Advanced hockey stick design delivers optimal performance (2022)

Design Results:

  • Fiber architecture enables precise location of dual kickpoints, providing predictable stick bending moments for two common hockey shots.
  • Custom nanotoughened epoxy resin reduces crack propagation and increases stick fatigue-resistance.
  • Tapered design of the shaft’s rectangular cross-section enables a jointless transition to the blade in a one-piece construction.

At one time, a hockey stick was like Henry Ford’s all-black Model T: you could get any size or style of stick you wanted, as long as it was wood. The introduction of composite sticks in 1999, however, enabled designers to build sticks 35 percent lighter than their wood predecessors and perfect once impossible stick designs that have since changed the game. A notable example is the VAPOR APX stick from Bauer Hockey Inc. (Greenland, N.H.). The stick (launched in fall 2011) tops the VAPOR product line, which is one of Bauer’s two lines for the retail market. It differs from the company’s more conventional TOTALONE stick (launched a year earlier in the company’s SUPREME product line) in terms of blade structure, shaft shape and its stiffness profile, or what hockey players call the kickpoint.

Closed Molding Knowledge Center

The kickpoint is the point on the shaft at which the stick flexes during the act of shooting the puck. Unlike other composite sports equipment — such as tennis rackets and golf clubs, which are swung in a simple pendulum motion and (ideally) contact only the ball — a hockey stick is swung in a more forceful, linear motion (see photos) and the blade hits the ice, intentionally, some distance behind the puck. Here, the kickpoint allows the stick to bend, thus storing and transferring a significant amount of energy. The stick reaches its maximum bending moment before the blade hits the puck. When it contacts the puck, the stored energy is released during the follow through. In general, a composite hockey stick must be able to withstand a nonlinear dynamic load of 1,000N to 1,200N for 1.2 seconds without fatigue in the fiber matrix during 1,000-plus cycles.

Like the majority of retail sticks, the TOTALONE is designed with a single kickpoint near the middle of the shaft. The APX, however, features two kickpoints, a performance feature Bauer markets as Intelli-Sense Shot Technology. Kickpoints are designed into composite sticks by making the shaft stiffer in some areas (by adding layers of reinforcing material in strategic locations) and more flexible in other areas (by using less material or by reorienting the fibers). The stiffest region of the VAPOR APX is about 18 inches/457 mm above the stick’s heel, with more flexible regions below and above, yielding two areas of flex: one about 10 inches/254 mm below the point of maximum stiffness and the other the same distance above it.

Adam Gans, Bauer’s director of product development, explains that the dual-kickpoint design accommodates hockey’s most common shots — the slap shot and the wrist shot. During a slap shot, a heavier load is applied to the shaft and the low hand position is below the stiffest section to take advantage of the kickpoint nearest the ice. The distance and, therefore, the time between initial contact with the ice and contact with the puck is short, resulting in a quicker shot. During a wrist shot, the low hand is positioned above the upper kickpoint, so the shaft bends in two places, maximizing energy storage. Thus, the player can transfer more energy to the puck.

Fiber architecture

(Video) Hockey Sticks and Hairy Backs explained

A standard hockey stick shaft has a hollow, rectangular cross-section. The cross-sectional dimensions of the upper portion of the VAPOR APX are 0.76 inch by 1.175 inches (1.93 cm by 2.98 cm), with radiused corners (radii of 0.21 inch/5.5 mm) on each of the shaft’s four edges. The VAPOR APX stick’s standard length is 60 inches/1.52m. A long and complex series of tapers are built into the lower region of the stick to connect the wider shaft to the thinner blade.

Gans explains that, beyond weight, there are three major stick design criteria. First, the materials must be able to store and release energy quickly, which is why certain grades of carbon fiber are advantageous. Second, the shaft must have a stiffness profile that complements a player’s biomechanics to optimize shooting capacity. Third, the blade must damp impact well enough to ensure that the puck will stay on the blade while the player is shooting or receiving a pass, yet it also must provide enough sensation to allow the player to feel where the puck is on the blade.

