The most beautiful game—the game of hockey—requires several pieces of equipment, none of which is more essential than a stick. You can play hockey without skates, without a puck, without a helmet, without protective equipment, but you cannot play without a stick (our focus here at Hockey Sticks HQ is ice hockey but in time we plan to expand to street and roller hockey). The decision to choose one from among the best hockey sticks is critical for every player.
While there are many hockey equipment guides online, here at Hockey Sticks HQ we have found them wanting, for one reason or another. It is, therefore, our pleasure to bring you the most comprehensive guide to choosing and buying your next ice hockey stick. Let us begin “The Ultimate Buying Guide to the Best Hockey Sticks” with a caveat.
And it’s a big one:
There is no such thing as the best hockey stick.
Every stick comes with different specifications. From material to construction to length to weight, blade lie, pattern, and curve to flex to length to brand to price, hockey sticks come in a myriad of variations. Each feature delivers a specific benefit.
You may hear ever player who takes their hockey seriously swear by their stick, for their own reason. Whether you play defense or forward, whether you prefer slapshots over wrist shots, whether you like to stick handle rather than poke check, you will have your own individual priorities when it comes to your hockey stick.
And that’s how it should be.
Ice hockey may be a team sport, but your team comprises individual players, each with their own personality, style of play, and, well, opinions. Don’t listen to what others say. Choosing the best hockey stick is an individual, personal decision that’s up to you alone (and our Guide is here to help inform that choice).
Yes, there is no such thing as the best hockey stick to rule them all.
But there is the best hockey stick out there for you.
Whatever hockey stick you choose today, it will have the same basic shape as sticks made when the NHL was born a 100 years ago. The differences are in various stick specifications and, in many cases, incremental and slight.
Every little bit counts, however. Here at Hockey Sticks HQ, we believe that you, as a hockey player, should have all the necessary information about your hockey equipment—the stick, in this case—so that you can have a deeper understanding of your tools-of-trade and pick the hockey stick that works the best for you. The more you know, the better your stick and the better you play within your limits. Our “Ultimate Guide to the Best Hockey Sticks” springs from that simple, yet powerful belief.
We realize that what follows is a lot of information. Don’t get overwhelmed. Complicated as it may seem, it is not. Just go feature by feature, making your selection step by step (or, should we say, shot by shot), until you arrive at your decision. We have also provided a neat comparison chart of the most popular and versatile sticks for you as well.
What's in "The Ultimate Buying Guide to the Best Hockey Sticks: The Ice Hockey Edition"
- 1. Initial Considerations for Choosing Your Best Hockey Stick
- 1.1. Questions to Ask About the Best Hockey Sticks
- 1.2. Preference vs. Objective Factors
- 1.3. Shopping for Hockey Sticks Online
- 1.4. Choosing a Hockey Stick for Types of Shots
- 2. Hockey Stick Prices: What’s Your Budget?
- 3. Left vs. Right Handed Sticks
- 4. One vs. Two-Piece Hockey Sticks
- 5. Hockey Stick Material
- 6. Hockey Stick Length
- 7. Hockey Stick Weight
- 8. Hockey Stick Lie
- 9. Hockey Stick Flex
- 10. Hockey Stick Kick Point
- 11. Hockey Stick Blade Pattern
- 12. Hockey Stick Finish
- 13. Comparing the Best Hockey Sticks
- 14. The X Factor: Cool Hockey Sticks
- 15. Hockey Stick Accessories
1. Initial Considerations for Choosing Your Best Hockey Stick
As you see from the sheer bulk of this Guide, a good deal of decision-making goes into choosing your hockey stick. But before you start selecting your own personal best hockey stick, you should consider a few factors.
1.1. Questions to Ask About the Best Hockey Sticks
First, ask yourself these questions. Your responses will help you with your selection every step of the way.
- How new are you to the game of ice hockey? Would you call yourself a beginner? Will this be your first time playing hockey? Are you coming back from a long break? Are you choosing your first hockey stick?
- How experienced of a player are you? Have you been playing for a few years? On what level? Are you choosing your next-level hockey stick? Or are you looking to get a better one?
- Are you looking for your primary stick? Or are you looking for a backup stick (spare)?
