What to Look for in an Intermediate Hockey Stick
For intermediate players, you want a stick that gives you more control and shooting power than a beginner’s stick, but doesn’t have the stiff construction and performance features of a high-end pro stick. The sweet spot is often found in intermediate or “tween” sticks that blend features to aid progression.
Pay attention to whether the flex is listed as “intermediate” or “senior”. Intermediate sticks, usually with a flex between 40-65, are specifically designed for younger, developing players. Senior sticks have a higher flex range of 55-100+ and are geared towards stronger adults. While overlap exists, you’ll typically want a senior flex rating as an intermediate level player.
Stick Handling and Feel
Additionally, consider the texture of the stick’s grip. A tacky grip with maximum tactility makes stickhandling easier for intermediate players compared to a smooth glossy finish. Extra grip on the end knob also aids handling.
Balanced Weight Distribution
The “swing weight”, or how heavy the stick feels during shots, matters more than pure gram weight. Swing weight depends on weight distribution, flex and balance points. Too light of a swing weight hampers power, while too heavy slows down your shot. Look for an intermediate stick in the 40-50 swing weight range for optimal performance.
You can up your scoring with blade features like a double hollow chamber in the interior foam core, which loads up energy for extra pop on shots. Dual-density blades that combine stiff and flexible zones also boost power and accuracy.
Finding the Right Price Point
While pricier composite sticks offer the best blend of strength, weight and pop, you can also find intermediate wood or plastic blades with fiberglass shafts in the $30-$50 range if needed. Performance won’t match composites but these budget options help develop skills affordably.
Putting it All Together
Stringking Composite Pro: A Top Pick for Intermediates
Founded by hockey lovers in 2013, Stringking quickly earned respect by packing pro features into composite sticks costing hundreds less than the giants. Their Composite Pro model designed for intermediate players continues that trend, retailing around $130 with frequent sales dropping it under $100. Affordability combines with purposeful designs that complement progression across areas like shooting, handling and balance.
Unloads Energy for Quick Shots
Weaving carbon fiber into the multi-layer resin system boosts rigidity to prevent energy loss. Strategically placing strips of extra rigid fibers along the edges augments pop as well. The lively pop even while stationary makes the Composite Pro’s shot ideal for intermediate players of all sizes and strengths.
Controls Pucks with Precision
Weighing only 400 grams, the balanced swing weight never tires out developing muscles during lengthy ice times. The lightweight feel keeps your hands free to unleash creativity, yet retains enough mass to rip heavy clappers from the point.
Blade Tech Geared for Scoring
The PolyCore blade foam also cushions impact vibrations to maintain control after forceful contact. Mishandled shots stay closer to the intended target so intermediate players learn proper follow-through and accuracy.
Grows With Your Progression
As abilities reach new levels, all the Composite Pro’s technologies offer headroom for performance to follow. You won’t outgrow its versatile design quickly as skills and hockey sense sharpen.
All-Around Value for Advancing Players
Composite Construction for Excellent Performance
Composite sticks first hit the scene in the 1990s and soon revolutionized the game. Veterans of heavy wooden sticks immediately felt the difference of featherlight composites with insane pop. Manufacturers keep innovating with aerospace-grade composites to squeeze out every advantage.
Featherlight Carbon Fiber
Carbon’s industry-leading strength-to-weight ratio sheds tons of mass off traditional wooden builds. Intermediate players immediately feel their hands, wrists and arms freed up to unleash the full kinetics chain rather than just muscling shots with pure arm strength.
Hybrid Fiber Blends
Epoxy resins bond the fiber layers while adding protection against moisture and gas diffusion effects that degrade fibers over time. Resin systems also bolster shear strength and fracture toughness.
Microcellular foams with tiny closed air pockets approach the stiffness of aluminium at a fraction of the weight. Manufacturers mold foam cores in 3D shapes with varying densities to build in customized flex points and balance.
Optimized Performance Geometry
Advanced construction processes even enable adjusting performance simply by rotating the blade. Indexing the blade face angle relative to the shaft alters lie and stiffness noticeably. Intermediates can find their ideal setup through this tuning.
Balanced Lightweight Designs
Lightweight yet deliberately weighted designs allow intermediates to rip heavy clappers or delicately saucer passes using proper form.