The VAPOR APX comprises four main components: the stick’s shaft core, the shaft’s outer layer, the shaft taper and the blade. The shaft is built up around a proprietary expandable mandrel. The shaft core features 13 to 15 layers of material, 4 inches to 60 inches (102 mm to 1,524 mm) in length, laid down in an alternating sequence of orientations. The layers are high-strength, standard-modulus, low-FAW (fiber aerial weight) unidirectional (UD) 15K carbon fiber prepreg tape supplied by Mitsubishi (Toyohashi, Japan). Designers specify that material should be layered to a particular thickness.

(Video) Bauer NSX Stick Review

“The more layers you have, the more you can distribute the orientation of the fibers,” says Gans. The orientation sequence in a core cross-section follows a pattern (e.g., 30°/45°/30°/19°/0°/30°), and the pattern varies depending on the area of the stick and its specified stiffness profile. “When you have a good distribution of fiber angles, you have a better distribution of stress,” explains Gans, noting that more layers of 0° fiber increase linear stiffness; more layers of 45° fiber increase torsional stiffness; and more layers of 90° fiber increase resistance to buckling. The VAPOR APX architecture is designed to impart optimal resistance to fatigue. Although the dual-kickpoint architecture is proprietary, Gans reports that the company “uses localized inserts with specific fiber orientations to achieve the high-modulus zone at 18 inches [457 mm] from the stick’s heel.”

For the VAPOR APX, Bauer collaborated with Mitsubishi on the development of eLASTech, a toughened epoxy-based resin system that incorporates carbon nanotubes and thermoplastic nanoparticles. Gans says the formulation impedes crack propagation and resists interlaminar shear better than toughened resins that feature other additives, such as liquid rubber. “When you get a load that is parallel to the laminate, it’s the epoxy that’s going to take that load,” he explains, “so it’s important to have a toughened resin that resists fatigue and increases the longevity of the stick.”

The shaft’s outer layer is a single ply of FAW100 TeXtreme Spread Tow fabric, which is supplied to Mitsubishi by manufacturer Oxeon AB (Borås, Sweden), then impregnated by Mitsubishi with eLASTech resin for the core’s UD layers. Oxeon’s spread-tow fabrics areproduced by weaving spread-tow tapes. Two of the fabric’s main benefits are reduced weight and extremely low crimp that increases mechanical properties compared to a standard 3K woven fabric. Another advantage is greater compatibility with the inner prepreg layers. “TeXtreme fibers, which are relatively flat, are adjacent to the UD layers, which are absolutely flat,” Gans observes. “The mechanical commonality creates less stress, so there is less likelihood of shearing between the two layers.”

Gans claims that Bauer is the only hockey stick manufacturer that uses a “mono-comp” molding process in which the VAPOR APX and SUPREME TOTALONE sticks are each molded in one piece in a single shot. The process is more complicated than molding a blade and a shaft separately, but it eliminates the weight penalty paid in the more common two-part process where the shaft and the blade are adhesively bonded at a mortise-and-tenon joint, which adds weight where it is least desired, skewing the kickpoint and adding unwanted stiffness at the attachment point.

(Video) GoPro Hockey Skills and Drills with the HPC Hockey Stick (HD)

The design of the shaft’s taper facilitates the dual-kickpoint action and allows the manufacture of an integrated structure in a single shot. Below the 18-inch point of maximum stiffness, the rectangular cross-section of the shaft begins to taper in two directions: from side to side (the narrower cross-sectional width) and from front to back. Gans emphasizes that the goal is to make the taper thin enough to provide the shooter with the desired bend and whipping action, but not make it so thin that the transitional region is subject to high forces of torque, which can cause the stick to twist and result in loss of shot precision. He explains that the shaft-to-blade transition zone was carefully tuned by modifying the taper’s layup and UD fiber orientations in the area, and by optimizing the geometry.

The shaft core terminates at the stick’s heel, where it mates with the blade core. Here, Bauer uses two types of expandable foams. A low-density foam is used in the portion of the blade that receives fewer impacts, that is, at the intersection of the shaft and the heel of the blade. A syntactic epoxy foam with high shear strength, developed by Bauer in-house, is used in the blade body. The blade’s outer layer is formed from the same spread-tow fabric prepreg used for the shaft’s outer layer. The VAPOR APX stick is sold with eight blade pattern options, each of which has its own individual length, height and curvature. Most blades are 8 inches to 9 inches long (20.3 cm to 22.9 cm) and 2.5 inches (6.36 cm) high, with a thickness that varies from 0.350 inch (8.8 mm) at the heel to 0.150 inch (3.8 mm) at the toe.

