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Skate FAQs: Rollerhockey



Original preface to the Hockey FAQ, by Thomas Darling:

This file reflects the observations of our small group's trial-and-error approach to organizing and playing hockey on inline skates, as well as advice from other rec.skate and readers. We've done a lot of experimenting with gear, play, etc. and it is hoped that our experiences will be helpful to others getting involved in this fun and fast-paced sport.

Thomas no longer had time to maintain this portion fo the FAQ, so I've incorporated some (long-overdue) additions from my own experience with my local hockey club and from others who have sent e-mail to me.

Feel free to send in any comments, ideas, or suggestions.

Related sites of interest:




(See also, Nancy's article below, titled "Selection of Hockey Sticks")

Many of our players use standard street hockey sticks, with wooden shafts and plastic blades. These seem to survive the surface with minimal wear. However, those more experienced players (former ice hockey players all) prefer wooden ice hockey sticks, with taped blades, for superior puck control. These obviously wear down a lot faster than on ice, being scraped across concrete and leant on for power turns. Once the blade is taped, a razor is used to trim off the bottom 1cm or so to prevent fraying.

Perhaps the benefits of wooden ice hockey sticks are predominantly psychological, based on the familiarity factor. But to those of us who use them, they "feel" better and therefore give us better results.

If you decide to use a plastic-bladed street hockey stick, you should make sure to get one long enough for you to use when on your skates; most street hockey sticks are designed to be used on foot. There are many schools of thought on determining stick length, which like anything else, eventually comes down to matters of personal preference and style of play. But as a rule of thumb for beginners, try to get a stick that comes up to somewhere between your chin and nose. You can always cut it later if you wish.

Todd ( offers these additional suggestions:

"I work closely with some friends [who] own a Hockey store out here in the San Jose/San Francisco area; we have used several different types of sticks on the street surfaces. One of the best sticks to use on any street surface is the KOHO 2200 Ultimate, with a poly-tech blade on the end of a wooden hockey stick. It does not wear thin as quick as a mylec stick... Easton makes an aluminum street hockey is a good stick, but not better than regular hockey aluminum versions... The last stick to try is the Bauer Street Hockey stick: all wood with a poly-tech blade on the end, just for street hockey use."

"Mylec blades, you can go through 1-2 a month if playing 3-4 times a week. I've gone that route too."

From Michael Quinn (

"For a stick, I used an old ice hockey stick with a plastic replacement blade. Incidentally, I was up in Boston last week and saw a neat looking rubber brake that screws onto the shaft of a hockey stick near the blade. I didn't get a chance to try one out though. They sell them at Sports Etc. on Massachusetts Avenue in Arlington."

Comments from anyone who has tried this stick-mounted brake would be appreciated.


Sun Hockey makes a nifty three-wheeled puck called the "Hot Puck." The puck is hard rubber, and the "wheels" are three teflon balls that protrude through the top and bottom.

Advantages: It appears to be regulation size and weight, and it feels great against the stick. It's an extremely cool design.

Disadvantage: It doesn't work. Even on the most ideal surface (we tried it on a tennis court-type deck), it bounces, flips, and ends up rolling on its edge more than on the "wheels." I really wish they'd come up with a better functioning design, because the feel and idea are sound.

Since the Sun puck doesn't happen, we use Mylec street hockey balls. They come in three different colours, coded for different temperatures. The orange one works best so far; minimal bounce, but a bit light. Be aware that the temperature type of the puck is important; we've heard of a warm-weather ball that shattered when used in cold weather.

Also be aware that there are cheaper balls out there, and some of them suuuuuuck. We've even encountered one that was unevenly weighted and textured. Not good. Since the Mylec balls are only a couple of dollars, there's no reason not to get the real thing.

Nobody's completely happy with this compromise, but it's the best option we've seen so far for outside play.

As for inside play, Marc ( adds:

"When we play outside, we usually use an orange Mylec, but it bounces too much for inside play so there we use a Viceroy, which also weighs about twice as much. They are made in Canada, and I don't know where you might get them other than a good well stocked hockey shop. We all tend to use the Viceroy in tournaments."

From: David Aronson (pak!LARGO!dfa@uunet.UU.NET)

Pucks: In the roller hockey league that I am in. We use a plastic Cosmo puck that is filled with a substance that is similar to little while beads with a kind of thick petroleum jelly. They work great indoors and outside. I have used them on wood, tennis courts, and somewhat smooth blacktop with good results. The advantage is the weight of the puck keeps it from getting up on edge.