Meeting Intermediate Needs
Intermediate Flex Ratings Explained
Flex ratings typically range from about 30 for youth sticks up to 120 for pro sticks. Intermediate sticks occupy the middle ground with flexes between 40-75. You want enough stiffness for power and stability, but not so stiff that you lose puck feel and quickness.
What the Numbers Mean
Note some brands use stiffness ratings instead of flex numbers. For example, 50S is equivalent to a 75 flex. So pay attention to the rating units when comparing stick flex numbers.
Intermediate vs Senior Flex
Some sticks offer a single intermediate flex designed to transition youth players into senior models. For example, the Bauer Nexus ADV has a constant 55 flex rating from youth up to senior sizing.
Matching Flex to Your Size and Strength
Test swing different flex sticks to evaluate comfort and stability when shooting. The right flex will whip with control yet still finish whipping after the puck is released for optimal energy transfer.
Consider Your Position and Shot Style
Also factor in blade patterns when choosing flex. Open face blade patterns generate more torque, requiring a stiffer flex for control. Closed faces need less flex.
Test Different Flex Sticks
Also try taping lower on the shaft to effectively increase flex stiffness. Adding 5-10 inches of tape boosts flex up to 10 points, allowing further fine tuning.
Consider “True” Flex Factors
Also keep in mind that as composite sticks age and wear, they lose stiffness by 5-15 flex points. A worn 60 flex may feel more like a 50. Retiring sticks before they get too soft prevents negative performance impacts.
Get the Right Tool for Your Progression
65 Flex: Ideal for Intermediate Stick Handling
Stick handling requires dexterity and feel. Shooting demands loaded power. Passing needs crisp execution. A 65 flex manages all these intermediate skills nicely. It stiffens up rickety low flexes while retaining quick release and puck control that high flexes surrender.
Loads Up Power in a Lighter Frame
The firm 65 flex prevents energy leakage for solid impact transference even when off-balance or on one knee. Shots stay on target better thanks to the stiffness backing up developing form.
Quick Release for Fast, Deceptive Shooting
The moderate 65 rating provides a hint of “whip” for deception but avoids the floppiness that reduces accuracy on hard shots. Quick shots stay on net better thanks to the blend of flex and stability.
Control and Feel For Stick Handling
Heavier flexes tend to mute the featherlight handling required for high-skill dekes and direction changes. The 65 rating keeps the blade agile for creatives while allowing enough stiffness for power moves.
Accuracy on Wrists Shots and Slapshots
Intermediates can rip shots from trickier positions like off the toe knowing the 65 flex will resist twisting. Good technique still matters, but the 65 flex gives a bit more forgiveness until skills smooth out.
Right Balance of Touch and Tension
Focus stays on progressing skills rather than fighting unruly flex or compensating for power shortage. The harmony between response and stability helps take playing ability up a notch.
Matches Intermediate Strength and Skill Level
As maturity and ability arrive, intermediates find the 65 flex sticks with them every step rather than holding them back. The blend rides the intermediate wave nicely.
Ideal Gateway to Stiffer Senior Flexes
Perfect Stick Weight for Intermediate Shots
Overall stick weights have dropped dramatically thanks to composite materials. But rather than simply minimizing mass, engineered weighting in strategic areas improves shot dynamics for intermediates. Additional mass aids control, power transfer and stick balance when applied judiciously.
Total Stick Weight Range
For smaller and younger intermediates, aim for 375-400 gram sticks to match their frames. Bigger teen intermediates handle 420-450 gram sticks well to boost their power.
Strategic Weight Distribution
Heavier blades improve puck feel on passes and provide a more solid platform for shooting power. Expect sticks with fiber or foam blade inserts to weight 5-15 grams more than bare foam cores.
Balanced Swing Weight
Test swing sticks and make note of how the weight feels distributed. Even balance across the shaft indicates a swing weight suited for intermediate shots.
Avoid Clumsy Bottom-Heavy Sticks
Ensure the stick feels smooth swinging in your top hand as well as the lower hand. Avoid bottom-loaded sticks until ready for very stiff senior sticks.
Added Blade Weight for Solid Impact
Heavier blades won’t immediately boost shooting power but will pay dividends as technique develops with an emphasized follow-through.
Durability Boost From Weight
Intermediates benefit from sticks engineered to handle wear and tear instead of going as light as possible. Weight-saving materials like aerospace foams maintain strength.
