How Long Should My Hockey Stick Be?

When it comes to playing hockey, whether it's ice, roller, dek, or street, having the right stick length is crucial for optimal performance. A stick that's too long or too short can hinder your puck handling, shooting accuracy, and overall comfort on the rink. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore how to determine the perfect stick length for your height and playing style.

Measuring Stick Length

Hockey stick size chart

The first step in finding the right hockey stick length is to measure. If you're playing ice or roller hockey, measure while wearing skates. If for some reason you can’t put your skates on, you can stand on your tip-toes to approximate. For dek hockey, measure in shoes. Shoes can add up to 1.5” to your height, so it makes a difference.

Stand with your stick on the ground, parallel to your body. The toe of the blade should be on the ground, and the heel of the blade should not. The stick should reach somewhere between your chest and nose. Now that you have a general idea of the length, you can start to fine-tune.


Forwards vs. Defensemen

Cal U hockey player with flex hockey stick

Your position on the rink can also influence your stick length preference. Forwards often prefer slightly shorter sticks, as they prioritize puck handling and quick shots. A shorter stick allows for better agility and faster reactions in tight spaces. A shorter stick also promotes a deep knee bend for improved skating.

On the other hand, defensemen may opt for longer sticks to improve their reach and poke-checking ability. A longer stick can also be beneficial for slap shots from the point and clearing the puck out of the defensive zone.

These preferences apply to ice, roller, and dek hockey, as the fundamental skills and tactics remain similar across all three.


Flex Hockey stick lie

The lie of your chosen curve will play a factor as well. Lie is the angle between the shaft and the blade. If your stick length doesn’t match your lie, your blade won’t sit flat to the rink. It will toe up or heel up. If you use a PM9 or P28, you have a flatter lie and will want a bit more length on your stick. If you use a P88 or P92, you have a more upright lie and will want a slightly shorter stick.

Arm Length

This isn’t a factor for most people, but if you have particularly long or short arms you’ll need to adjust your stick length. If you have longer arms, you’ll use a shorter stick. If you have shorter arms, you’ll use a longer stick.

Personal Preference

Dek Hockey Player using Flex Hockey Stick

While the general guidelines provide a good starting point, personal preference plays a significant role in determining your optimal stick length. Some players feel more comfortable with a slightly longer or shorter stick than the recommendations suggest.

To find your ideal length, experiment with different sizes during practice sessions or pickup games. Try to borrow a stick from a friend that’s a different length than yours. A butt end or stick extension can make your stick temporarily longer, then be removed if you don’t like it.

Pay attention to your puck handling, shooting accuracy, and overall comfort. If you feel like you're struggling to control the puck or your shots are consistently missing the target, try adjusting your stick length gradually until you find the sweet spot. Even a half inch shorter or longer can make a difference.

Impact on Performance

Pitt Hockey Player with Flex Hockey Stick

Using a stick that's the wrong length can have a significant impact on your performance. A stick that's too long can make puck handling and quick shots more difficult, as the extra length can feel cumbersome. For beginners, a stick that’s too long can negatively affect skating fundamentals. It can allow or even force the skater to stand more upright instead of bending their knees. Conversely, a stick that's too short can limit your reach and shooting power, as you won't be able to generate as much leverage.

Finding the right stick length is essential for all types of hockey, as it directly influences your ability to execute fundamental skills like passing, shooting, and stick handling. Whether you're playing on ice, roller, or dek surfaces, investing time in finding the perfect stick length will pay off in improved performance and comfort on the rink.

Youth Players

Marauders Player with Flex Hockey Stick

Correct stick length is most important for youth players, and they’re the players most likely to be using the wrong stick length. Parents want to get the most bang for their buck, so they’ll leave the stick longer so there’s room to grow, or wait too long to get a new one and let it get short. It’s totally understandable, hockey is a very expensive sport. That being said, using the wrong length can be detrimental to your child’s development in the sport. Consider cutting the stick to length, then adding an extension when it gets too short.

Does cutting a stick make it stiffer?

Functionally yes, technically no. Flex is a material property of a stick. A 102 flex stick is constructed differently from an 87 flex stick, and cutting it shorter doesn’t change that. Shorter sticks provide less leverage, so it’s more difficult to bend them. That makes them feel stiffer and perform like a stick with a higher flex.

How to cut a stick

Hold or clamp the stick to an elevated surface like a bench. Then, cut the stick with a hacksaw.

The best tool for cutting a stick is a hacksaw. Since composite hockey sticks are made of fibers, larger saw teeth can catch the fibers, resulting in a difficult cut and frayed edges. The teeth on a hacksaw blade are small, so they don’t catch the fibers. It makes for an easy, clean cut. Wooden sticks often have a fiberglass outer layer which is fibrous, so the same advice applies.


Player with Championship and Flex Hockey Sticks

Choosing the right hockey stick length is a crucial aspect of optimizing your performance, regardless of the type of hockey you play. By following the general guidelines, considering your position, and fine-tuning based on personal preference, you can find the perfect stick length for your height and playing style.

Remember, the right stick length can enhance your puck handling, shooting accuracy, and overall comfort on the rink. Take the time to experiment and find what works best for you, and you'll be well on your way to elevating your game to the next level.

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