From: Tony Chen (

Our club uses the Jofa speed pucks exclusively. We play on an indoor roller- rink, so the surface is very smooth, and design of the Jofa pucks makes it a very nice puck. Stay AWAY from the pucks with plastic "bearings" inside them. They don't work outside, they don't work inside. The Jofa pucks are spoked with the weight on the edge and have 7 or 8 screw-in pegs on each face which lets it glide fairly fast.

From: (Jeremiah "Phlegm" Rickert) Message-Id:

Pucks: For indoor play, by far the best puck is the Jofa puck made for Roller Hockey International. It has "bumps" that are screwed into the edge of the disc that can be changed depending what surface you are on. It flies like an Ice-hockey puck, it slides like an ice-hockey puck, if feels like an ice-hockey puck. It resembles a wheel, it has "Spokes" in the middle that are made of light aluminum, and the disk is made our of hard rubber that doesn't bounce. It is ideal for roller hockey. It costs about $12 but it is worth it in every way.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, that the because the majority of the weight of the Jofa puck is on the edge, it rarely rolls ever...even on asphalt, if you insert the pegs for asphalt, it slides just fine.

I am on a college roller-hockey team, I have played for about 5 years, so I speak from experience.

Goalie Equipment: If you are using a puck, using baseball catchers mitts work well only if you remove some of the padding. If you are using a ball, you almost have to use a real hockey-catch glove, or a baseball fielder's glove, the ball pops out of the catcher's mitt because it doesn't have enough weight to carry it into the pocket.

Along the lines of pads. I prefer ice hockey pads. I am a goalie, I have tried everything. Ice hockey pads, are ideal for using any kind of puck. They are all right for using a ball, but you can't feel the ball all of the time, so sometimes you don't know if you made the save or not. If you only use a ball, the mylec or the cooper streets pads are fine, they are plastic and make a huge hollow thwuuuping sound when the ball hits them. Playing in skates is fine too. Leg Kicks are quicker, you can move from side to side quicker, you can move forwards and backwards, without taking a stride, it's then easier to cut down angles and move because you don't have to move your legs much.


Checking is a bit less frequent in the inline game, which is good, because the summer heat makes heavy padding out of the question. Hardshell knee pads are a necessity, because everyone occasionally collides with the boards or the ground. Elbow pads are also highly recommended.

Those nifty wristguards are probably a good idea for skating and training, but for all practical purposes it is impossible to hold a hockey stick with them. This is OK, because you can use the stick to break your fall in many circumstances, and you can't build up huge speeds in a small rink anyway.

Opinions vary on hand protection. Some players prefer ice hockey gloves. They provide superb protection against sticks, decent padding for when you get crunched, and enough finger coverage to make hand passes safe. On the other hand, they tend to be very hot. Many of us opt instead for weightlifting gloves, the fingerless mesh kind with leather palms. These allow your hands to stay cool, yet prevent the loss of skin when you're knocked sprawling. They allow good stick control. Just don't go grabbing the puck with 'em, lest your fingers be rolled over/chopped off.

(Note: Weightlifting gloves are difficult to dramatically throw down. So if you get into a violent confrontation, you may incur a few bruises while trying frantically to peel them off. If you play this way, be careful.)

Another option is to use a cheap pair of Nylon hockey gloves. They're still a bit warm, but considerably lighter than leather gloves and you're less apt to be concerned about beating them up.

From: (Marc Foster)

On a related note, I also got a chance that night to try out the new Mylec goalie leg pads. While they provide much better protection to the inside of your thigh (how many of you have donut-shapped bruises there???), I thought they were very bulky and hard to move around in. Dropping to your knees or lieing on your side - then getting back up, seemed very difficult. I think the reason may have to do with the hard corners of the pads, the protect, but prevent mobility.

From: David Aronson <pak!LARGO!dfa@uunet.UU.NET>

Padding: I would highly suggest the following padding for any game, HELMET, cup, shin pads, gloves, and elbow pads. The most inportant is the helmet which should be a real hockey helmet. Make sure that the helmet has been approved for hockey,( some Jofa's have a sticker disclaiming them from any contact sport). I would suggest CCM or Cooper. Both are about $50 new, less used. A cup is very cheap, but very nice to have in games. A pair of shin pads will cost from $20 to $$$. Franklin makes a pair of pads that are a hard shell knee pad with a foam rubber shin extension for about $20(don't quote me on the price). Easton makes a pair of hard shells pads with seperate hard shells over foam on the knees and shins for about $35(The also have built-in straps). All over shin pads cost require seperate velcro straps securing them to your legs. If you are going to be skating outside make sure not to use leather pads. A pair of hockey gloves cost from $25 to $200. They protect your hands and wrists from sticks and the ground, I suggest a pair of cheap hockey gloves. As far as elbow pads any will do, I use a cheap pair of foam rubber pads. Wear a HELMET!!! You do not need to crack your head on the ground. For checking games you rry, we'll get to this section in the future)