- How serious are you about playing ice hockey? How often do you want to play? Do you want to only play pickup games/shinny? Or are you looking to join a rec league? (We’ll assume you are not a pro or gunning to be one.)
- What position do you (want to) play? Are you a passer or a shooter? What kind of shot do you like best?
1.2. Preference vs. Objective Factors
Whatever your answers to these initial questions, some factors coming into play as you decide what stick to buy are objective, others are subjective, specific to you.
Objective factors of choosing your best hockey stick include:
- your being left or right-handed
- your height
Subjective factors include:
- your budget
- your playing position
- your shot preference
Being a guide not a rule book, this “Ultimate Guide to the Best Hockey Sticks” offers information about various stick specifications and guidelines about how to choose what’s best for you. Beyond that, the decision is up to you.
As you play, your playing style will evolve and with it should your stick. Your first stick will be markedly different from the stick you play with years later. While we can get you started or help you adjust, you will find your best hockey stick through trial and error (and hopefully a lot of fun on the ice).
1.3. Shopping for Hockey Sticks Online
Shopping for your best hockey stick online has both its advantages and disadvantages.
Pros of online shopping for hockey sticks
- Price competition
- Return policies
Cons of online shopping for hockey sticks
- No try before buy
- More research required (this buying guide should help!)
Some hockey players will inquire about and try sticks in their local pro shop, conveniently located at their hockey rink in most instances, and buy their chosen best hockey stick online for a lower price. Here at Hockey Sticks HQ advise against this sneaky practice. Please support your local hockey experts who work hard every day for your and your hockey community’s benefit.
But if you want to buy your stick online, we’re here to help with our “Ultimate Buying Guide to the Best Hockey Sticks.”
1.4. Choosing a Hockey Stick for Types of Shots
1.4.1. Best Hockey Sticks for Slapshots
A study of which hockey stick is the best for slap shots has found that technique matters more than the stick. However, “key to enhancing slap shot velocity is maximizing strain energy stored in and released from the hockey stick.” In other words, if you are a slap shot shooter, stick bend is a key property to evaluate when choosing your best stick; stick material is much less important.
What to look for when buying a stick for slap shots:
- High lie
- Medium (to high) flex
- Low (to mid) kick point
- Slight curve
- Heel curve
- Closed blade angle
Slapshot sticks are also great for backhand shots.
1.4.2. Best Hockey Sticks for Snap and Wrist Shots
The wrist and snap shots differ from the slap shot by the position of your hands on the stick at the time of release, with the bottom hand higher up the stick. The wrist shot stick has to be more flexible and bend higher than a slap shot one. And, because you want to elevate the puck and direct it to a specific spot, your blade has to be more curved and open.
If you are a snap or wrist shot shooter, look for these specs in your stick:
- Low lie
- Low flex
- Mid kick point
- Medium curve
- Toe curve
- Open blade angle
Wrist shot sticks are ideal for forehand shots.
1.4.3. Best Ice Hockey Sticks for All Situations
The most versatile stick, ideal for novice or not-so-frequent players will have
- Mid lie
- Medium flex
- Dual kick point
- Medium mid curve
- Slightly open blade angle
2. Hockey Stick Prices: What’s Your Budget?
Though as you’ll see there are many factors that go into buying your best ice hockey stick, you’re likely approaching the process with a budget in mind.
Hockey sticks come at a wide range of prices, from $20 for the cheapest wooden stick to $600 for a top-of-the line composite, depending on factors like
- model year
Manufacturers compete on the price of their product just as much as manufacturers in other industries. Many sellers offer discount or clearance items, particularly for previous year’s models.
If you are a beginner hockey player, you may not want to buy the most expensive stick. And the most expensive twig isn’t necessarily going to be the best hockey stick for you.
Your primary stick is likely going to cost you more, as this is the one you’ll be playing with most often. Your backup, spare stick, while it may meet your primary stick’s specs on most counts, will likely come at a lower price tag, if only because you’ll be playing with it less. Because who wants to spend hundreds of dollars on a piece of equipment they don’t use?
The first and easiest decision to make when choosing your best hockey stick is whether you’re a left or a right-handed shot.
