Hockey sticks may have the same purpose, but they don’t perform their jobs exactly the same. For instance, professionals may have sticks structured specifically around their style of play, while younger players are likely to own sticks with the same brand name as the pro models but are nowhere near them in terms of looks and function.
If you’re looking to learn more about hockey sticks and other hockey gear, the ice hockey website can help. In the meantime, here’s a brief history lesson on how modern hockey sticks came to be. It should help you discover what the best sticks of today are made of.
Hockey Stick Materials: A Timeline
Back in the 1800s, hockey sticks were mostly made out of wood. Within the next half-century, though, countless changes were made in these sports items’ manufacturing and compositions.
The Earliest Hockey Sticks
Some of the first sticks used for hockey were made from the ironwood trees of Nova Scotia. These were one-piece, solid-wood sticks with designs carved into them.
The First Two-Piece Sticks
The earliest two-piece hockey stick was made of wood and was created sometime around the 1920s. It featured a blade connected to the shaft via a glued junction.
The Popularity of Three-Piece Sticks
Not long after the two-piece invention, three-piece sticks came along and became famous for the next 50 years. During those years, fiberglass material was incorporated into the hockey stick manufacturing process. The top companies began using fiberglass to wrap around their wooden sticks to make them stronger and lighter.
Hockey Sticks With Straight Blades
In the ’50s and ’60s, hockey sticks with straight blades were all the rage. Some popular players, though, decided to experiment with a variety of curved blades. What they did was soak the stick’s wooden blades with water, so they became bendable.
The Aluminum Hockey Shaft
This was an addition to the hockey stick made popular in the 1990s by a player named Wayne Gretzky. It was part of his endorsement deal and really did him a lot of good. Sure, he was already one of the world’s most renowned athletes by that time, but we can’t help but think that part of it had to do with his new piece in his arsenal.
Other players were already using sticks with an aluminum hockey shaft back then, but Gretzky caused its popularity to skyrocket.
The Composite Blade
The mid-90s gave birth to the composite blade, which was adapted into a wide range of playing styles. Then, five years later, the composite stick was introduced. By the next four years, almost the entire league was using these sticks.
Today’s Hockey Sticks
There’s no doubting the marvel of today’s hockey sticks. Most make use of carbon fiber, also known as graphite, technology, which is incredibly popular in the sporting world. Also, instead of using just one material, today’s sticks are composed of several. There’s titanium, which is sometimes added as a compound, and Kevlar, which helps make sticks stronger and more durable.
Professional vs. Amateur Hockey Sticks: The Differences
Amateur hockey sticks are those based on professional sticks that you can buy off the shelf. They are significantly lower in quality and should therefore never be confused for the pro models. Here are some of the other ways these sticks are different:
The National Hockey League is a whole different ball game compared to what the younger players are used to experiencing. Even junior or college players who just got drafted can take time adjusting to the sudden shift in intensity and skill required in the professional league.
That said, it makes sense that the hockey sticks pros use are on another level completely. These aren’t just highly-customized sticks; they are super-specialized sticks with their separate manufacturing section in the factory. Manufacturers can add special customizations required by particular players (usually famous ones) in less time and with little trouble.
Quality and Durability
There’s a vast ocean that lies between the amateur sticks and pro models in terms of quality and durability. Of course, this is to be expected. Still, this isn’t to say that off-the-shelf options are always going to be low quality. If you’re still starting your hockey journey, you’ll find quite a number of amateur sticks on the market capable of helping you develop a good game without giving up on you in a short time.
Why the Material of Your Hockey Stick Is Important
In many ways, the material or materials composing your hockey stick help dictate the way you play. That’s because it’s an aspect that ties into the rest of your stick’s features. Most of today’s top hockey sticks are made of graphite and other compounds contributing to the item’s lightness, durability, and strength. More often than not, choosing top-tier hockey sticks would see a considerable improvement in your chosen playstyle.