From: (Frank Pearce)

I bought a pair of gloves by Rollerblade designed for in-line hockey. After I used them about 3 times they pulled open at the seam between the thumb and index finger. The same thing happened to a friend of mine with the same gloves. It seems that gloves designed for in-line hockey just aren't as durable as ice hockey gloves. I even called Rollerblade's 800 number. The guy suggested exchanging them for a different brand of glove. I decided to go with an ice hockey glove.

For elbow pads I suggest any elbow pad with a hard plastic exterior if the surface you play on it very rough. Many ice hockey elbow pads have a leather exterior that makes them more expensive and less durable on rough surfaces.


If you play lacrosse, the equipment works just as well for rollerhockey (except the stick of course 8-). Brine makes good gloves, elbow pads, chest/shoulder pads, etc. Lacrosse in general can be a lot rougher than hockey, so the gear is made to take the punishment. The cost should be comparable, if not cheaper than "real" ice hockey equipment.


A good mask is essential, regardless of puck type. Either a cage-type ice hockey mask or an inexpensive Mylec mask will do. An ice hockey stick is highly recommended, since they tend to be larger than their street hockey counterparts. Any variety of blocker will suffice. If you're playing with a ball of some kind rather than a puck, we've found that using a baseball glove for a catcher will give good results.

In regards to leg pads, the cheapest Mylec ones appear to work the best. Since they're made of hard plastic, a goalie can slide on his knees in them, which improves effectiveness.

Marc (, a Texas hockey veteran, adds:

"When I goalie I usually wear a cage helmet (since I wear glasses), elbow pads, a blocker on the right hand and a catcher's mitt in the left, a catcher's chest protector on my chest and belly (with my Dead Wings jersey over that), a cup and the Mylec leg pads, along with the skates. I usually wear a t-shirt under the chest pad, also. I've suited up like that twice a week all summer down here and have lost about 10 pounds. Most other goalies in the Metroplex use either a large softball mitt or a regular goalie's mitt, but I had the catcher's mitt to begin with and find that I am used to it and can't use a regular glove very well."


Type of Skate

Which brand/model of skate largely depends on playing style and the ever- important ice-hockey familiarity factor. As an ice-hockey player, I use Bauer XS/5's with the brake removed. They're all laces, no buckles, and are nice and light. They've got good bearings (hence decent speed) and strong frames.

The most popular skate among our skaters is the Rollerblade Zetra 303. It's a little heavy and clunky, but has an extremely durable boot, which is good if you like to plant yourself in front of the goalie and get your ankles whacked at a lot.

I also might recommend the Gretzky Ultra Wings. They're all buckles and kind of heavy, but durable enough to stand up to hockey abuse.

The bottom line, really, is that you can make do with what you've got. One of our best players uses el cheapo skates (Phantoms?), yet still manages to come up with the breakaways and finesse plays.

From: Tony Chen (

Speed and finesse seem quite removed from the quality of the skates. We have lots of okay players that have the nifty Bauer ZT skates, but our best player has on the old Lightning 608's, with wheels worn down to the hub.

Essentially, if you do lots of other types of skating, you can always use them for hockey. I use my Aeroblades for hockey, and while they're not taking the pounding quite as well as other skates would, they're holding up okay (so far). Generally, I wouldn't recommend Aeros or any heavily vented skate for hockey. With the number of collisions and rammings and taking slap shots point-blank, you'd be better off with Lightning 608/TRSs or Bauer hockey skates.


None of us rocker our frames. I know that every book in the world says that you should rocker them for hockey, but the difference in turning ability (especially at high speeds) is negligible. All that appeared to be seriously affected were speed, traction and stability, none for the better.


So far, we haven't experimented greatly with different wheels. I've used both hard and soft, and liked the hard ones better, since they last longer and feel better on grinding stops and turns. Rollerblade makes a "Hockey Wheel" with better perimeter width (to reflect the need for stopping/turning over straightaway speed), but since they're hubless and generally cheap-looking, nobody has picked any up yet. Any comments on these wheels would be welcome.