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Bauer “tech packs” — which include the detailed layup sequence of the inner UD prepreg layers, woven outer layer and blade core materials — are assembled in-house at the company’s R&D facility in St. Jerome, Quebec, Canada. The combination of narrow rectangular shapes (and corner radii) and multiple tapers presents a manufacturing challenge that is met by precise control of preform assembly and molding conditions to prevent bridging and voids in the laminate. Tech packs are shipped to China, where they are compression molded using Bauer’s proprietary molding technology, which is designed to optimize compaction of the core’s laminate walls. Postmold operations include sanding then applying a clearcoat, decals and a final layer of clearcoat. The stick is then ready to put the puck in the net.

In addition to its retail product lines, Bauer designs custom sticks for NHL athletes and other elite players. Knowledge gained in custom stick design informs the company’s retail product strategies. This spring saw the launch of a third Bauer product line, headlined by the NEXUS 1000, an all carbon-fiber stick with a “Tru-Mid” kickpoint that has enjoyed great success in pro sticks for several years on NHL ice.

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FAQs

What makes a good hockey stick? ›

Your size, skill level, position and playing style are all factors to consider when determining the best hockey stick specs for you — and those perfect stick specs will be pulled together from performance-altering options such as kick point, blade curve, lie, flex, height and grip.

Which hockey stick is the best? ›

Best Hockey Sticks: 2020-2021 Season
  • #5. Warrior Alpha DX – 47 active NHL players. ...
  • #4. CCM Ribcor Trigger 5 Pro – 56 active NHL players. ...
  • #3. Bauer Vapor Flylite – 97 active NHL players. ...
  • #2. CCM Jetspeed FT3 Pro – 98 active NHL players. ...
  • #1. Bauer Nexus Geo – 105 active NHL players.
Jun 8, 2021

What hockey sticks do professionals use? ›

Breakdown by Brand
  • 34.3% of NHL players use CCM Sticks. ...
  • 31.8% of NHL players use Bauer sticks. ...
  • 19.7% of the NHL players use Warrior sticks. ...
  • 9.9% of the NHL use Easton sticks. ...
  • 2.6% of the NHL use True sticks. ...
  • 1.3% of the NHL use STX sticks. ...
  • 0.3% of the NHL use Sherwood sticks. ...
  • 0.1% of the NHL use Reebok sticks.

What stick do most NHL players use? ›

The Bauer Nexus Geo Grip is the most used hockey stick in the NHL, with 105 players currently using it. Right behind is the CCM Jetspeed FT3 Pro model, currently used by 100 NHL players.

What is the most durable hockey stick? ›

CCM Ribcor Trigger 6 Pro. The CCM Ribcore Trigger is the #1 ranked hockey stick for 2022. It's highly responsive, accurate and has improved durability.

What are the different types of hockey sticks? ›

There are three categories of hockey sticks to choose from depending on your needs. These include wood hockey sticks, one-piece composite sticks, and two-piece shaft/blade combos.

What stick does Alex Ovechkin use? ›

How long he's been using it: Ovechkin has been using CCM sticks throughout his career, but the model typically varies from season to season. He used the CCM Vector last season.

What stick does Sidney Crosby use? ›

Crosby uses a Sher-Wood Momentum graphite shaft with a Sher-Wood Axiom wood blade.

What is the best curve for a hockey stick? ›

A moderate curve depth (1/2”) is the most popular and will help improve puck control, improve the ability to lift the puck easier (compared to slight), all while still having a good backhand. A deep curve depth will provide the most control thanks to the blade being able to really cup the puck.

Do NHL players use True sticks? ›

Most people will say it's because they have one of the most dynamic players in the world using a True in Mitch Marner, as well as many other top tier NHL'ers, and I would agree. However, while True appears to be a new player in this market-space their company is in fact quite the opposite.

What Flex is Auston Matthews stick? ›

In an interview with Bauer, Matthews revealed that he uses an 80 flex stick with a Sakic curve, a pretty whippy stick when you consider his large frame.