Power Comes Later
Strategic weighting delivers tangible gains today for intermediates while keeping performance scaling upward as physiques and skills grow.
Composite Pro’s Durable and Consistent Kick Point
Stringking designers carefully construct the Composite Pro’s kick point for sustained responsiveness. Strategic carbon layering prevents dead spots over time so the kick point stays lively. The kick point also withstands repeated forces without losing its snap.
Mid Kick Flexes Under Hand Position
The centered mid kick makes the energy load up intuitively as you start the shooting motion. Intermediates don’t have to time an awkward kick timing to get maximum power.
Loading Power From Any Stance
A mid kick pairs well with developing transitional styles as intermediates expand their shot repertoire beyond just big windup clappers.
Tuned Energy Transfer
Less energy dissipates into shaft vibration after shots thanks to the efficient power transfer. Pucks shoot off the Composite Pro with more speed and accuracy due to the refined flex tuning.
Extends Kick Point Longevity
The enhanced kick point hold up better against inadvertent damage from slashes, poke checks and blows. It keeps firing even when scruffed up by the wear and tear of game action.
Balances Power and Control
Mid kick flexibility blends well with the strength and skill level intermediates gain through coaching and practice. It complements progression rather than holding it back.
Picks stay glued to open blades rather than fluttering off target thanks to the refined kick point behavior.
Excellent at Absorbing Vibrations and Impacts
Composite sticks utilize advanced materials to dissipate shocks rather than rattling hands. Intermediates maintain control of the puck after hits or mishits with excellent vibration dampening performance.
Foam Cores Diffuse Vibrations
Variable density foams place more dampening mass where it’s needed most. More compact foam at the kick point retains precision while low-density foam near the hands absorbs shocks.
Lightweight Absorbers Outperform Wood
NASA-developed microbead inserts placed inside the foam core absorb enormous shock forces despite weighing just grams. Composites dissipate 2-3X more shock than wood.
Varying handle materials also reduces unwanted feedback. Rubberized grips on composite sticks lessen sting reaching players’ hands compared to composite shafts alone.
Reduces Equipment Damage
Enhanced durability means intermediates get maximal usable life out of composite sticks. Performance stays consistent right up until outgrown.
Maintains Shot Control
Vibration taming enables intermediates to complete plays with poise. Pass reception and shot follow-through get smoothed out for continuity.
Confidence in the Clutch
Minimizes Sting While Maximizing Power
Balancing power and protection requires selectively stiff and dampened zones. Composite sticks include specially formulated materials and foam inserts to filter out damaging frequencies.
Foam Cores Diffuse High Frequencies
Advanced additive formulations create tunable foams that isolate unpleasant vibrations but maintain rigidity for efficiency power transfer into pucks.
Strategic Carbon Fiber Layup
Carbon delivers the pop by maximizing stiffness along the shot load-up zone while other materials smooth out the ride.
Just microns thick, these high-tech coatings allow maximizing power from the composite structure beneath without sacrificing comfort.
Lightweight Internal Reinforcers
Reinforcing silica nanoparticles integrated into resin frameworks have a similar effect, creating rigid stability while dissipating detrimental vibrations.
Managing Flex For Power and Protection
Intermediates get the best of both worlds from engineered flex profiles – effortless power loading for shots and filtered feedback for comfort.
Intermediates develop trust and confidence in sticks providing comfort and power uniformly game to game, month to month.
Optimized Shaft Dimensions For Easy Control
With precision engineering, composite sticks get tailored for intermediate hand size and strength. The shaft shape enhances maneuverability, precision passing and confident carries up ice.
Anatomically Contoured Shafts
Mimicking natural grip curvature reduces hand strain and fatigue by letting players relax their hold and utilize core muscles better.
Flared Shaft Ends
Flared ends also enhance stick balance, preventing uneven weight distribution from compromising handling precision.
Shaft textures make it easier for intermediates to develop soft hands through drills relying on delicate touches and quick releases.
Weighing around 400g, optimized intermediate sticks enhance control and precision without loading down younger players.
Mid Kick Point
Smooth hands emerge from the harmonious flex point positioning that complements transitional intermediate playing styles.
Passes snap tape-to-tape with little effort thanks to physics-defying composite shaft craftsmanship.
Intuitive For All Positions
Handles Crisp Passing and Smooth Puck Movement
Stick technology has progressed well beyond heavy wooden builds of the past. Today’s composites offer intermediates buttery smooth handling right out of the wrapper.
