Have you ever noticed when buying a new hockey stickthat eachone has a number on it, such as 75, 85 or 100. This is what is known as the flex of the stick, and it basically indicates how much the stick will bend. What is not intuitive is that a higher flex number indicates that the stick is less flexible, while a lower flex number indicates the opposite.
How do they come up with that number? The flex number indicates how many pounds of force are required to bend (or deflect, to be really scientific) the stick one inch. So, it should take 100 pounds of force to bend a stick marked as 100 flex exactly one inch in the centre. CCM/Reebok also includes a metric equivalent flex on their sticks. A 100 may be dual marked as 100/45, which equates to 45 kilograms of force required to deflect the stick 2.54 centimetres…which is one inch. This is what is known as a “soft” metrification – when the metrification is simply a conversion of the Imperial units, so they don’t appear to make any sense on their own. If they truly wanted to measure stick flex in metric units, they’d likely measure how much flex was required to deflect the stick 2 centimetres or some other rounded number.
So which stick flex should you use? An easy trick is to take your weight (in pounds, and you are only fooling yourself if you lie) and divide that by two. So let’s pretend that I weigh 200 pounds. I should use a 100/102 flex stick following this logic. And that is what I use, so fancy that. Ultimately, this is a matter of personal preference. Someuse a 75/77 flex, but that doesn’t mean that they weigh 150 pounds. There are other reasons to choose a specific flex. A lower flex, being more “whippy” is a better choice for someone that wants to be able to put a lot a load on the stick for quick wrist shots. In this case, the lower flex will help because the quickness of release is more important than how hard the shot is. Acentre may want something more in the middle, since their stick may take more of a beating and a lower flex stick is ultimately less durable because it takes more stress. Defenders generally want a stiffer stick because those will transfer more energy on slapshots, making them harder. You have to determine the maximum stick flex that you can actually bend, because this determines how much energy transfer you can harness. If you are a defender with an 85 flex but can’t adequately bend it, your slapshots will only have the force of your swing behind them. In that case you’d be better off going with a lower flex stick because that will allow you to maximize your shot potential from the point.
Another major factor for how the flex can affect your shot is how much you cut the stick down. You may have seen the marks on the stick near the end that show what the flex will increase to if you cut it there. The reason that it makes the stick stiffer is similar to how any type of lever works. The stiffness of the material used obviously doesn’t change, but rather the overall length is the variable factor in this case. In physics this is explained using Hooke’s law, with the spring constant representing the stick flex. The main variables in the equation for the spring constant are the force applied and the distance between the two supports (the stick length).
While you don’t see them much anymore, a see-saw (or teeter-totter) used to be a playground staple that taught children about mechanical advantage and leverage. If sit a kid on one end of the see-saw, it is much easier to push down at the opposite end to lift them. The close to thecentre that you push, the harder that it becomes. That is why you can sit closer to thecentre if you are heavier than the other kid to find the balance point. Cutting two inches off of a 75/77 flex stick will make it feel like an 85 flex stick, for example. Every bit cut off will increase this feeling.
If a wooden extension is glued in, the original flex of a cut stick can be restored or a stick can be made stiffer. This is because the increased length will increase the spring constant, which results in a higher effective flex. However, the glued joint will be a weak spot so you don’t want to make the extension too long.
What kind of flex do the pros use? There is a much larger variety than you may expect. Also, players are prone to changing sticks and flex more often throughout the season, with many lowering their flex as the season goes on. For example, Danny Briere often starts the season with a stiffer stick, such as a 90 flex, only to end up with a 75 flex by the end of the season. With that all said, the majority of NHL players use a stick with flex in the 85-100 range.
Forwards tend to use a lower flex. Some players with a notable low flex are Johnny Gaudreau with a 55 flex and Phil Kessel with a 65 flex. You can see just how much bend these players get out of their stick when they shoot. There are quite a few forwards that use sticks in the 65-75 range. Alexander Ovechkin is 230 pounds and uses a 79 flex stick, which is probably a big reason for his one-timer. Sidney Crosby uses a 100 flex stick, higher than you may imagine for a skilled player. In his case this may have some advantages as a stiffer stick can be better in face-offs, and flex really doesn’t factor heavily into backhand shooting. Patrick Kane uses an unusually stiff stick for his size at 102-105.
Defenders almost universally use higher flex sticks. Zdeno Chara, at 6-9 and 256 pounds, uses a 150-160 flex stick regularly, twice as stiff as Ovechkin. Dustin Byfuglien and Shea Weber use 122 flex sticks, but Weber increases this to 130 flex for the hardest shot competitions.