Do NHL players buy their own sticks? ›

It's not uncommon for NHL players to use a new stick every game and their teams pay for them — an average of about $200 per stick, which is about $100 less than they cost in a sports store. The regular season is 82 games — not including practices — so the stick bill for NHL teams can get very expensive.

What stick does Mcdavid use 2022? ›

CCM Super Tack/Super Tack 2.0.

Does anyone in the NHL use a wooden stick? ›

Roughly half the NHL was using the old technology in 2016. Today, five NHL goalies still use a wooden stick. "Once you switch, it's amazing to hold a wood stick and wonder how you played with it," Buffalo Sabres goalie Carter Hutton said.

What NHL players use STX sticks? ›

There are several NHL players who use STX gear, including Jiří Hudler, Matt Moulson, Vincent Trocheck, Ivan Barbashev, and Brandon Pirri.

Do expensive hockey sticks make a difference? ›

The feel and performance increase with the price and the weight and durability tend to decrease. This is the range where the majority of people buy their sticks. hey are almost always two piece sticks fused together and can be subject to getting 'whipped out' or 'loosing its pop' more quickly.

What sticks do NHL players use 2022? ›

The 6 Best Hockey Sticks of 2022
  • CCM JetSpeed FT3 Pro. Starting off our countdown of the best hockey sticks of 2022 is the CCM JetSpeed FT3 Pro coming in at number 6. ...
  • Bauer Supreme 3S Pro. ...
  • Warrior Covert QRE10. ...
  • CCM Super Tacks AS3 Pro. ...
  • Bauer Nexus Geo. ...
  • Bauer Supreme UltraSonic. ...
  • Bauer Vapor HyperLite.
Jan 12, 2022

What are the two types of hockey stick? ›

There are two primary different types of hockey sticks, wooden and composite.

Is a lighter hockey stick better? ›

Some players prefer lighter sticks because they are easier to handle and move around on the ice. Others choose a stick with more weight because it helps to build up strength while using it and can be tougher for opponents to lift off the ice. Using a heavier stick also allows for more power on your shots.

Are composite hockey sticks better than wood? ›

Composite sticks weigh less, generally provide more power, have a custom kick point, and are more durable than wood sticks, which tend to be heavier and stiffer. Wood is also less consistent—every piece of wood is different, whereas several composite hockey sticks can be built with uniform qualities.

What stick does Trevor zegras use? ›

Bauer Vapor HyperLite

What Flex does MacKinnon use? ›

What really sets MacKinnon apart, though, occurs before the puck ever zooms off his 95-flex CCM blade. Aside from perhaps Connor McDavid, no one hypnotizes opponents with such rapid-fire stickhandling, while still skating at top speed.

What stick does Nathan MacKinnon use? ›

CCM Ribcor Trigger 3D

Who uses P28 curve? ›

Over the past few years you've no doubt taken notice of NHL players using what appears to be a massive hook! Most noticeably stars like Ovechkin, Doughty or Getzlaf are using what has become known as the Open Toe (P28 in most brands) pattern.

What stick does Connor McDavid use 2019? ›

We all know Connor McDavid is fast, but now we have more proof he can also score from everywhere. The Edmonton Oilers captain showed it in a CCM commercial for the new JetSpeed FT2 stick that was unveiled Friday. With the new #JetSpeedFT2 stick, @CMcDavid97 can shoot...and score from everywhere.

Is P88 a good curve? ›

P88 - Very simple blade with a mid-curve (curve of the blade occurs in the middle of the blade), and no opening (does not curve up). Great for stick handling and keeping the puck from flopping. Excellent for backhand shots. More difficult to lift puck over goalies in tight when close to the crease.

What curve does Patrick Kane? ›

PRO1088 (ST: Patrick Kane Pro Stock Curve) - 3D Visualizer – Pro Stock Hockey Sticks.

What is the best curve? ›

5 Best Curve Colognes - Reviews
  1. Curve For Men Liz Claiborne For Men Cologne. Rating. Fresh and cool scent. ...
  2. Curve Wave By Liz Claiborne For Men Cologne. Rating. ...
  3. Curve Crush By Liz Claiborne For Men Cologne. Rating. ...
  4. Curve Chill For Men By Liz Claiborne Cologne. Rating. ...
  5. Curve Black Cologne For Men By Liz Claiborne. Rating.
Sep 7, 2017

Who was the last NHL player to use a wooden stick? ›

Retired goalie Henrik Lundqvist was the last to use a wood Bauer stick, switching to composite in 2018-19, almost 12 years after the company started leading the NHL trend toward composite goalie sticks.