Low Kick Point for Quick Hands
Intermediates also gain wrist shot velocity from the lightning-fast loading time of a low kick point.
Rubbery grip coatings also reduce vibrations to prevent bobbling difficult receptions mid-deke.
Strategic Foam Density
Firms blade inserts also ensure solid contact for smooth receptions when forechecking or controlling rebounds.
Forgiving Flex Profile
Maneuverability reaches new heights with the forgiving flex encouraging skill exploration rather than rigidly dictating handling.
Mid-Curve Blade Shape
The rounded toe also smoothly receives hard passes and retains possession after dekes into traffic.
New dekes come naturally as the light stick promotes fast, creative hands rather than slow muddy handling.
Balanced Swing Weight
Passes stay glued to the blade regardless of speed or reception angle thanks to physics-defying balance.
Engineered for Finesse
Reliable Blade with Max Power and Accuracy
Blade technology has progressed far beyond basic wooden builds. Intermediates gain instant shooting enhancements from re-designed blades integrating advanced foams, reinforced cores and stiffness-tuned laminates.
Dual-Density Foam Cores
NASA-developed microbeads added to the core provide high-impact absorption to further refine control.
Durable Reinforced Tip
The reinforced tip also retains puck feel and handling responsiveness by isolating flex to the lower half blade.
Damping Layers and Coatings
Intermediates experience lively blades that load up power before releasing it solely into shots without residual shake or twang.
Curvature Adds Control
The curve depth also adds accuracy by correcting off-center impacts back towards the net.
Light Foam Cores
New moves come easier to intermediates thanks to the featherlight foam cores optimizing maneuverability.
Smooths Out Mishits
Intermediates gain shooting confidence knowing minor mishits will still generally find the net thanks to engineered blades.
Textured Grip Prevents Slipping and Blisters
Textured grips merge ergonomic shaping, rubberized coatings and intricate patterns for an enhanced holding experience. Intermediates stickhandle and shoot with added confidence thanks to optimized grip architectures.
Ergonomic shaping allows casually holding the stick while still maintaining full control. Developing hands stay comfortable.
Smaller grip ridges near the end knob prevent blister-causing slippage during intricate dekes and cradling.
Cushioned Rubber Overmold
Rubber coating also increases weather resistance, maintaining grippy hold in cold rain or when hands perspire.
Superior Tactile Sensation
Razor-sharp handles emerge thanks to the tactile feedback Looping puck trajectories seem to defy physics.
Wet, sweaty hands won’t compromise stick control thanks to all-weather grip construction. Performance stays dialed in.
Lightweight Without Sacrificing Control
Composite shafts weighing around 400g maximize maneuverability and speed when paired with grip textures.
High-End Features Without the High Price
Major stick manufacturers now offer intermediate-focused composite sticks packing professional pop and precision into affordable packages usually $150 or less. Let’s examine useful features intermediates can access on a budget.
Multi-Layer Fiber Construction
Fiber mixing optimizes durability so intermediate sticks last longer before wear necessitates replacement.
Foam Core Dampening
Micro-bead additives enable exceptional impact absorption at the microscopic scale to further refine precision and touch.
Tuned Kick Points
A well-tuned kick energizes wrists and snapshots efficiently from any stance or angle of approach.
Strong Yet Lightweight
Intermediates shouldn’t have to choose between lightweight performance and long-term resilience. Advanced materials offer both.
Total control emerges from engineered grip architectures once exclusive to elite sticks.
Armor-like finishes withstand fierce intermediate play.
A zero gravity feel emerges from obsessively balanced dimensions calculated to boost progression.
High-End Made Affordable
When it comes to finding the perfect hockey stick as an intermediate player, there are a lot of factors to consider. Your position on the ice, flex preference, blade pattern, price point and more all play a role in determining which composite stick is right for you. With so many options on the market from top brands like Bauer, CCM, Warrior and True, it can get overwhelming trying to decide. That’s why we’ve created this comprehensive guide to help you navigate the process and choose the best composite stick for your intermediate hockey needs.
Suitable for All Positions: Offense, Defense, and Goalie
One of the great things about composite sticks nowadays is that brands offer models tailored specifically for forwards, defensemen and goaltenders. For example, sticks made for snipers tend to have lower kick points for quick shots, whereas defensemen sticks prioritize control and stopping power. Of course, you can use any stick for any position, but having options designed for your role can help maximize your performance.
