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Hockey School
the professorThe Stick

What they are: Traditionally, it is a slender piece of wood that usually measures up to a player's chin and features a right-handed or left-handed blade at ice level. Sticks are made of more scientific components as well.

The stickWhy are they taped?: Two reasons: 1. They are taped on the blade to preserve the life and the friction makes it easier to catch passes. 2. They are taped at the top to form what is called a butt. It allows a better grip for the top hand and cuts down on slippage.

What the future holds: Technology. Players on all levels are dropping the wood sticks for those made with aluminum, graphite and titanium shafts. These are considered more durable and less expensive in the long run. When a blade breaks on a wooden stick, you need a whole new unit. When a blade breaks on the new sticks, simply replace the blade and keep the original shaft.

The lingo: Sticks are also known, around the rinks, as twigs and lumber.

Did you know?: The biggest difference in sticks on the NHL level is flex-medium and stiff. A defenseman who is going to be letting pucks fly from the point traditionally would use a stiff stick. A forward who is going to plant himself in front of the net would want more snap to his stick and would opt, more times than not, for a medium version.

– Compiled by Tim Sullivan

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