- If you hold the butt end of the stick with your right (dominant) hand and the bottom with your left, you’re a “lefty” and need a left-handed stick. Left-handed sticks are most common (about 2 in 3 NHL players are lefties).
- If you hold the butt end of the stick with your left (dominant) hand and the bottom with your right, you’re a “righty” and need a right-handed stick. Hockey is an area where left-handedness confers an advantage. Being less common, right-handed shots are valued more highly, particularly among defensemen (about 1 in 3 NHL players are righties).
4. One vs. Two-Piece Hockey Sticks
One-Piece Hockey Sticks
As the name indicates, one-piece hockey sticks are made from a single piece of material, with both the stick shaft and blade fused together into a beautiful design (some sticks, like the Sher-Wood Rekker EK15, are true one-piece sticks). One-piece construction is the most common for hockey sticks. Requiring no assembly, it is ready to go from the minute you hold it.
Pros of one-piece hockey sticks
- Ready to go
- Wide selection
Cons of one-piece hockey sticks
- No customization
Two-Piece Hockey Sticks
With the proliferation of stick variations, you can find a one-piece hockey stick that fits you with ease. But if you don’t want to rely on manufacturer’s specs and perhaps want to spend a little more quality time with your stick, you’ll want a two-piece stick.
Two-piece sticks allow for mixing and matching of blades and shafts to create an individualized piece of equipment.Two-piece hockey sticks are much less common these days. In two-piece sticks, the blade and the shaft are separate units, glued together. What’s more, if one or the other breaks, you can replace it and reuse the rest. Two-piece sticks today are mostly built with composite shafts and wood blades.
Pros of two-piece hockey sticks
- Mixing and matching for greater customization
- Mid-price range
Cons of two-piece hockey sticks
- More shopping and decision-making
- Parts loosen over time
5. Hockey Stick Material
In hockey’s early days, players used carved pieces of wood as sticks (early pucks were made of fabric sewn into balls). Early hockey sticks, too, were made of wood, most typically rock elm.
Wooden sticks were predominant around hockey rinks and arenas until fairly recently when technological advances made synthetic-material sticks possible. Composite and graphite ice hockey sticks have gradually replaced wooden sticks.
5.1. Wooden Hockey Sticks
Wooden ice hockey sticks were once ubiquitous (so much so that to this day, slang words for hockey stick include “twig” and “lumber”). When composite sticks overtook the market, pushing good old wood into the annals of hockey history, wooden sticks became an object of nostalgia. Less than 5 percent of NHL players use wood sticks nowadays.
But it’s not just age catching up with us. Wooden sticks, as rare as they are becoming, come with some advantages.
Because wood as a material is relatively dense, a typical wood stick is heavier and feels bulkier than a composite. Greater weight will help improve your strength. And, because wooden hockey sticks are relatively stiff and solid, you can use them to lean on during the game.
Counter-intuitive as it may seem, wood sticks also carry vibration well, which helps you get a good feel for the puck. This will help you better understand the game on the visceral level. And though their blades tend to chip in the heat of the game, wooden sticks are much cheaper than composite, so the damage hurts much less.
For these reasons, wooden sticks are a good choice for beginner ice hockey players. Once you chip your first wood, you can move onto composite.
Wooden sticks are also stiffer, which is ideal for heavier players and those who like to shoot slapshots, e.g. defensemen. You can get a lot of good wood on a wooden stick.
Wood sticks are also ideal for street hockey and for casual, pickup game-only ice hockey players. And they make for a great secondary stick you can bring to the game in case your primary one breaks during the game.
Wooden sticks these days tend to be reinforced with synthetic materials, such as fiberglass (see below)
5.1.1. Pros and Cons of Wood Hockey Sticks
Pros of wooden hockey sticks
- Greater feel for the game
- Cheaper ($20–$50)
- Suitable for street and roller hockey
- X Factor: Old-school cool
Cons of wooden hockey sticks
- Splinter or chip easily
- Warp or bend with use
- Limited selection
5.2. Composite Hockey Sticks
Compared to wooden ice hockey sticks, composite sticks are lighter, which makes for quicker shot release and greater shot velocity. Composite sticks are also more flexible, bending more than wooden sticks for quicker, more accurate shots (see Hockey Stick Flex below).
