If you are an avid hockey fan, you might have wondered: What exactly is a hockey stick made of?
After all, hockey sticks see a lot of action.
They have to slide across the ice and hit the puck into the net over and over again.
Maybe you are wondering what material is the best material for a hockey stick to be made of.
What Is A Hockey Stick Made Of?
Hockey sticks are made out of three main materials: wood, aluminum, and carbon fiber sheets.
Composite hockey sticks are made by connecting layers of carbon fiber sheets with epoxy resin.
The type of resin used is going to depend on the preferences of the hockey stick manufacturer.
Different resins have different properties.
Composite sticks are made of up to 15 layers of carbon fiber.
Makers will alternate the direction of each layer of carbon fiber in order to maximize the strength of the stick.
1. Wooden Hockey Sticks
The original hockey sticks were made out of wood.
The first one was made in Nova Scotia by native Mi’kmaq people.
Sticks were carved from a single piece of wood.
This was important for durability.
If the sticks were made from lots of pieces, they would be more prone to breakage.
2. Aluminum Hockey Sticks
Aluminum hockey sticks started to grow in popularity in the 1990s.
Its popularity was mostly related to an endorsement by Wayne Gretzky.
However, this popularity didn’t last.
The use of aluminum hockey sticks dropped off when composite sticks started to take off in the early 2000s.
Aluminum sticks are not made entirely of aluminum.
The blade is typically still made of wood while the shaft is made of aluminum.
Like wood, aluminum is very durable.
This played a role in what made it a popular material.
It is resistant to warping, which is important for hockey sticks that see a lot of action.
3. Composite Hockey Sticks
The most popular hockey stick today is a composite hockey stick.
Composite hockey sticks are made from carbon fiber sheets.
The carbon fiber is combined with partially cured resin.
Unlike wood and aluminum hockey sticks, the composite hockey stick blade is not made of wood.
Composite sticks have blades that are made primarily from foam soaked in resin.
The reason composite sticks have foam blades is that the foam gives them a “springy” feeling.
How Long Does A Hockey Stick Last?
Typically, a hockey stick will last four to five years.
How long your hockey stick lasts is going to depend on a number of different factors: how the stick was constructed, which position you play, and your frequency of use.
The construction of your hockey stick is going to be one of the biggest factors that determine your stick’s durability.
Many fans of wooden hockey sticks argue that players who use composite sticks deal with more frequent breakage.
Other players argue that composite sticks are more durable than wooden sticks.
If you are using a composite hockey stick, cheaper options will probably break more easily.
This is because they are typically made with more fiberglass and less carbon fiber in order to save money.
2. Hockey Position
Your position can play a big role in how often you break your stick.
For example, doing a lot of slap shots puts stress on your blade.
Another case where your stick might break easily is if you are a shot blocker.
This is because sudden impacts can break your stick.
This will also depend on your general style of play.
3. Frequency Of Use
If you use it daily during the hockey season, you can expect to see some scuffing during this time.
It seems that professional hockey players break their sticks more often than any other type of hockey player.
This makes sense considering that professional hockey players have the highest frequency of use.
Some professional hockey players use a new stick each game, whether or not they broke their stick in the previous game.
What Is The Best Material For A Hockey Stick?
There are benefits and downsides to using each type of hockey stick.
Wooden sticks typically last the longest.
They also are heavier and cheaper than other types of hockey sticks.
One of the reasons that aluminum hockey sticks became popular in the 1990s was their lightweight feel.
The aluminum is a lot less strenuous to use when compared to a wooden stick because of this lightweight feel.
Many people would argue that composite sticks are the best type of hockey stick because they are sturdy and have similar flexibility and feel as the original wooden hockey sticks while also being lightweight like an aluminum hockey stick.
Another advantage to composite sticks is the customization that is possible.
A typical hobby hockey player might not have the resources to customize their hockey sticks, but professional players can.
They can work with hockey stick manufacturers to create a hockey stick that has the best weight, flexibility, shape, and curve for their own personal preferences.
If you wanted to find the best hockey stick material for you, one option would be to test out each type of hockey stick.
Because there are advantages and disadvantages to each type, what works for you will mostly come down to personal preference.
If you are interested in comparing hockey sticks and have an active hockey community, you could ask to borrow a stick of each type of material.
Then you could conduct a comparison test on the ice.
By using a stick made from each material, you can guarantee you pick the best stick for you.
What Was The First Hockey Stick Made Out Of?
The first hockey sticks were made out of wood.
Later, in the 1800s, the sticks were specifically made out of birch and hornbeam wood trees.
Hornbeam wood is also known as ironwood because it has a high level of durability.
When hornbeam wood became difficult to find, maple became the typical wood for a hockey stick to be made of.
The Mi’kmaq were the first people to make hockey sticks.
They continued to make them until industrialization took over in the 1930s.
Later, to add longevity, some modifications were made to the shaft.
This included lamination with some modest flex to the stick.
What Should You Look For In A High-Quality Hockey Stick?
