Current high-end hockey sticks are mostly composed of carbon fibre due to its high stiffness and low density. It allows sticks to be extremely light while having enough stiffness to be effective. These sticks however are not good against impacts which is why we see so many sticks breaking in the NHL. When hit with another stick or taking a slapshot, the carbon cannot absorb the energy and shatters.
To reduce the shattering of sticks, some companies are including kevlar with the carbon fibre. This requires more layers to offset the loss of stiffness which makes for a heavier but more durable stick.
Going down the price range, we can find sticks made of lower quality carbon fibre, these sticks are heavier as they require either more material or more polymer to offset the lower quality.
Lower still are the composite sticks which are composed of carbon fibre and fibreglass. These sticks are heavier due to the inclusion of glass but are also tougher.
Image of a stick composed of fibreglass and carbon fibre
Aluminium sticks are still around but in limited numbers, they are extremely durable but don't have the same feeling due to the material's high hardness.
Wood sticks are available reinforced with either glass, carbon or both. However most players have left these aside for the lighter composite sticks.
Image of a wooden stick protected by glass and carbon fibres
So which material should you look for in your next hockey stick? The answer depends on you:
- If you are a competitive player playing in a high-end league, you probably want an all-carbon stick. The lightest possible stick you can find to give you that edge in the game. The increased price of the stick should not be a problem!
- If you play recreationally, a "low-end" carbon stick or a fibreglass/carbon stick should work nicely. The slight increase in weight should not negatively impact your game and your stick should last longer.