We've heard that "Turbo Core" type wheels (with spokes instead of solid hubs) don't stand up to the stresses of hockey well. Those skaters I know who use such wheels have reported no problems, but the net.consensus on this is that "spoke" breakage does happen, so it bears repeating here.

From: David Aronson (pak!LARGO!dfa@uunet.UU.NET)


I use hyper super-lites which are 72.5mm and 78a, they are fast with good traction. I have used "Hockey-wheels" before and they seemed to slip out from under me, but I have friends who sware by them. Just make sure you have good bearing and axle-systems and the wheels won't make a huge difference. I use axle systems on my skates that are made from aircraft aluminum. You can't over-tighten the axles so all you do is crank them down and you're ready(purchased through in-line sports) $20.

From: Tony Chen ( Opinion seem to vary a lot on which type of wheels to get. Some say the special hockey wheels, with wider cross-sections and lower profiles give lots of added stability. Most of rec.skaters say, heck with that, and use Superlites or Redlines for speed. In the end, you should choose something you're comfortable with. Don't go out and blow $50 on a set of wheels just for hockey, unless you really want to. Our best and fastest skaters use real crap wheels and only so-so skates. A whole lot of it is the technique, legs and feet, believe me 8-)


Stick turns/stops

Many of us ice-hockey players are aggravated by the limited turning and stopping ability of inline skates. A typical drag stop (rear foot 90 degrees against leading foot) works in most circumstances. But another good technique is the stick stop.

In this stop, the skater begins a tight turn towards his stick side. For this example, we'll use a right-handed skater. Right foot forward, he makes a tight turn, putting his stick blade down (to the right) in the process. He leans against the stick, grinding his left foot outwards, until coming to a stop. With practice, one can even hang onto the puck while executing this stop.

Sometimes, when going very fast, I find that I must crouch low to keep pressure on the outer foot -- often to such a degree that the boot, instead of the wheels, makes contact with the ground. This gets good results, but is not recommended for less durable boots.

The same technique is used in the stick turn. The skater uses the same combination of tight turn and stick friction, but instead of using the stick as a mere brake, uses it as a pivot point to make a tighter turn and continue on in a new direction.


The best bet for goalies, in many cases, is simply not to wear skates. A sneakered goalie has side-to-side mobility and backwards control that are difficult to match on skates of any kind. As long as the goalie doesn't leave the crease for extended periods (i.e. Ron Hextall lead-the-rush-up-ice maneuvres), this makes for fair and fun gameplay. As previously mentioned, hard plastic Mylec street hockey leg pads are recommended. A good goalie can fearlessly slide about in them, making for a more ice-like game.


See the following sites for


Generally speaking, you're stuck with whatever your area offers. For economical reasons, we've been playing on street-hockey decks, which have asphalt or cement surfaces and decent boards all around. One such surface is quite good; very smooth cement approaching tennis court quality. It's a decent drive for most of us, but worth it; we've played on a rougher surface and it's exhausting.

There are also commercial venues available in our area. One huge indoor facility has a perfect surface, good nets, an electronic scoreboard, you name it. It's also $70/hour, but with enough people playing a real game, this can be cost-effective. I imagine similar facilities exist in most major metropolitan areas.


Our goal is to be as ice hockey-like as possible. In the reduced size of most street-hockey decks, 4 skaters per side is probably the realistic maximum. And we'd like to someday have enough players for full 60-minute change-on-the-fly games, but for the time being it looks like three 10 minute periods with no line changes and frequent timeouts.

When we can, we aspire to NHL rules. With 10-minute periods, half-length penalties are probably best (1 minute or 2.5 minutes). Enforcement of offsides and icing are a matter of taste; they make for less fluid gameplay and are a distraction for single refs without benefit of linesmen. I'd be interested in hearing how other players deal with this.

Best of luck to anyone getting started in the game; may you find all the players you need and a prime surface. If you live in the Philadelphia/ South Jersey area, we invite you to join us! Interested parties can Email me directly, or reach me on the Cellar BBS (the number is in my .sig). We play Sundays, are still organizing for fall, and would welcome any new participants.

From: Tony Chen ( We play in an indoor rink, so we have blue lines and the creases marked permanently, plus we have regulation goals and a good-sized rink (sorry, don't have exact measurements). We usually play 4-on-4, and go to 5-on-5 when there's a larger than normal group that shows up. We play with offsides, but no icing.

We self-referee, with a little help from the benches 8-) We don't play with time limits, but we do line changes en masse (Usually we have at least 2-3 lines for offense, and 2-3 lines on defense) so everyone gets a fair shake.


