Hockey World Blog

How Stiff is Your Shaft?

Just the other day I was getting my skates sharpened, and to kill the time, I headed over to the stick rack to check out some twigs. I haven’t really paid much attention to sticks over the last year and a half, I’ve had the opportunity to put the Blue Ice Nano Pro through the rigors which is holding up great, as well as having an old Easton that used to be a one piece turned into an indestructible two piece. While looking, my interest was peaked in seeing staff stiffness range in three increments; mid 70’s, high 80’s and low 100’s (depending on the brand). Of being of the knowledge stiffer is better, I have done some research to share with you.

Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning with some wicked flex on his shot.

In simple terms, hockey sticks are what we use to launch the puck into a particular direction. A little more complex, a better, stronger shot comes from utilizing the flex of the stick to bend and snap the puck; much like pulling back on a ruler’s end and hitting someone in the forehead. The questions that arises though, how much flex should you have?

The ideal flex will vary for each player, but you want the stiffest flex you can bend completely to take full advantage of the stick recoil to snap the puck. If the stick is too stiff, the player loses out on the mechanical advantage of the stick. On the other hand, if the stick is to flexible, shot accuracy will suffer.

Stick length plays an important role in staff stiffness as well. In a senior stick at 85 flex, if you are to cut it down 2 inches, the stiffness will jump to about a 95 flex. Cutting down another 2 inches (4 inches total) and you’ll end up with about a 103 flex. Looking at those jumps at a beginning flex of 100, 2 inches takes it up to 106 and 4 inches puts you at a 113 flex.

According to Mike Cammalleri in an older Calgary Flames instructional video, he uses an 80 flex and the average around the NHL is about 100. A few general rules of thumb is for heavier guys to use stiffer shafts because of their weight’s ease of bending the stick. Also, for defenseman to use a stiffer shaft to generate harder slapshots. And lastly, for forwards to use less stiff shafts to better their snap and wrist shots.

Still though, these are general rules of thumb and not rule of law. I’ve always bought a 100 flex and have cut it down a few inches for better stick-handling. It is great to take the big slapshots, but I’ve dissected my game and realize I rarely take any slapshots anymore. In knowing what I know now, and playing more forward instead of defense, I am looking forward to picking up an 85 flex and seeing how my snap and wrist shots improve.


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