In that time two things have really stood out:
Brand recognition - its really cool how much people (especially kids) keep up with the latest makes and models).
Lack of understanding - We have found that a lot of people (even high level players) don't fully understand what to look for when buying a hockey stick.
As much as I like attracting people to my shop because I carry the new makes and models I don't like to see someone going away with a stick that is not right for them. Here are a few of my own thoughts on how to pick out a stick:
# 1 Type - First of all buy a one piece composite. There's a reason why everyone in the NHL (with the exception of Ryan Smythe) use them, they are awesome.
# 2 - Height - Your first consideration should be stick height, if you buy a stick that is too short your likely going to regret it, if its too long, you'll have to cut too much off and it will likely be too stiff. At the shop I recommend bringing your old stick with you to compare.
# 3 - Pattern - For 10 years I have used the same blade pattern, anything else will throw me off! I use the Sakic curve (Now P3 Hall in Easton), but you can find a close equivelant in Bauer (P92 Backstrom), Reebok (Crosby), and CCM (Nugent-Hopkins). The blade pattern takes into account curve and lie. Find what you and stay with it.
The Hockey Stick Lie is defined by the angle between shaft and blade:
4 = 137%
5 = 135°
5.5 = 134°
6 = 133°
7 = 131°
The curves are generally recognizable by NHL player names in retail model sticks. The most popular types of curves are:
Heel Open, Big
Heel Open, Small
Mid Round, Small
Mid Round, Big
Mid Round, Open
What curve and lie are best? It is all up to the player to decide that one. If you notice that your sticks seem to wear at the heel, then try a stick with a lower lie, at the toe, then try a higher lie.
# 4 - Shaft Stiffness - So you now have a high performance composite hockey stick that is the right height, curve, and lie. Dont throw it all away by buying a 110 flex if your 120 pound soaking wet! Simply put, your not going to get the benefit from it.
# 5 Feel Trumps in - Despite the first 4 steps don't get too carried away. You can listen to guys like me that tell you what your ideal flex, lie, and length are all day......but its gotta feel good in your hands. Whenever I try out a stick that doesn't quite feel right, it doesnt work for me.......
I'm always open to questions.