For offensive players looking for a quick release, popular intermediate models include the Bauer Supreme S27, CCM JetSpeed FT3, Warrior Covert QR3 and True XC9 ACF. These feature low kick points and lightweight constructions to help you get pucks off your blade in the blink of an eye. For defensemen who want more control, the Bauer Nexus Geo, CCM Tacks 9092, Warrior Alpha DX Pro and True AX9 are great choices with mid to high kick points and sturdy blades for stopping power.
In terms of goalie sticks, brands like Bauer, CCM and Warrior all make composite goalie-specific sticks for intermediate players. These have oversized paddle-style blades, excellent balance and durability. Top options include the Bauer Vapor 2X Pro, CCM Premier R1, and Warrior Ritual GT2.
One of the most important factors in choosing an intermediate hockey stick is the flex rating. For adult males, intermediate flexes typically range from 55-75. Lower flexes like 55F are good for smaller, lighter players who want more whip on their shots. Bigger, stronger players do well with 65-75F for more power and stability. Within your size range, it comes down to personal preference and playing style.
It’s a good idea to try sticks with different flexes to see what feels best for you. If you’re on the cusp of intermediate and senior, you could go either way. Just keep in mind that senior sticks with flexes like 85F and up require more strength to load and shoot effectively. The benefit is they offer more control for physical defensive play.
Choose the Right Blade Pattern
Blade pattern, also known as curve, affects how the puck comes off your stick. Open curves help lift the puck, while closed patterns keep shots low and accurate. Common open curves like the P88, P92 and P28 are great for stickhandling, shooting high and playing with finesse. More closed curves like the P29, P36 and P90 excel at keeping shots and passes on target.
For intermediate players still developing their game, an open P92 is a versatile choice suitable for all positions. The P88 is another safe bet for an open curve that makes elevating the puck easy on shots and dekes but still provides accuracy. Closed blades like the P29 and P90 work well for defensemen and forwards looking for pinpoint shots and passes.
Composite sticks have a wide range of price points catering to different budgets. Top-end pros sticks go for $300+, while entry-level composites start around $60. For intermediate players, a comfortable range is typically $100-$200 for a quality stick with good performance and durability.
The $100-150 mark gets you pro-level sticks from last generation, which perform very similarly to the newest models just released. In the $150-200 zone, you’ll find the latest top sticks with premium technologies and materials. While not mandatory, the higher end sticks in this range do offer noticeable improvements in feel, weight, pop and accuracy.
No matter your budget, focus on finding a responsive stick that improves your skills as an intermediate player. Even less expensive models today have come a long way in mimicking the performance of high-end composites.
Top Sticks for Intermediate Hockey Players
Now that we’ve covered the key factors to consider, here are some of the top composite sticks on the market right now for intermediate players:
Bauer Supreme S27
– Lightweight, low kick point for quick release
– MonoComp construction for balanced feel
– eLASTech technology for impact absorption
– Textreme carbon fiber build is reactive and durable
CCM JetSpeed FT3
– JetSpeed taper technology loads energy and releases shots
– Fused dart core improves balance and pop
– Tactical texture grip for comfort and control
– Strong and lively performance at a reasonable price point
Warrior Covert QR3
– Minimus Carbon 1000 construction is extremely lightweight
– Saber taper maximizes energy transfer for power
– Smooth puck feel and quick release
– Multi-density blade is solid and durable
– True’s Advanced Carbon Layering adds responsiveness
– Wide rounded corners for excellent puck control
– X-Core blade technology provides accuracy and balance
– Ideal for intermediate players looking for high performance
– Ultra responsive co-polymer composite construction
– Low cost for premium performance and durability
– Available in multiple flexes including intermediate range
– 100% similarity across entire product line
In summary, choosing the right composite stick is crucial for intermediate players looking to take their skills to the next level. Prioritize flex, blade pattern, and your position on the ice when deciding. Demo a few sticks if possible in your ideal flex and curve to find the best feel. While high-end sticks offer premium performance and tech, even mid-range models today provide excellent quality for intermediate needs. Brands like Bauer, CCM, Warrior and True all make great composite sticks catered specifically to help improve intermediate players’ games. With this guide’s insights, tips and top stick recommendations, you’ll be able to shop with confidence and find your perfect match!