Composite hockey sticks can be made of a wide variety of materials. The higher-end the material, the lighter and the more expensive the stick.
- Fiberglass. Not entirely composite, these are basically wood sticks reinforced (laminated or coated) with fiberglass for greater strength and durability. Some graphite sticks use limited amounts of fiberglass for reinforcement as well.
- Aluminum. Aluminum sticks were the first entirely non-wood sticks to appear, beginning in the late the 1980s. They were typically two-piece, with an aluminum (alloy) shaft combined with replaceable wood blades. Less expensive and lighter than wood but not fully composite sticks, aluminum sticks are hard to find nowadays. Though very durable, aluminum sticks are heavier than graphite and suffer from inferior ‘feel’.
- Graphite. Carbon-fiber sticks have been around since the 1990s. Most composite sticks today are made of graphite (or a blend of graphite with other synthetic materials such as Kevlar or silicone). Graphite sticks are lighter but more expensive than wood, fiberglass, and aluminum; conversely, they are heavier and less expensive than Kevlar and titanium. Particulary at higher levels of play, where shots are harder and faster, graphite sticks can break often (though they are still more durable than wood). Graphite has become by far the most common material for sticks used in hockey rinks around North America and elsewhere. Carbon-fiber sticks are the best middle-of-the-road sticks for hockey players at all levels.
- Kevlar. Kevlar was first used to reinforce blades of two-piece aluminum sticks. Today it is used to reinforce and shatter-proof wooden and graphite sticks while adding flexibility to them. Some of the lightest and strongest sticks are made with composite materials including Kevlar. Sticks using Kevlar are more expensive than most sticks.
- Titanium. Titanium sticks are the most recent of composites, and are mostly used in stick shafts either completely or in combination with graphite or Kevlar. Titanium sticks are lighter, stronger, more flexible, and more expensive than average composite sticks.
Pros of composite hockey sticks
- Broad selection and availability
- Longer life
Cons of composite hockey sticks
- More expensive ($30–$600)
- Lower puck-handling sensitivity (feel)
6. Hockey Stick Length
The length of your hockey stick is measured from the blade heel to the butt end of the shaft.
Sticks come in various lengths to match the height and playing style of every player.
Sticks come in three size categories:
- Junior (squirt)
- Intermediate (peeweee)
- Senior (bantam and higher)
Generally speaking, the taller you are, the longer your hockey stick.
In addition, shorter players, forwards, and players who skate low, closer to the ice, tend to use shorter sticks; taller players, defensemen, and more upright skaters prefer longer hockey sticks. However, the ultimate decision depends on your personal preference.
How to size a hockey stick?
To determine the ideal length of your best hockey stick, follow these steps:
- Stand upright on your skates.
- Place the toe of your stick on the ice and the shaft vertically along the front of your body.
- See where the butt end of your stick reaches
In reality, as you develop your preference, the butt end of your hockey stick will end up being somewhere between your chin and your nose.
Standing on the ground in your street shoes, the butt end of the stick should be between your nose and your eyes.
The exact stick length is a matter of personal preference and playing style.
You can adjust the length of your stick by either cutting off an appropriate length of its butt end to shorten it or by adding an end plug to lengthen it.
7. Hockey Stick Weight
The material and length of your stick will determine its weight.
Wooden sticks weigh anywhere between 610 and 675 grams.
Composite sticks typically weigh between 385 and 585 grams.
While there is a marked difference in weight between wooden and composite sticks, the most common sticks within those material categories vary little.
If you are only starting out or play recreationally, there is a tiny difference between a 450 and 500-gram stick when you’re on the ice, but those 50 grams can come at tangibly different prices.
8. Hockey Stick Lie
Hockey stick lie is the angle at which the stick blade meets the stick shaft.
Lies range from 4 to 8, with values measured in half-point increments. Each half-point lie value corresponds to a decreasing one-degree difference. Lie 4 corresponds to 137 degrees; Lie 5, one of the most common stick lies, to 135 degrees; Lie 6 to 133 and so on.
Perhaps a more intuitive way to think about it is that lie represents the angle between the ice and the shaft of your ice hockey stick: the higher the lie, the bigger the ice-shaft angle.
