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Friday, June 4, 2010

One-Piece vs Two-Piece Hockey Sticks

Many people ask the question, "Are one piece sticks better than two piece sticks?" The short answer is that from a technological standpoint, yes, OPS's are "better" than two piece hockey sticks. These days, everyone is looking to get their hands on the lightest gear available, and hockey sticks are leading the way in the race toward weightless equipment. A lighter stick means less energy and strength required for the player to shoot, pass and handle the puck. This translates to harder shots, quicker hands and greater energy conservation throughout the game.

In addition to the decreased weight of an OPS, the design also provides a more consistent feel throughout the shaft and blade because the vibrations are not interrupted by the material barrier present with the conjoining of a shaft and blade. Traditional one piece wood sticks still provide, arguably, the best overall feel because of the excellent vibration properties of wood. But, composite OPS's are a close second to wood sticks.

Another benefit of the one piece design is the increased shot power and quicker release generated by the low kick point at the blade/shaft hosel part of the stick, which is not as effectively accomplished with the two piece design because of the overlap of blade and shaft materials. Manufacturers are able to increase flexibility near the crook of the shaft while increasing stiffness in the blade and upper portion of the shaft, which enables the shooter to flex the shaft right above the blade. A low kick-point is particularly effective for generating quick, powerful, accurate snapshots.

The benefit of using a two piece shaft and blade combo is that you are able to replace the blade when it breaks and continue using the shaft which remains intact. Also, you are able to mix and match shafts and blades to create combinations that are unique and otherwise unavailable in OPS form as offered by the manufacturers. This is especially beneficial to players who prefer the feel of wood blades but would also like to benefit from the rigidity, consistency and lightweight materials of composite shafts.

Most NHL players now use one piece composite hockey sticks but there are still many who prefer to use two piece hockey sticks. All things considered, it boils down to a matter of personal preference.

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