We take for granted the consistency that the composite sticks provide. The stick flex is accurate and you can buy the same stick at different times and know how they will perform. Wooden sticks were a different story. Wooden sticks also had flex ratings, but instead of these being engineered into the stick as it was being made, they were assigned based on how the stick would flex after the stick was made. Players would often have to buy large lots and find their “gamers”, akin to how baseball players presently deal with wooden bats. The kick point of wooden sticks (where the primary bend and transfer of energy occurs) was much higher on wooden sticks. They would tend to flex in thecentre and whip from there, whereas composite sticks kick closer to the blade. More power is delivered the lower the kick point is.
When going to buy your sticks, keep in mind that senior sticks are generally only going to be available in flex numbers 75/77, 85/87, 95 and 100/102 regularly, with other stiffer values sometimes in stock. If you want or need less than 75/77, you will have to consider using an intermediate stick unless you can find pro stock in that value. Intermediate sticks tend to be shorter and typically have a 65/67 flex. Below that are junior sticks, where 55 flex is usually the highest. It is acceptable to flex the stick by holding one hand on top and the other in the centre. See how hard it is to get that one inch of deflection and find the stick that seems right. Don’t put all your body weight on the stick or try to bend it too aggressively in the store. A small bend will give you enough idea. Lastly, keep in mind which type of player you are. You’re most likely to score with a quick shot, followed by an accurate shot, with hard shots being the least likely to score. Is your game better with power or placement?
But in the end, the best way to find out is to head to your local hockey shop and get someone that works there to help you find the perfect flex. Some even have areas where you can try the sticks out and see what works best for you!
And if you’re thinking of taking that stick and learning how to play hockey this winter, and end up on a real hockey team, you should sign up for our Winter Discover Hockey programs here. Spots are limited and will sell out!
What is the difference between 85 and 100 flex hockey stick? ›
Simply, a stick flex rating is the number of pounds of force required to bend the shaft one inch. Thus, a 100-flex stick is stiffer than an 85. An oft-repeated rule of thumb says to use a stick with a flex rating half that of your body weight.What is 75 flex in a hockey stick? ›
A flex rating is based on how many pounds of pressure it takes to bend the stick 1 inch (i.e. 75 pounds of pressure = a 75 flex stick).Is more or less flex better on a hockey stick? ›
The lower the flex rating, the softer the stick will feel and is more easily bendable. The higher the flex rating, the stiffer the stick will feel and requires more force to bend. Use this quick method to get an idea of the general flex rating a player should use.Does hockey stick flex matter? ›
They do this so they can put their utmost power into their slapshot. Hockey players who are looking to get the most of their sticks should be attentive to a concern like stick flex rating. Having a proper flex rating allows you to take your highest velocity and most accurate shot.What flex do most Nhlers use? ›
With that all said, the majority of NHL players use a stick with flex in the 85-100 range. Forwards tend to use a lower flex. Some players with a notable low flex are Johnny Gaudreau with a 55 flex and Phil Kessel with a 65 flex. You can see just how much bend these players get out of their stick when they shoot.What hockey stick flex is best for me? ›
A good place to start when choosing a Hockey Stick Flex Rating is to choose the flex that matches half of your body weight. If you weigh 160 pounds, start with an 80 flex, and see how you like this option by testing it out in a shooting room. If you weigh 140 pounds, try the same process out with a 70 flex stick.What flex stick did Gretzky use? ›
The movement was started by none other than Wayne Gretzky who signed an endorsement deal to use an HXP 5100 aluminum shafted stick made by Easton. The late 80's saw initial use of aluminum shafted sticks, but it was Wayne Gretzky who made them popular in the early 90's.How do I choose a stick flex? ›
- Divide the player's weight (in lbs.) by two. Example: for a player who weighs 180 lbs., 180 ÷ 2 = 90.
- Adjust for strength and height. Round up for taller and stronger players. ...
- Adjust for stick length. If adding more than 3 inches, go up in flex.
Hockey stick flex is the amount of bend that takes place in the stick when shooting. A higher flex rating on a stick will mean it is harder to bend, while a lower flex rating requires less force to bend.What flex should I play? ›
If you're between 97 and 104 mph with the driver, you need a stiff flex. If you're between 84 and 96 mph, regular is going to be best for you. This is the swing speed rage of most amateur golfers. Between 72 and 83 mph with the driver signifies you need to be hitting senior flex.
