What to know when choosing a stick ...
Selecting a stick is very personal. Each player has specific likes and dislikes. The perfect stick means different things to different players. Some players like long sticks, while others may prefer short sticks. Some like toe curves, and others like mid-blade curves. Conversely, some players like sticks with a lot of bend or flex, as it is more often referred to, while others like a stiff shaft.
So while there are some general guidelines and things you should be aware of when selecting a stick, at the end of the day, it comes down to what feels natural in your player's hands.
Below we have assembled some general points, terminology, and stick features to consider when selecting a stick.
A kick point is a spot where a stick’s shaft bends or flexes the most. There are generally three kick point options from the major stick manufacturers; low, mid, and high.
Low kick point - The lower the kick point is generally for a quicker release for shooting.- preferred by most forwards that play in traffic and need to get their shots off quick
Mid kick point - The mid kick point is generally for players that want more power on their shot
High kick point - The high kick point stick is preferred by players looking for max power for firing slap shots
Flex is the measurement, in pounds, of the amount of pressure required to bend the stick 1 inch. Generally speaking, the higher the flex number, the less bend or flex in the stick.
The flex of a stick provides a whipping, sling-shot effect to a shot giving it extra velocity. A general rule of thumb when selecting a stick flex is to choose a flex number that is 1/2 your player's body weight. So if your player weighs 200 lbs, a flex number of 100 would be the suggested flex. However, it again comes back to the player's preference and strength, For younger players who aren't as strong, I would suggest going with a flex number slightly lower than 1/2 their body weight. A good test is to have the player lean on the stick and try to bend it. If they have to apply too much force, then the flex is too high, and they should select a lower number. Conversely. if the stick bends easily without much exertion, you should probably select a higher flex number.
The general rule of thumb for measuring stick length has always been to put the toe of the stick blade on the floor, between your feet (with no shoes or skates on), with the stick parallel to the body, and measure to the bottom of the nose. Once this area is located on the stick's shaft, the stick should be trimmed/cut. Again this length standard is just a rule of thumb. Players can and should deviate slightly from this benchmark length based on their preferences and/or position.
As aforementioned, a secondary influence on how far to deviate from this "bottom of the nose" standard is dependent on the position played. Generally, shorter sticks allow for better puck handling (think forwards, particularly centerman). In comparison, longer sticks provide better use of the stick's flex capability and provide a better defensive radius (think defensemen firing slapshots and making poke checks). The medium length, or
"standard length" provides what the middle usually does, a nice balance between the short and long stick benefits of good puck handling, yet with enough length to exploit the stick's flex and extra length for puck battles (think wingers battling in the corners and shooting off the wall),
Personally, as a centerman my entire life, I've always preferred a shorter stick for handling and navigating through traffic (easier to maneuver). Additionally, the shorter stick forces me to keep my knees bent more and be in a better skating stride position.
While there are lots of curve options available, they mainly fall into three categories of curves ... toe, mid, and heel. In addition to the actual bend of the blade (the curve), there is the twist of the blade, often referred to as its level of openness., Put in layman's terms the