The Wooden Hockey Stick Is Dead

Alex Ovechkin Hockey NHL Washington CapitalsNew sticks can maximise speed and accuracy

Photo: Dan4th Nicholas

The slow-death of wood sticks in the NHL is complete, according to the Montreal Gazette, as the last holdouts finally switched over to composite sticks last season. Less than two decades ago, wood sticks were used universally in the NHL, but drastic changes in technology — and stick companies that have abandoned wood in favour of more popular composites — have completely eliminated them from the game.

Players now use sticks made of a combination of materials including Kevlar, carbon, titanium, graphite, and fibreglass. The new models weigh a fraction of their predecessors and offer all kinds of new options like different flex and kick points designed to maximise different parts of a player’s game, depending on personal preference.

Phoenix Coyotes’ defenseman Adrian Aucoin won a hardest-shot competition in 2004 with a speed of 102.3 miles per hour using a wood stick, but he was forced to switch to a composite last year. Aucoin was one of a handful of NHL players that clung to their wood sticks and didn’t all change by choice, but many stick manufacturers stopped making wood models altogether or had them made overseas where the quality of production deteriorated.

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