There are many factors that must be considered when deciding which ice hockey stick to purchase and use. Purchasing is not the final step however. There is still a critical decision to make and that is how long or short to make your stick. The length of your stick can drastically affect your ability to pass, shoot, stick handle, even your skating. First, you need to know your options, then you need to figure out which option is best for you.
Once you have decided which ice hockey stick to purchase and use, you then have the choice to either lengthen or shorten your stick. To lengthen an ice hockey stick you will need what’s called a wooden hockey stick butt. A wooden butt is simply a wooden knob typically 6″ in length that you insert into the end of your stick shaft. While the butt is usually 6″ long, you can cut the butt to add any length up to 6″. To shorten a stick you simply use a hacksaw to cut the stick down to the desired length. Many players even shorten their shaft and then add a wooden butt because they like the solid feel that it gives them.
Now that you know how to lengthen and shorten your ice hockey stick you must determine how long you want your stick to be. Some people say as a rule of thumb that the stick should go up to your chin when you have your skates on. Some people say it should be shorter and some people say it should be longer. The bottom line is that it comes down to preference. Typically defensemen like their sticks much longer than offensemen. Centers in particular usually like much shorter sticks for better control in faceoffs. Players who do a lot of stick handling usually like their sticks shorter as well. Defensive players like their sticks longer for better reach in poke checking. Longer sticks can also allow you to create more flex and therefore more power for longer distance shooting. Hockey News
Take the general criteria mentioned in the previous paragraph and decide which type of player you are. Then experiment with varying lengths – with skates on – and practice passing, shooting, puck handling, skating, etc. to determine which length best complements your style. An easy way to experiment is to take one of your old ice hockey sticks (or just purchase a cheap stick solely for this purpose) and add a butt to the stick. Then play with the stick a bunch, cutting the length every couple of times you play. You will quickly determine which length is best suited for your play and which length feels the best to you.
While there are certainly trends that might help you determine what length of ice hockey stick you should use, it ultimately boils down to preference. There are plenty of players that take the exact opposite stand towards ice hockey stick length than that of other players with similar styles to them. Determine which length allows you to perform to your maximum ability and you’re set!