When you are looking to buy your own hockey stick, there are several things you should consider in addition to the material.
1. Are You Left-Handed Or Right-Handed?
If you are new to the world of hockey, you might not know that there are different sticks for left-handed players and right-handed players.
If it is more comfortable for your to hold your right hand above your left hand on the stick when playing, that means you are a left-handed player and need a left-handed stick.
If you prefer to have your left hand on the top and your right hand on the bottom, this indicates that you need a right-handed hockey stick.
The best way to figure out which one is right for you is to try out and practice with both.
You might be right-handed in most aspects of your life but find that left-handed hockey sticks are more comfortable for you, or vice versa.
Beyond choosing a left-handed or right-handed stick, there are three other main factors you should consider when choosing a stick that is perfect for you: length, flex, and curve.
1. Stick Length
Many people argue that hockey stick length is one of the most important parts of choosing a stick that is right for you.
The length of your hockey stick is going to depend on your height.
If your stick is too short, you will have to bend over to make contact with the ice.
Alternatively, you could miss the puck entirely because of the length of your stick.
If your stick is too short, it also can cause problems.
The butt end of your stick can cause you to have a difficult time moving it.
It can get caught under your arms and be generally unruly to handle.
The stick length you want may also depend on your position.
For example, some defenders prefer longer sticks because it gives them additional reach.
On the other hand, some forwards prefer shorter sticks because it helps with better stick handling.
The nice thing about stick length is that it doesn’t have to be a deal breaker if you find an otherwise perfect stick.
This is because you can almost always cut your own hockey stick to the right height.
How To Cut Your Hockey Stick
If you do want to change the height of your hockey stick, there are a few things you need to understand.
It is important to be careful when cutting your stick.
Remember, “measure twice, cut once.”
If you cut a hockey stick too short, there is nothing you can do other than get a new stick.
One way you can prevent yourself from cutting your stick too short is to measure where to cut and then cut one inch higher than that point.
You can always cut more off of your stick, but you can’t add more to a stick that has already been cut.
Something else to keep in mind is that cutting your stick can change its flex profile.
The more you modify your stick, the more the flex profile is likely to change.
1. Stick Flex
Picking the right level of stick flex is another important component of stick selection.
Every hockey stick has what is called a “flex value.”
A hockey stick’s flex value is typically between 20 and 120.
A hockey stick’s flex value is based on the amount of force that it takes to bend the stick.
The numbers of a stick’s flex value tell you the number of pounds of force needed to bend the shaft by one inch.
For example, a stick with a flex value of 50 requires 50 pounds of force to bend the shaft by an inch.
A stick’s flex value is also related to its length.
Typically, longer sticks will be stiffer.
This is one of the reasons that adult hockey sticks tend to have less flex than youth hockey sticks.
It is also why cutting your stick can change its flex.
The right level of stick flex for you will depend mostly on your personal preference.
The stick flex does depend on material as well.
This is one of the reasons many modern players prefer composite sticks.
While you can not do much to change the flex of a wooden hockey stick, composite hockey sticks offer much more room for customization.
2. Stick Curve
The third consideration when finding a hockey stick that is a good fit for you is the stick curve.
This is one of the areas where personal preference plays the biggest role.
No matter what type of material your stick is made out of, you can always choose the curve type that you prefer most.
The reason your stick curve is so related to personal preference is that it depends on your playing style.
There are specific curve types for every type of player.
When selecting a blade pattern, there are three main things you will consider: the curve type, the curve depth, and the face angle.
3. Curve Type
You have three main curve types to choose from.
The three types of curves are toe, mid, and heel.
The name of each curve is based on which part of the blade has the most prominent curve.
If you have a toe curve, the curve will be most prominent in the top third of the blade.
If you have a mid curve, it will be most prominent in the middle curve.
A heel curve will be most prominent in the last third of the blade.
The best way to know which curve type is the best for you is by testing them out.
Try playing with all three types and then select the one that is best for you.
4. Curve Depth
Your stick can have a deep, a moderate, or a slightly curved depth.
A deeper curve is going to create a deeper pocket for the puck to sit in.
5. Face Angle
A blade’s face angle is based on how “flat” the blade is.
In hockey terminology, the face angle refers to how “open” or “closed” the blade is.
Imagine you are looking at the hockey blade from a bird’s eye view.
A closed blade will look very thin because it is perpendicular to the ground.
On the other hand, if you are looking at an open blade from the top-down position, you will see a lot of the blade because it is more horizontal to the ground.
An open face has the advantage of being better at lifting the puck.
Its spoon-like shape makes this easier.
Open-face blades are more popular for advanced hockey players while a closed-face blade is more popular with players who have a lower skill level.
There is also a middle ground between an open-faced blade and a closed-face blade called a slightly open blade.
Get Professional Advice
The best way to find the perfect hockey stick for you is to seek the advice of someone who knows the game and equipment well.
This doesn’t have to be a professional hockey player.
You could turn to your coach or more experienced players for advice.
Getting advice along with obtaining more experience will help you find the perfect stick for you.