stick.
Should you play with a Left handed or right handed stick? Using a right handed versus left handed hockey stick is not an automatic decision and it really comes down to which way feels more comfortable to you. One guideline is to choose a hockey stick so that your dominate hand is on top (i.e. a right handed stick for a left handed person). The best way to figure this out is to borrow one of each stick from friends, or your local hockey shop, and try them out. Choose the way that feels most comfortable to you.
Next is getting the correct length for your hockey stick. You will need a stick that is the minimum length or longer (that you will cut to the right length). See below for a good guideline for cutting your stick to the correct length. Hockey stick come in some pretty standard sizes (youth, junior, intermediate and senior sticks) and you will need to choose from this selection.
The next thing is to choose the blade pattern that you are going to use. Every manufacture has different pro hockey player names for their blade patterns but all of the stock blades will come in just a handful of patterns. You should stick with a blade pattern that his a minor curve to is to that it is easier to learn good puck control on your forehand and backhand.
Flex is a measurement of how flexible or stiff the hockey stick is. When you take a shot, the pressure you apply with your lower hand causes the hockey stick to bend. This bending is good when it helps accelerate your shot when the hockey stick bends or snaps back. The correct flex for you is one that is the stiffest that you can still bend when you shoot. Too much bending causes accuracy challenges. Too stiff and you don’t get any bending. Go with a “regular flex” rating (regular flex = 85 for an adult stick) for your first stick.
Now you need to cut your stick to the proper length. When you are standing in your skates, the top of the stick should be around your chin when the stick is held vertically in front of you. A fine tooth wood saw works best to cut both wood hockey sticks and composite sticks. The hockey shop where you buy your stick should be able to cut it for you.
The last step in getting your stick ready is to tape it. You need to tape your blade (from heel to toe is that way I do it) and tape a grip and knob on the top of the handle. Cloth tape is most common but friction tape (tape that is sticky on both sides) can be used on the blade for a stronger grip feel.
Okay, you should have a good first time hockey stick that you are ready to take to the rink and start playing with. When you gain some more experience you will get the chance to play with other sticks and make a decision as to what hockey characteristics are working for you and which ones you might want to change. Don’t be afraid to experiment and you should be able to find an even better stick for you the second time around.