Photo by chrissthegirl
For the past year or so I have heard a huge rage about one piece composite sticks. Many of the guys I play with swear by them and say they’ll never go back to a one-piece woody or a two-piece shaft-blade combo. I’m still trying to understand the big deal about using a one piece composite over my two-piece or even a woody, so I decided to do a little research.
From what it sounds like just about every player in the NHL uses a one-piece composite stick. Easton was the first to create such a product and others soon followed. There ARE some great advantages to using a one piece composite stick. The first advantage is that the stick typically weighs anywhere from 45 – 300+ grams lighter. This has it’s advantages in many different ways, not only is it less weight to carry, but it is also a lot less weight to swing when taking a shot.
Another advantage is that the kick-point (the place at which the shaft joins the blade) is a lot lower. This allows for better “launch” of the puck. If the kick point is low the puck will go higher, if the kick point is higher, the puck will go lower. Before one piece composites were made, you’d see this represented in tapered two piece sticks.
Something else you might want to consider is the flex point and curve of the shaft. One piece composite shafts typically have a custom flex point and curve to each stick produced. The curve is something that is a personal preference and there are many different factors that will help a player decide on the best curve for them. Blade patterns vary in lie, curve type, curve depth, round/square toe, etc.
One piece wooden shafts have been around for decades and unfortunately are losing their popularity. There are very few players left in the NHL that continue using a woody (Paul Stastny, for example) even if all their teammates choose to use composite sticks. Wood sticks are usually made from mulberry, white ash, birch, or aspen, with mulberry and ash being the most common used. There is a draw back to using wood sticks. This would be the fact that the wood its-self is not consistent. Pretty much no two trees are going to grow alike, produce the same grain in the wood, or have the same durability. Don’t get me wrong, the sticks produced are VERY similar in flex and over all feel, but there is a SLIGHT difference in each woody you’ll use. However, the flex and kick point are generally located at the same place along the shaft (for each company’s make and model) and continue to be consistent throughout production. Also, most of the flex points in wooden shafts are located in similar areas as their (cheap) counterpart composite sticks. There are two major differences; durability and price.
- Composite sticks are lighter, more durable, more consistent regarding flex, and overall perform better.
- Wooden Sticks are A TON cheaper, only slightly less durable, and fairly consistent in flex.
- Composite sticks are FAR more expensive, last about 4-5 weeks, and vary a lot in curve an flex (which could be good or bad)
- Wooden Sticks are less consistent in flex, less durable, heavier, and have a higher kick point.
I personally prefer using a two piece combo (graphite/composite shaft and composite blade). This way if I want to switch blades I can in about 15 minutes and I usually only have to pay about $10.00 or $15.00 to do so. One other thing I’ve always loved is the two piece aluminum shafts. I’ve used these since I was seven or so and they’ve lasted throughout the years. Sure, they may be a decent amount heavier, but I kind of like the security of having my gloves wrapped around a tank-of-a-stick. Aluminum shafts are probably the best for street hockey because the blades can be easily replaced as they wear. Take the time to find out what’s best for you whether it be a one piece composite, woody, two piece (aluminum, kevlar, graphite, carbon fiber, etc.) it’s worth investing a little time.