This column was published in the Fall 2022 edition of Total Sports Quinte magazine
By Joey Walsh/HockeyStickMan.ca
Does hockey stick length affect performance?
Stick length can have a major impact on a player’s game. A stick that is not the correct length affects both the hockey stick, and player’s performance.
What part of you’re game does stick length affect?
Stickhandling – the overall ability to control the puck Your shot – Stick Flex (stiffness) is affected by stick length Receiving passes – sitting flat on the ice (see Crosby) Your reach – some players need all the reach we can get! How does it affect my stick?
If its too tall you may find that your smashing and wearing the heel out of your stick. TIP – If you play ball hockey you will be able to tell wear pattern pretty easily, if one part of the stick is wearing much quicker than the other, you need to adjust your stick height and lie.
What are the General Guidelines?
Jeremy Rupke of How to Hockey explains the guidelines. Standing straight up looking forward with the stick in front of the body (tip of the stick’s toe on the ground) the stick should be between your chin and your nose. When on skates it should be up to around your chin.
What type of player would want to use a shorter/longer stick? Short Hockey Stick
“The Dangler” – Hockey players who are good at stick handling tend to prefer shorter sticks. Using a short stick makes it a bit easier to move the puck around because the stick will be lighter (less material) and a shorter stick is easier to move around the body. Many players who are good at stick handling tend to bring the puck in close to their body in order to protect the puck while pulling a deke. A short stick makes it easier to perform these moves.
Average Hockey Stick
“The Grinder” – Grinders like to get in the corners, dig for pucks, and cause trouble in front of the net. With an average length stick you can still easily handle the puck, and also make poke checks, intercept passes, and hammer off a slapshot.
Long Hockey Stick
“The Defensemen” – It is common for defensemen to have the longest sticks on the team. A long hockey stick gives you a longer reach, which makes it easier for you to poke the puck away from attackers, intercept passes, and stop a puck before it leaves the offensive zone. Defensemen are also known to have hard slapshots, and a longer stick (with the right technique) will provide more power on the slapshots. Disclaimer… while the above points are common in hockey, that does not mean they are absolute truths. Some defensemen use short sticks, while some hockey players who are great with the puck use a longer stick (Marty St. Louis). These tips should help beginner players find a length to start at, but don’t be afraid to try something new!
Where does personal preference come into play?
Personal preference is super important! Make sure to ask the question “Does it feel good in my hands?” That being said the typical guidelines are there for a reason, and unless you’re playing at an elite level it’s unlikely that you’re helping your game much by using an unusually short or long stick. Experienced players know the exact length they like and are thrown off by change …. Gretzky used a short stick …
Mark Stone of the Vegas Golden Knights uses a
longer stick (65” shaft) and consistently ranks Top 10 in the league in takeaways as a result. He also uses a crazy big knob on his stick, but that is another story in itself.
What are common mistakes that people make with the length of their stick?
When buying an expensive stick players and parents are often nervous about the player outgrowing the stick and therefore sometimes tend to leave it too long
Solution – cut it to the correct length and use a plug/extension when or if the player sprouts up. And unfortunately just because the stick cost $300 bucks doesn’t mean it’s going to last. In fact, the new sticks seem to break even easier than in the past. Fortunately, we offer sticks at low prices to help alleviate the pain a little bit when a stick breaks or is outgrown.
A young kid gets a stick that was broken up high from a Pro/Junior/etc. and he/she cant flex the thing.
Solution – Either hang it up in the Den or use if for ball hockey and go buy one that is the right size! The player gets a little more zip on his slapshot in practice and is now using the stick in games Solution – Fair enough, but the slapshot is most effective when you can get it off quickly and hit the net/get it through traffic. Therefore, there is a good chance you are sacrificing a big part of your game (puck control) for what is likely a small benefit.
Looking for a longer hockey stick? Because we source all of our hockey sticks direct from pro, college and junior teams, a lot of our sticks are extended height. You can find some of our extended height (63” and above) on our website.
We measure all of our sticks standing flat against the ground.