Lie helps determine how the stick blade sits on the ice surface. Ideally, your hockey stick blade will rest flat on the ice, with the greatest length of the middle portion of your blade bottom touching the surface. This helps prevent pucks slipping under the heel or toe of your stick blade.
Your height, stance, and even the playing position determine the lie of your stick:
- If you are tall you’ll naturally keep the puck a little further from your body than if you are of shorter stature; the same goes for playing defense. Taller players and defensemen tend to use sticks with a lower lie. Low-lie sticks are ideal for slap shots.
- By contrast, if you are shorter or play forward, you’re likely to keep the puck closer to you and hence want a stick with a higher lie. High lie sticks are ideal for quick shots like wrist shots
However, players of the same height and playing position may use sticks with a different lie depending on how close to the ice they skate and shoot. If you skate closer to the ice, with your legs bent more, you will need a stick with a lower lie; conversely, if you skate more upright, you’ll want a stick with a higher lie.
How to decide on your ideal hockey stick lie?
To determine the best lie for your hockey stick, follow these steps:
- Stand up straight on your skates with your arms down by your side.
- Hold the butt end of your hockey stick in your hand with the blade on the ice.
- Assess how the blade touches the ice.
- most of the blade sits flat on the surface, you have a stick with the best lie.
- the heel of your blade rests on the ice and the toe hangs above ice level, your stick has too much heel. You may need a more upright stick with a lower lie.
- the toe of your blade pokes the ice and the heel is above ice level, your stick has too much toe. Choose a stick with a higher lie.
Another way to determine the best lie for your stick is to look at the tape on the bottom of the blade. Wear and tear should be the greatest at the middle part of the blade. If the wear is mostly at the heel, you need a lower lie to lower the toe; if wear occurs mostly at the toe, you need a higher lie to lower the heel.
9. Hockey Stick Flex
Flex connotes the stiffness of a hockey stick.
Hockey stick flex is measured by how much pressure is needed to apply to the middle portion of the stick shaft between two support points, placed 48 inches apart, to bend it by one inch. For example, a Flex 100 stick requires 100 pounds of pressure to be applied to the shaft’s center point to bend it by one inch.
The flex rating of your stick changes as you cut it or lengthen it with an extender. Cutting a stick down by an inch increases its subjective flex by approximately 5; extending your stick by an inch lowers subjective flex by about 5.
We say “subjective” because, technically speaking, the flex itself does not change with length as the material properties of the stick remain the same. A shorter stick will simply feel stiffer (and a longer one softer) because your hands will be positioned at a different place of the shaft. With a shorter stick, your hands are closer together so you have to exert more force to bend it by an inch, and vice versa with an extended stick.
The flex of your hockey stick allows you to change the direction of the puck as the stick bends upon puck impact. By contrast, shots released with less flexible wooden sticks tend to go in the same direction.
Flex is usually associated with composite sticks, as wooden sticks tend to be uniformly stiffer.
How to choose your hockey stick flex?
Flex ratings range from about 30 to 115. Youth sticks are the most flexible, and flex ratings increase with stick size.
Following the body weight rule should make for a good stick. However, you may adjust the desired flex based on your strength and preferred shot style.
If you are strong and shoot hard, e.g. slap shots, add 5 to your stick flex. If you are not as strong and shoot more softly, lower your stick flex by 5.
Forwards tend to use lower-flex sticks, which allow for quicker shots intended to change direction, like snap shots or wrist shots. If you prefer this type of shot, lower your calculated flex by 5.
Defensive forwards may prefer a slightly stiffer flex to allow for grinding plays along the boards or in the corners as well as for net presence.
Defensemen tend to use even stiffer sticks, with higher flex ratings, to allow for harder shots like slapshots. Taller and heavier players, too, choose higher-flex sticks to match their bulk and strength.
The flex you choose depends on your personal preference. As you play, you will develop your playing style and shot preference, so you will adjust your stick’s preferred flex over time.
10. Hockey Stick Kick Point
Kick point is the part of the stick shaft designed to bend the most.
In other words, different parts of your stick have different flex ratings, and the kick point is the point with the lowest flex.
When you take a shot with your (composite) hockey stick, the shaft bends, or flexes (see Hockey Stick Flex above), in the kick point. Energy is transferred from the kick point to the blade, providing an extra push, or kick, to the puck for a faster shot.
