Hockey stick

A hockey stick is used to move a ball or puck in field hockey, roller hockey or ice hockey.

In ice hockey, the stick is about 1.5 meters long with a flat blade 10 to 15 cm long at the end which contacts the ice. The blade describes about a 45 degree angle, giving the stick a partly L-shaped appearance. This blade is sometimes curved (in the direction toward which the skater moves forward), to aid in retaining the puck. The shaft of the stick is fairly rigid, but it has some flexibility because some shots in hockey depend on bending the stick slightly to store up energy.

The whip, the bend, the stiffness, the flex; all terms used to describe how your stick bows when taking a shot. The flex is printed on the side of the stick, typically ranging from 70 and 110. This number corresponds to the amount of weight or force (lbs) that it takes to deflect or bend the shaft one inch. For example, a 100 flex requires 100 lbs of force to bend the shaft 1 inch. A 90 flex requires 90lbs of force to bend the shaft 1 inch, and so on.

Aggressive and defensive players lean towards using stiff shafts for stick-checking and controlled slap shots. For a decent slap shot the blade of the stick makes contact with the ice a few inches before the puck. The shaft bends (gets preloaded), loading it full of potential energy, then as you pull the stick through that bend it snaps back into position as it makes contact with the puck. All this force is transferred into the puck.

Finesse style players generally prefer flexible and light shafts for wrist shots or snap shots stick handling and shot accuracy. A flexible shaft provides more whip which translates into more velocity on shots. Smaller players tend to use more flexible shafts to increase power on slap and wrist shots.

Hockey sticks have traditionally been made from wood, but in recent years, sticks made of more expensive carbon fiber and other composite materials have become common. In addition to weighing less, composite sticks can be manufactured with more consistent flexibility properties than their wooden counterparts. Composite sticks, despite their greater expense, are now commonplace at nearly all competitive levels of the sport, including youth hockey.

In field hockey, the stick is somewhat shorter and has a U-shaped end or blade.

The "Hockey Stick graph" is a nickname for the Mann et al temperature reconstruction of the last millennium.

References Is Your Shaft Stiff Enough ( Reviewed Nov 9 2004


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