Your Most Important Piece Of Equipment ...

The goal stick is the goalies’ most versatile, most important piece of equipment. It has a multitude of uses. Goalies often do not get their stick “involved” in enough saves. . . they simply do not use their stick enough.

This is probably true because the lighter sticks break very easily and are very expensive! Or because the goalie has “sloppy arms”

To use the stick properly, it must fit the goalie not only “standing” but more importantly, must fit the goalie while “saving”.

On a half-butterfly, the paddle is commonly used on the ice in front of the goalie, but can also be used to stop shots in the air to the stick side that are out of the reach of the goal pad.

The lie of the stick is important but not as important as it once was. The lie is the angle created by where the paddle and blade of the stick meet. Lies range from 11 to 15, but most are 14 and 15. I personally believe that goalies today are using lies that are to high.

Remember Gerry Cheevers? He used a lie 11 (so did I) and big Ken Dryden used a lie 13. Stick manufactures have limited production to a few 13’s and mostly 14’s and 15’s.

Some goalies do not even know what lie they are using because the majority of sticks available to purchase have an NHL’ers name stamped on them. Most sticks today are made with a very rounded heel, which truly neutralizes the lie, but helps with moving the puck.

The second key dimension, and probably the most important is the length of the paddle (the part above the blade).

The maximum length permitted is 26 inches, and again, many use paddles that are way too tall. Parents, do not buy the young goalie an adult stick and merely cut down the shaft.

Youth goalies should use youth goal sticks. Back to big Ken Dryden, he only used a 24 inch paddle! Lower lies and smaller paddles force the goalie to stay “down” on the puck and that provides their legs with greater “spring” to move, make transition, and make saves. Smaller paddles shrink the 6-hole.

The third area of concern is the length of the stick’s top shaft.
The maximum total stick length is 65 inches, and that’s probably too long for most. Do not cut down the shaft more than a couple of inches if needed.
Besides, by changing the “balance” of the stick, it will inhibit your ability to poke check, clear the puck, etc.

The goal stick ’s primary function is to stop pucks. The blade of the stick will make the most saves, but too often the goalie does not get the stick involved enough.

On a 1/2 butterfly, the goalie stick should be directing rebounds toward the corner. The paddle is commonly used on the ice in front of the goalie, but can also be used to stop shots in the air to the stick side that are out of the reach of the goal pad.

Most importantly, keep the stick blade on the ice. Too many pucks go through the goalies’ legs on the ice and into the net because they have a “sloppy stick” which often includes a bad “shoulder roll”.

And what about the other functions of a goal stick?

They include clearing or passing pucks (using both the forehand and backhand), breaking up centering passes (from both sides), poke checking (either standing or diving), and stopping pucks that are “dumped in” around the boards or cross corner. Practice these skills also.

The next big question is the curve of the stick. Curved sticks are certainly “in style” and manufacturers know what sells! But, in reality, unless you are exceptional with your
stick, a large curve can only hurt your ability to poke check and handle the puck on the backhand.

To excel, the goalie not only has to make saves with the goal stick, but also must be able to use the stick in many other ways. In order to have success, the stick must “fit” the goalie.


• Shaft
• Paddle
• Shoulders of the Stick
• Rounded Heel
• Lie is formed
• Toe of the Stick




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