For as long as there’s been hockey, there have been hockey sticks. For as long as there have been hockey sticks, there have been people working relentlessly to improve them.
The latest upgrades to the tool focus on its flex, a measure of the amount of force it takes, in pounds, to bend the shaft one inch. This is in response to a growing trend among players at the youth level through the National Hockey League ranks using lower flex ratings and multiple flex points.
"When composite sticks first came out, their flex was uniform," True Hockey senior marketing and business development manager Dave McNally said. "Over time, manufacturers have dialed in a little bit closer, changing how the stiffness happens throughout the shaft, and manipulating it so that the stick performs differently in certain shooting positions for a player depending on the type of kick point."
One change has to do with the flex profile, or the relative stiffness of the shaft. An aggressive flex profile has bigger changes in stiffness along the shaft, creating specific flex zones and a more dynamic stick response. There’s also the more traditional, constant flex profile, which has little-to-no change in stiffness along the shaft and allows the player to generate more load, causing the shot to be a lot heavier as a result.