Why Length Matters when Buying a Hockey Stick
When you buy a hockey stick, one of the most important factors is the length of the hockey stick. Experienced hockey players know the exact length they like. The length of a hockey stick is mainly chosen by personal preference, however the length does affect the performance of the stick and the hockey player. It will be difficult for a hockey player to control the puck and shoot the puck if the stick is too short or too long for them. Also it seems that players who share a certain playing style or position tend to prefer a similar hockey stick length, we will discuss this later. First, let’s look at how to measure the length of a hockey stick and how to choose the right length.
How to Measure the Length of a Hockey Stick
In order to properly measure the length of a hockey stick a player should be wearing hockey skates. Hockey skates add a few inches in height, so a stick that comes up to the players nose without skates, may only reach their chin while on skates. If you are buying a hockey stick, and you don’t have skates with you, make sure you remember to add an inch or two in length to suit your needs while on the ice.
To measure the length, have the player stand straight up, looking forwards. Have the shaft of the stick parallel to the players body, with the toe of the blade of the stick on the ground (see picture below)
Average length of a hockey stick – If you are playing hockey for the first time a good starting point for the length of your stick is between the chin, and nose.
What classifies a long stick, and a short hockey stick? – Typically any stick that is above the nose will be classified as long, and any stick that is below the chin would be a short stick.
What Length Should Your Hockey Stick Be?
Like we mentioned earlier, the length of the hockey stick is usually chosen by personal preference, but it takes time to develop a playing style and a preference for stick length, so here is our short guide to picking the right length.
Short Hockey Stick “The Dangler” – Hockey players who are good at stickhandling 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 stickhandling 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 your end.
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. These tips should help beginner players find a length to start at, but don’t be afraid to try something new!
Adjusting Stick Length
When buying a hockey stick it may be hard to find the perfect length in the store. It is normal to buy a stick that is too long, and then cut it down to suit your length preference. For younger players it is also common to put a wooden plug in the end of a stick to make it longer (if they out grow the stick).
Picking the Right Flex
Remember that cutting the stick does affect the flex of the shaft. If you want to learn more about finding the perfect flex for your hockey stick then check out our hockey stick flex guide (coming soon).