One Piece Hockey Sticks: Wood vs. Composite


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.

Composite

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. The flex point is also a big deal for some players. Different flex points allow for better performance of different shots. Most (cheaper) on piece composites have a flex point pretty much in the middle of the stick. More expensive composite sticks typically offer different locations (higher or lower) of flex point. This is where you start spending money.If you want to get a cheaper one piece composite stick you’re looking at an absolute minimum of $45.00. This would only be the case if you were to find a screamin’ deal. In this case the flex point will most likely be in the middle and you’ll have to deal with whatever curve the blade has. If you are looking for a basic one piece composite stick expect to spend somewhere from $75.00 to $125.00 or so. If you’re looking into getting a one piece that is custom to your preference (flex point, curve, etc.) you’re looking at spending anywhere from $125.00 to $250.00 +. If you play for the NHL, are sponsored, or your parents are willing to fork out that much dough go for it but, there’s a cheaper alternative.

Wood

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.Durability and longevity of each shaft may not be so important to NHL players, but for guys like you and me this matters a ton. I don’t want to be spending $100.00 for my stick to just break in 3 or 4 weeks. From what is sounds like, the average life expectancy of a one piece composite is anywhere from 4-5 weeks (when used on a regular basis). Most companies only offer a 30 day warranty for their one piece composites, so your out of luck once those 30 days pass. Wood shafts may weaken over time and may break or need to be replaced, but you’re only looking at spending $15.00 to $50.00 to do so.

Summary

  • 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.

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24 Comments

  1. Anonymous said on October 4, 2010

    Last time I tried to buy a composite blade I could not find anything below $50.

    • john albert said on March 9, 2012

      why are you so cheap

  2. Carl Morgan.....Rochester John Marshall said on December 8, 2010

    i think that composite sticks are way better and that people who use wood SUCK!!!

    • bobby joe said on March 9, 2012

      NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  3. Mini-Me said on December 9, 2010

    I think that its personal preference, but should also be based on how much control you have and how much power is behind your shot. Girls should start out using wood sticks simply because I don't feel they have to power to get the proper results from a one piece stick, nor will they unless they are taught about the sticks. I played women's hockey and when one piece sticks were first becoming popular shooting camps were held. We were allowed to demo different brands of sticks and there were experts there that recommended as stick for us based on position, strength and different abilities.

  4. Anonymous said on December 28, 2010

    I find it funny that you are suppost to be able to shoot faster with the new comp sticks but that fast speed was recorded with a wood stick.

    4. Can you shoot harder with a composite stick?
    A – Many players believe they can shoot the hockey puck at least 10 mph faster with a composite stick. However, art a recent NHL All Star skills competition Al MacInnis won the hardest-shot event for the seventh time with a 98.9-m.p.h. shot using a wood stick. The other seven competitors used graphite composite sticks.

    http://www.prohockeystuff.com/hockey-sticks/faq.aspx

  5. Anonymous said on January 11, 2011

    you must have gotten some reeeeaallly old info . . .

    All McInnins retired in 2003.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_McInnis

    Zdeno Chara earned the record for fastest slapshot during the 2009 NHL All-Star Skills Competition with a 105.4 mph shot using a carbon fiber stick (newer carbon sticks are lighter, allowing for faster movement and thus produce faster shots).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slapshot

    do your research thoroughly and get your facts straight, champ.

  6. Name said on November 16, 2011

    Actually, i broke a lot of wood sticks in about a week, but with a composite stick, it lasted me 5 months

  7. Amy said on November 22, 2011

    how do you do this stuff i don’t get it

  8. will said on January 31, 2012

    Actually, this article has a few things wrong in the information. Wooden sticks have hints to when they will break, such as splintering and cracks. With composites you have no idea when they will break, and they usually break soon after cosmetic damage has been applied. Also, wooden stick are heavier, and their for have more workload and are more durable. Wooden sticks, if used properly will outlast composite sticks.

  9. yep said on January 31, 2013

    i used composite sticks until college and my coach told me to try a woody. the weight was the only difference i really noticed and that didnt last long. Two things i liked about wood, were it is way easier to receive a pass with wood. wood naturally dampens the momentum of the puck when it hits your stick and if you have stone hands like me it makes a huge difference. Fast wristers and snap shots are easier with composite but i think because wood is heavier my slapshot speed increased a lot. I also think when going into the corner for a puck with a woody it is easier to lift a stick and knock anothers stick out of the way. I am the only person under 30 i know that likes wood sticks.

    • not the only one said on February 12, 2013

      I’m 30 this year and I love the weight and feel of wood. Composites seem too light to me. Wood may break easier if you don’t know how to use it properly but I still can’t justify spending $150 or more on something that will still break. If there was an indestructable stick for $150 or even $200 then I’m all over it but if it’s going to break anyway then I’ll take my $30 wood stick.

  10. Drew said on July 28, 2013

    Composites last longer then 4-5 weeks.

  11. mike said on November 19, 2013

    I’m 32, grew up in Ontario and have played hockey all my life.
    I used a wood stick up until last year and will never go back.
    I like the weight and i like how I can feel the puck more on my stick while puck handling

  12. El Chappo said on February 2, 2016

    u suck maaaaaan

    • Uuuuu said on February 24, 2016

      U too

    • rich kid robinson said on February 24, 2016

      eyyyy man

  13. dale foote said on February 19, 2016

    i am a legend

    • julia foote said on February 19, 2016

      dad your not cool

    • dale foote said on February 19, 2016

      your just embarresed

    • julia foote said on February 19, 2016

      im weird and i go to the gym and do squats everyday and i thinks im cool because i drink

  14. Bob Robert said on June 1, 2016

    U are very stupid, you can find good composite stick for a resonable price and wood sticks suk

  15. Deanorama said on December 17, 2016

    Give ’em the wood. Composite sticks are for [removed].

  16. Northstar said on February 28, 2017

    The best outcome ive had over the years, and keep in mind ive used all types of sticks was with a good ole fashion wood stick Canadian made. I swear by my Montreal pro, which they dont make anymore and my Sherwood 5030 psp. Heck ive even got my ole koho revolution layin atound but those are my preference. In my opinion ya get a harder snap of a wood stick compaired to anything else, but again just my opinion not bashing. And its getting harder and harder to find a wood/fiberglass stick .

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