Do hockey sticks lose their pop? ›

Remember, too, you may want to replace a stick when it's not broken—it may have lost its stiffness, its pop. When a stick feels “whippy” or weak in shooting or passing, many players will buy a new stick because the old one isn't performing like it should. It's worn out—a factor that a novice may not even notice.

Is True owned by CCM? ›

TRUE Hockey and Lefevre Inc (aka Lefevre Goalie) officially acknowledged today they are joining forces, with the former acquiring the latter. Rumors of this union started shortly after Lefevre's design contract with CCM concluded at the end of 2019, and it's a match that makes strategic sense for both companies.

What Flex does Mitch Marner use? ›

Generating table...
PLAYERHANDFLEX
Connor McDavidL85
MITCH MARNERR80
Roman JosiL105
ARTEMI PANARINR90
46 more rows

What Flex does Cole Caufield use? ›

“The flex I used is 75. It's in between. It's something I'm used to since the (US development) program, and just stuck with it.”

What stick does Mitch Marner use? ›

TRUE Catalyst 9X

How much does a professional NHL hockey stick cost? ›

An average NHL hockey stick costs $185, and players go through 60 to 125 sticks a year, he said. That's as much as $23,125 in hockey sticks for one player.

What does the NHL do with broken sticks? ›

Some will go to the FOX Sports Ohio Blue Line Store to be sold. Others are given to the Blue Jackets Foundation to be recycled into furniture and other items, which will be auctioned off to charity. And some are distributed to local sled hockey teams who repurpose the shafts to create specialty sticks.

What does an NHL referee get paid? ›

Regular season salaries depend on years of service in the NHL. First year officials start at just over $200,000 for referees and $137,000 for linesmen, increasing each year. A 15-year referee would earn $430,000 this season, while a linesman with 15 years of service would draw $228,000.

What stick does Leon draisaitl use? ›

Player NamePositionStick
Kailer YamamotoRight WingCCM JetSpeed FT4 Pro
Kris RussellDefensemanBauer Vapor HyperLite
Kyle TurrisCenterBauer Vapor HyperLite
Leon DraisaitlCenterWarrior Alpha LX Pro
19 more rows

What stick is Connor McDavid use? ›

Connor McDavid is also well known for his older stick model choice, sticking with an original Super Tacks. He has tried a few of CCM's newer sticks, but has always come back to his trusty Super Tacks.

What stick does Kevin Fiala use? ›

Bauer Supreme Ultra Sonic

Who uses the lowest flex in the NHL? ›

Speaking of Whippy Shafts

But here are a few NHL players whose stick flex is somewhere between “pool noodle” and “CB antenna”: Johnny Gaudreau (55 flex): At 5-foot-9, 157 pounds, it's not a shock he has the lowest flex stick in the league.

Who has the biggest curve in the NHL? ›

The Sakic Curve

On his way to the Hall of Fame, Joe Sakic scored 100 points or more in six of his 20 NHL seasons and came up with perhaps the most well-known of the NHL hockey curves.

What stick does Marc Andre Fleury use? ›

Reebok Pro Authentic Foam Core Goalie Stick - Marc-Andre Fleury - Senior.

Is STX a good hockey stick brand? ›

1. STX. Making first place on the list of the top five most popular field hockey brands is the brand known as STX. STX is considered one of if not the most popular field hockey brands because it caters to every equipment need of a field hockey player.

Does Bauer own CCM? ›

Earlier this year the owner of CCM rival Bauer, Performance Sports Group Ltd., was sold for $575-million (U.S.) to Sagard Holdings Inc. and Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. after filing for bankruptcy protection. After many potential buyers steered clear of the distressed company, no other bidders came forward.

Is STX a good brand? ›

They perfectly fit your play style well. STX really flies under the radar. For less than $180 you get a really solid stick. It has the quality and performance as any other high end stick on the market without the high end price.

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