I’ve been asked this question a lot,
“What is the difference between a $60 Sticks and a $260 Stick?
What an excellent question!
In the past most sticks were made of wood and were never more than forty or fifty bucks. For you older players who are still using wood or looking to switch to a composite may find it silly to spend even $60 on a composite. Most of us cant afford a rack of sticks that is worth more than a small car. So why use an expensive composite stick if it isn’t worth it? and what makes then worth so much?
Basically what makes them so expensive is the materials they are made out of. Modern composites are made from combinations of graphite, carbon fiber, fiberglass and/or Kevlar. The combination or omissions of materials is what effects the price. Composite sticks are designed to give you consistent shots with maximum power and accuracy.
The top of the line models (like $250 and up) are made from highest grade materials, like carbon fiber and Kevlar, for maximum performance. Manufacturers spend most of their efforts designing and testing these high end sticks. They want the best performance, lightest weight, strongest durability, and maximum shot power and speed. Sometimes they even add special features like, modified shaft dimensions, amplified kick-points and enhanced blade technologies to put their stick above the other brands. They use different combinations of materials, and different carbon weaving techniques to make some spots stiffer and some spots softer. They try to create the “perfect” stick.
These high end sticks will perform exactly as specified. For example if the stick is listed as 85 flex, it will be exactly 85 flex, where as a lower end model will be close but not exact. Unfortunately all of this does come at a cost. These sticks are a premium price and generally stay that way unless they go unsold or until newer models come out, years down the road. These fall under whats know as MAP pricing where the manufacturer sets the price of the sticks rather than the store. That way they don’t lose money when newer sticks come out.
All sticks unfortunately come with their disadvantages. They are very very light (some are less than 420 grams) so it may take some getting used to if you have never used one before. Some of you may not feel comfortable with the weight. These sticks are built for performance and sometimes durability is sacrificed. To get maximum flex out of a stick, or lightest weight, there can be a risk of breakages through too much flexing of the shaft or thin walls. However they are made from high grade materials so I’m not saying they break easily. You may have a stick for a season or more with out a breakage and some players sticks may only last a few games. Just look at the NHL, some guys are constantly breaking sticks and some seem to never.
So why would you ever need such an expensive stick? in all honestly, the average beer leaguer wont need a stick like that…but they are fun. If you can justify paying the high price for one or get one on clearance I recommend trying one.
The lower end sticks (like the $60 range) are generally made from graphite or fiberglass with small amounts of carbon fiber for performance. They are build for strength and durability. They are designed to give you some of the features of the high end sticks on a budget. Some manufacturers put high end features in all models in a line of sticks. For example, the CCM RBZ line offers their “Speed Pocket” technology through every model of stick. The $60 sticks are designed for the casual player who needs a stick that wont break the bank. They are still good sticks and can last a long time if treated right. They will be noticeably heavier than the most expensive models.
What about in between the $60 stick and $260? I think the best sticks for the money are between $100 and $190. You generally get a lot great performance with the added bonus of durability. Its hard to quantify the differences because every brand offers different features at this price point. Some manufacturers may only offer 3 price points ($60, $180, $260) where some may have more 5 like ($60, $120, $160 $200, $260) so you will get a much better bang for your buck with the latter. Then you also have manufacturers (Like Sherwood for example) Who’s highest end stick falls at $200 so you have to do a little research to see what you’re getting exactly. Generally you get what you pay for but just pay attention to the features of the stick above and bellow the one you’re looking at. For this reason I think that $100 to $190 will at least get you a decent stick for your money.
Has the wood stick disappeared?
I’m sure you noticed many of your teammates or opponents have phased out their wood stick for a shiny new composites. But wood sticks are still around and are not going anywhere. Although they may not be the mainstream anymore, they are a great, cheap, alternative to composites. You can learn more about wood sticks here