What is Ovechkin's stick flex? ›
He uses his infamous toe curve that opens up near the toe. He also uses a higher flex than many may think, with all of his sticks ranging from 95-105 flex. If you want to shoot like Ovie, head on over to www.prostockhockey.com today! Compared to his weight 95 flex would be like using a 75....How tall is a 70 flex hockey stick? ›
|Age Group||Height||Recommended Shaft Flex|
|Junior (7-13)||4'4" - 5'1"||50/55 Flex|
|Intermediate (11-14)||4'11" - 5'4"||60 Flex|
|Intermediate (12-14)||5'2" - 5'8"||65/70 Flex (Light Flex)|
|Senior (14+)||5'5" - 5'10"||75/80 Flex (Mid Flex)|
Simply put, if you're using a stick that's too stiff for you to bend, your shots will lack power. If you're using a stick that's too whippy, your shots will lack control.How does flex affect your shot? ›
The higher the flex number, the stiffer the hockey stick. Flex has a lot to do with how fast a player's slap shot is. In the act of making a slap shot, the player will scrape the blade on the ice a few inches behind the puck. This pulls the blade back so that when the blade contacts the puck, it acts like a spring.Who has the stiffest stick in the NHL? ›
The moment anyone starts talking about hockey stick flex, Zdeno Chara's name comes up. The 6-foot-9 Boston Bruins defenseman is known for having the stiffest stick in the NHL, typically playing with a 150 or 155-flex stick in a league where anything in three digits is considered stiff.What Flex does Connor McDavid use? ›
Perhaps the fastest growing Hockey Blade right now is the P28 “McDavid” curve. This Hockey Blade curve is a great option for players who play the game with the puck on the toe of their stick, due to the toe curve with an open face.
Defenseman usually prefer the stiffest sticks. Many defenseman take slap shots and do a lot of hacking with their sticks, on other players as well as the boards when forechecking.What does 85 mean on a hockey stick? ›
A number that quantifies the level of "stiffness" of a hockey stick. Measured by the amount of pressure it takes to bend the stick 1 inch over a 1 meter span (Ex. If it takes 85 lbs then it is an 85 flex). The higher the number goes the stiffer the stick becomes.What is 85 flex hockey stick? ›
To refresh your memory: an 85 flex stick requires 85 pounds of force to bend the stick 1 inch with a full length stick. Seems simple enough, right? However, hockey is a game of preference so, just because you weigh 170 does not mean that you must use an 85 flex.
Are 100 carbon hockey sticks good? ›
Carbon-heavy sticks are inherently less-forgiving than other materials, and require greater skill to maneuver and wield. They also tend to be a little heavier than other sticks. Sticks with more carbon content are recommended for advanced and elite-level players.How much flex do I need in my hockey stick? ›
WHAT FLEX SHOULD I USE? If you're new to hockey, you may be wondering how to choose a hockey stick with the correct flex. A good starting point is to take the weight of a hockey player (in pounds) and divide that number by 2. From there, you want to adjust the flex for height and strength.Why can't hockey players wear 99? ›
No, you cannot wear the number 99 in the NHL. The league officially retired the number on behalf of Wayne Gretzky in 2000. Although, five other players have wore the number 99 in the history of the NHL.Why is NHL 94 so good? ›
There is a lot of debate whether '93 or '94 is better, but because '94 had full team and player licensing deals, introduced one-timers, allowed you to break the glass with an Al Macinnis slap shot, and had the brass bonanza theme music; it usually wins out.What is the best cheap hockey stick? ›
- Ribcor Team Hockey Stick - Senior. ...
- Super Tacks AS3 Hockey Stick - Senior. ...
- Supreme 3S Grip Hockey Stick - Senior. ...
- Nexus 3N Grip Stick - Senior. ...
- Super Tacks AS3 Hockey Stick - Intermediate. ...
- Snipe Pro Hockey Stick - Senior. ...
- Super Tacks Team Hockey Stick - Senior. ...
- Ribcor 76K Hockey Stick - Senior. As low as $109.99.
- 1 HTX HPR 50 Field Hockey Stick – Best Overall.
- 2 Byte HX2 Composite Field Hockey Stick – Runner Up.
- 3 CranBerry Falcon Field Hockey Stick – Honorable Mention.
- 4 Grays Surf 500 Junior Field Hockey Stick – Also Consider.
Even the most durable carbon stick, players note, can break in a week or can last a year. Most people cite frequency and level of play as two central factors for determining the lifespan of a hockey stick. Remember, too, you may want to replace a stick when it's not broken—it may have lost its stiffness, its pop.How do you know if a hockey stick fits you? ›
The most common rule of thumb for sizing your stick is this: When standing in your skates, the end of a stick held with the toe of the blade on the floor should fall between your chin and nose. Players fond of short sticks will have the end of stick at throat height, while long sticks might hit you at the eyebrows.How tall is a 50 flex hockey stick? ›
At 60 inches the Raven Edge 50 flex is taller than a standard Junior stick and has a lower flex rating than any other intermediate stick on the market; at 60 inches and 50 flex, this stick is a perfect fit for any player under 5'7" and less than 110 lbs.