The Truth about Hockey Stick Flex



We've all grown up believing that if you cut your twig the it will become stiffer.  What would you say if I told you that you were wrong? You'd probably argue the fact and point out that the flex is actually written on the back of many retail sticks.  That is not an accurate reflection of a flex rating, shocking ehh?  How could such an important element like flex be so widely misunderstood, let me explain: 

Just like a piece of wood, the composition of a hockey stick doesn't change when it is cut, the properties of the woven carbon fiber remain the same.  Therefore an 85 flex stick with 3 inches cut off of it is still an 85 flex......

Having said that a trimmed down stick will now "feel" stiffer because there is less room between your hands, by cutting down the stick you have lost leverage.  This is no different than using a piece of wood to pry up an object, the more leverage you have the easier it will bend.

So years ago, in an effort to help players understand the relationship between stick length and flex some brands began to show what the flex of a your stick would feel like when cut down. (e.g., if you have an 85 flex and remove 6 inches it will feel like your playing with a 100 flex).   This method has good intentions,  but starts to get confusing for people when they get sticks at different heights.  For instance if you were to purchase two 85 flex sticks, the first being a retail model that comes with a standard 60 inch shaft and the second being a pro model with a 66 inch shaft, wherever you choose to cut the stick you will have the same amount of leverage, therefore they will feel the exact same!

 

 Ovi is well known for using a lower flex and getting lots of torch into his shots 


For guys like me, who needs to use a plug, the same principal applies.  The flex remains the same, but the distance between your hands gives you more leverage to bend the beast! 

Points to take away:

  • The actual flex rating on a hockey stick doesn't change when cut down, just the feel!
  • The relationship between the height and flex of a stick is very important, but the amount of material you may cut/or ad doesn't matter  
  • Taller Stick = Further Distance Between Hands = More Leverage = Easier to Flex
  • Shorter Stick = Less Distance Between Hands = Less Leverage = Harder to Flex
  • This is why you will find that taller players/taller sticks typically have a higher flex than shorter players/sticks     

Don't believe me? Try it for yourself. 

HSM


Joey Walsh
Joey Walsh

Author

I have worked with Hockey Canada, the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and Brock University. But now I'm all about hockey sticks. A passion and love for sticks as a child has blossomed into a full on obsession as an adult (if you can call me that).



9 Responses

Joey Walsh
Joey Walsh

October 19, 2018

Dear Garret – At 5’6 (170lbs) it isn’t as much a question of strength as it is about leverage. A standard length stick for you (cut between nose and chin), will “feel” quite stiff as you wouldn’t have near as much leverage (distance between hands to flex the stick). Therefore even though the principal rule is half your body weight you may find more success in your game if you went with something in the 70-80 flex range. Strength, amount of hockey being played and the type of hockey (men’s league vs. pro) all have a factor in this as well. But personal preference is key. What will not matter is the original height of the 70-80 flex stick that you choose.

Joey Walsh
Joey Walsh

October 19, 2018

Dear Mekk – Thanks for the input, where understanding this point is important is when considering buying a stick that is extended length. Regardless of how tall the stick was made, the players “feel” will not change, only the feel based on where he/she decides to cut/play with it. I agree with you that the feel of the stick and the relation to how tall a player decides to have their stick is very important.

Mekk
Mekk

October 19, 2018

While your points about “stiffness and properties of the shaft not changing” are correct, it is kind of irrelevant and unhelpful. You say only the “feel” changes but I would argue that the feel is the most important thing to measure.

I would define “feel” more specifically as the “input force” required to flex the stick = how many pounds of force to flex the stick 1". The input force is fixed for a player based on their strength/weight. And this is exactly how stick makers define “flex rating” – they are rating the players input force, rather than the stick stiffness which, as you pointed out, does not change with length.

Players need to consider the stick length and stiffness together to get the most power for their fixed input force. So it is very helpful and accurate to to have the “flex rating” measure the input force at various stick lengths.

T lowe
T lowe

October 19, 2018

The flex rating isnt measured by feel. Yes the weeve of an 85 flex stick fibers are not as tight as a 100 flex, but the flex rating comes from the amount of weight it takes to move a stick briged between 2 points. So an 85 flex stick can be stiffer than a 100 flex stick if its cut short enough. It also changes the geometry of the flex point and other key factors. Finding what works best for you dosent happen over night, ive been playing for 32 years and i still experiment

Garret
Garret

October 19, 2018

Interesting point. But what does it change, really? I have difficulty flexing a standard 85 flex senior stick cut down for 5’6" me. If this is because I don’t have the strength, or don’t have the leverage, the result is the same, yes? I still need a lighter flexing stick, even though at 170#, 85 flex, by guidelines, is about right for me. Thanks.

Hasse
Hasse

January 19, 2018

So you say it does not change the flex when you cut off a stick.
incredibly big company, as Bauer has not discovered it. And everyone else for that matter ;)
But then I’d like to see you bend a stick that’s cut Down 10 inches without letting more weight in compared to a uncut stick.

wasie
wasie

October 15, 2017

If i cut down a extended stick (64 inches) with a 95 flex. To 60 inches will it still feel like 95 flex or somewhere near 107 flex

Thanks

Max
Max

March 27, 2017

yes that seems about right

Petaura
Petaura

December 13, 2015

My grandson plys hockey.Ln. he is 11 yearsold. Close to 5ft. In height. I need a good hocky tick. He told me a left t stick and 40 flex. Is that s good stick. Much appreciate you comment.
Thank I-you

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