- Low-kick sticks flex at the bottom of the shaft, closer to the blade. Sticks with a low kick point are best for hard shots like slap shots as energy is released closer to the puck.
- Mid-kick sticks bend in the middle of the shaft. Sticks with a mid-kick point are the best all-around sticks.
- High-kick sticks flex at the top of the shaft, allowing for the release of energy from the top hand, ideal for quick-release shots from the wrist.
- Dual-kick hockey sticks flex in two points. When the bottom hand is lower on the shaft, the stick will kick higher; when the bottom hand is higher on the shaft, the stick flexes lower for a quicker, more accurate shot release.
If you have a hard time deciding on the kick point that’s best for you or if you want a versatile stick, rest easy. Hockey stick makers have been introducing sticks that change the kick point depending on where you hold the shaft.
11. Hockey Stick Blade Pattern
Every hockey stick blade has a different curve type, depth, loft, and shape, jointly combining into the umbrella property “pattern.”
One-piece hockey sticks come with a blade determined by the manufacturer for the specific model. With two-piece sticks, you can experiment with different blade patterns more readily.
Like many other factors of choosing your stick, the patterns of your hockey blade is a matter of your personal preference.
Each hockey stick pattern is designed to optimize a different aspect of hockey play. While different manufacturers name their stick blade patterns differently (and sometimes confusingly), there are only so many possible combinations of patterns out there so you can compare between manufacturers. For example, Bauer’s Kane curve of their Vapor line corresponds to CCM’s Hossa, Easton’s Iginla, and so on.
11.1. Hockey Stick Blade Curve Type
The blade can curve at the toe, middle (mid), or heel of the blade.
- A heel curve makes for a relatively flat blade, ideal for slap, one-time, and backhand shots.
- A toe curve enables you to life the puck and shoot faster.
- A mid curve is the most versatile.
11.2. Hockey Stick Blade Curve Depth
The depth of your hockey stick’s curve is the maximum distance between a flat surface, e.g. the ice, and the most distant point of the blade. A flat blade will have a 0 in depth. Most common blade curve depths fall between 3/8 in and 1/2 in.
Curve depth can be slight, moderate, or deep.
- A slight curve is best for slap and backhand shots. It makes it harder to stick-handle and elevate the puck. Defensemen tend to choose blades with a slight curve.
- A moderate curve is the most popular and versatile, offering the best (and worst) of both slight and deep curves.
- A deep curve is ideal for wrist and forehand shots, allowing you to elevate the puck most easily. It is also good for puck handling. Forwards tend to choose blades with a deeper curve.
11.3. Hockey Stick Loft
Whereas curve is the horizontal, toe to heel angle of the blade, loft is the vertical, top-to-bottom angle. It is the degree to which the face (front) of the blade faces (tilts) up or down.
Open blades allow you to see more of the ice and puck, while closed-face blades covers the greatest area of the ice and puck.
Blade loft can be open, slightly open, or closed.
- Open-face blades help elevate the puck and are, therefore, ideal for snap and wrist shots.
- Slightly-open blades are the most used and versatile.
- Closed-face blades are superior for stick handling, as they allow for the best control of the puck. They are also good for slap and backhand shots.
11.4. Hockey Stick Blade Toe Shape
Toe shape comes last in the order of blade pattern priorities.
- Round-top blades are the most common. They allow for good puck control and creative shots.
- Square-toe blades have a bigger surface area and are, therefore, better suited for passing and one-time shots.
11.5. Taping Your Hockey Stick Blade
Whatever blade pattern you choose, you will tape it with hockey tape. There is no one, right way to tape a hockey blade. Every player tapes their stick in a certain way and you will be no different.
12. Hockey Stick Finish
The finish of the stick shaft surface affects how it feels in your hands.
Non-texture, non-grip shaft finish has no coating affecting the feel of the stick. Non-grip finishes allow for easier movement of your hand on the shaft and hence for greater freedom of stick movement. A clear or glossy finish is the smoothest. A matte finish is slightly less smooth (think of the difference between glossy and matte photographs).
