Here are some excerpts from a nice hockey stick article in the Boston Globe today…
In the last 10 years, one-piece composite sticks have replaced wooden sticks, as well as two-piece, shaft-blade combinations, at virtually every level of hockey. Composite sticks are made with substances such as nanotubes, Kevlar, and graphite. Their construction enables players to shoot harder with a lighter stick, but it also boosts the cost. Composite sticks cost $150-$300; wooden sticks are still about $30-$40.
After info on how a hockey stick breaking leads to a goal against BU…
“Most aggravating is the fact that when you used a wooden stick, you could tell when it was about to break; there would be splits on the shaft or the blade,” said BU coach Jack Parker. “When you use a composite, you never know.”
“You put energy into the stick when you generate power, driving the stick into the ice, and the carbon fiber has a great return on that energy,” said Mike Mountain, Easton’s director of sticks and blades.
College coaches, meanwhile, voice two complaints about composites: the lack of feel and their breakability.
“The passing game has suffered greatly,” said Parker. “It’s more difficult to control the puck off that blade. There’s more vibration, more bounce. They’re so much more expensive and breaking often and at such inopportune times. I think the game might be better off without them.”
Curiously, composites were created to make sticks that last longer.
Mountain said the incidence of breakage is not increasing, but with a wooden stick, a player can tell when it’s about to break and goes to the bench for another. With a composite stick, it’s a sudden explosion.
A story in the Grand Forks Herald last fall said University of North Dakota players each break 24-36 sticks a year, and one player broke 70 last season.
Mountain said composite sticks often break during the pressure of a shot only after the stick has absorbed a slash or blocked a shot.
Easton is working with Kevlar coating to help protect the stick. Mountain said companies like Easton are also addressing the problem of feel.
“It’s a big target of ours over the last couple of years, to get a great feel in their hands and have a nice touch,” said Mountain. “That’s been the challenge lately.”
The full article can be found here