Players who prefer non-grip sticks like to slide the bottom hand up and down the stick shaft depending on the play or shot they are taking. However, the lack of grip may become an issue if your hands get wet with sweat or water so that the stick slides out of your hands.
Grip shafts feature a coating that provides sticky texture to the surface of the stick shaft. Grip allows for a more secure holding of the stick and hence for greater control as it helps to keep your hands from sliding along the shaft.
There are now hockey sticks with dual grip: the bottom of the shaft has a clear finish to allow your bottom hand to move up and down the shaft easily so you can vary your shot; and the top of the shaft features a grip finish to ensure greater stability of the stick in your dominant hand.
Regardless of the shaft finish, most players tape the butt end of their stick with hockey tape to increase grip and prevent the stick from falling out of their hand.
13. Comparing the Best Hockey Sticks
You are now ready to pick your personal best hockey stick. With hundreds of models on the market at any given time, we can’t review all available hockey sticks. We made our selection of sticks to provide a good representation of brands, models, and stick specifications.
Sher-Wood PMP 5030
Sher-Wood PMP 5030 is the bestselling wooden stick, and one of hockey stick bestsellers overall. The shaft of this classic stick is made from aspen with birch lamination, the blade is white-ash reinforced with fiberglass. The iconic 5030 comes in three standard sizes, suitable for all age groups, three blade patterns, including the popular PP77 Coffey, and a flex rating of 85. One of the lighter wood sticks, at 630 grams, the 5030 provides a superior feel for the puck without feeling too heavy. This old-school twig is ideal for novice players, as a backup stick, and for use on multiple surfaces.
- Great value
- Light (for wooden sticks anyway)
- Classic old-school image
- Lower quality for 2010–2014 models
Our verdict: An iconic wooden stick, the Sher-Wood PMP 5030 continues to be a solid value buy for novice players and a throwback go-to for those who appreciate wood.
CCM Ultra Tacks
CCM Ultra Tacks is a one-piece stick with a reinforced shaft and blade, offering greater durability, quicker and more accurate shot release, and value over previous Tacks models. Available in a wide selection of flexes, lies, and blade patterns, it will satisfy players in all positions and shot preferences (goal scorers who require wrist and snap shots, will appreciate the Ultra Tacks’ mid-kick point). The CCM Ultra Tacks stick is one of the more durable composite sticks on the market, in CCM’s lineup anyway. As well, the strength of the stick’s shaft and blade combined with lower flexes make it a versatile piece of hockey equipment.
Our verdict: Lighter, stronger, and more durable than its antecedents (as well as most composite sticks), CCM Ultra Tacks will impress all goal scorers with a few extra dollars to invest.
Bauer Vapor 1X
A top-of-the-Vapor-line model, the Vapor 1X a true one-piece featuring chock full of the manufacturer’s proprietary technologies, making it the lightest, strongest, and fastest on the shot release than its predecessor, the APX2, and the rest of the Vapor product line. This low-kick stick with a softer flex in the kick point is best-suited for goal-scoring forwards who like their snap and wrist shots, but if you prefer stiffer sticks the 1X line includes a couple of high-flex versions. Yet as strong as the new materials make it, the weight savings come at the expense of durability.
- Quick shot release
- Look (in regular models)
Our verdict: A vast improvement on its predecessors and peers, the Bauer Vapor 1X will impress goal-scoring forwards with an extra budget.
Sher-Wood Rekker EK15
Sher-Wood EK15 is the lightest stick on the market, weighing only 385 grams. Hand-made, the EK15 is a true one-piece spear-shaft construction composite stick. It features Sher-Wood’s stiffest and most responsive blade to date, which helps with puck feel in passing and shot accuracy. The lightness and low kick point help the EK15 to let it rip in quick-release wrist and snapshots. On the flipside, the stick is so light as to feel a little hollow, lacking the more direct puck feel that heftier sticks provide, particularly on slap shots. The EK15 is most suitable for goal-scoring forwards. The EK15 has been discontinued, but you can get this lightest hockey stick on clearance.
- Wrist and snap shots
- Flex and curve options
- Strong blade
- Good value on clearance
- Puck feel
- Slap shots
Our verdict: The lightest stick on the market, the Sher-Wood Rekker EK15 guarantees a sure shot to goal scorers from the clearance rack.