Can't round up 8+ skaters and 2 goalies for a game? Here's a basic game you can play with as few as 4 people that's fun and great practice for basic hockey skills.


'  Gear: Inline skates, sticks, pads, ball, chalk.
'  Play Surface:  Ideally, you'll want an area with clearly-defined edges.
'  A low-traffic street, school driveway, or the like is ideal, since
'  passes can be bounced off the curbs.  With chalk, mark off end lines
'  150-200' apart (depending on skaters' respiratory health and number
'  of players), as well as a faceoff mark at centre ice:
'  curb -> ========================================================
'              |                                               |
'  end line -> |                       x                       |
'              |                                               |
'          ========================================================
'  The rules are simple.  To score a goal, a skater must cross his
'  opponent's goal line WHILE IN CONTROL OF THE PUCK/BALL.  If the
'  ball goes over a team's end line with no one in control, that team
'  takes the ball back into play from behind the line (the puck must
'  then precede them over the line coming back into play).
'  If the ball goes out of play, a faceoff will take place at the point
'  of exit.
'  After every score, begin again with a centre-ice faceoff.
'  Play to a predetermined point (first to 7, for instance).  No time
'  limits.

Besides being a total blast (the Canadian equivalent of urban half-court pickup basketball), this game is good practice for a variety of skills including skating, passing, puck control, checking (the way we play it, anyway -- this is optional) and basic strategy (crossing over and the like).

If you want a different challenge, or to handicap a side, try playing against a team with one or more players on sneakers instead of skates. You'll be able to outrun them in long hauls, but they can kill you with sudden stops/direction changes/accelleration/etc.


Thanks for the following for their field testing and other assistance in the preparation of this file:

Anton "Slapshot" Shepps (LW), Dan Reed (LW), Chris "Nate" Collins (G), Earl Scheib (D, no relation), Rachel MacGregor (D), Steve "Doc" Roth (D), Rob "Franchise" Tedesco (RW), N.Y. State Assemblyman Allan K. Race (C, Democrat), Heather "Hanover" Pfister (LW), Robert Jennings (G), and "Pittsburgh" Bob Safier (C).


From: (Famous Jonathan)
Subject: Hockey equipment
Date: 14 Sep 93 13:04:40 GMT

     I have small hands, so what I use are a pair of the
largest junior size Cooper ice-hockey gloves. The palms tend
to wear through really quickly, but hand protection is good
and they are easy to slide on.
     Other people I know have also worn lacrosse gloves to
play. They don't usually cost as much as ice hockey gloves, but
for street play they provide good protection farther up the wrist
and arm.
     Those plastic Mylec replacement blades are trash. Don't
bother. I liked the Mylec street hockey stick with the black blade -
the stick was cheap and it worked well. I liked the shorter stick
for maneuverability and ball control, but it was tough to get a
good shot from it.
     Someone had posted against a Koho Street Revolution, but I've
been using one for a while. The shaft does flex, but the blade wears
well on cement and lasts well.
     Mylec ball seems to be the best, as everyone else here seems
to agree. So why does the IRHL use one of those crappy rolling pucks
that never seem to work?
     Another puck we used was a roll of black tape with a small core.
After a good break-in period, it slides well and has the fell of a
regular puck. But it is heavy and probably requires real pads -
especially for the goalie.
     I saw in the stores a new puck that had 6 knobs protruding from
a disc to be used for roller-hockey. I forget who makes it or what
it was called, but if anyone has used one, what did you think?

From: (Marc Foster)
Subject: FAQ Update:  Goalie gear
Date: 3 Sep 1993 16:45:54 GMT

In article (Tony Chen)
>Goalie Gear //  A good mask is essential, regardless of puck type.  Either
>___________//  a cage-type ice hockey mask or an inexpensive Mylec mask
>will do.  An ice hockey stick is highly recommended, since they tend to be
>larger than their street hockey counterparts.  Any variety of blocker will
>suffice.  If you're playing with a ball of some kind rather than a puck,
>we've found that using a baseball glove for a catcher will give good
>In regards to leg pads, the cheapest Mylec ones appear to work the best.
>Since they're made of hard plastic, a goalie can slide on his knees in
>them, which improves effectiveness.
>Marc [], a Texas hockey veteran, adds:
>"When I goalie I usually wear a cage helmet (since I wear glasses), elbow
>pads, a blocker on the right hand and a catcher's mitt in the left, a
>catcher's chest protector on my chest and belly (with my Dead Wings jersey
>over that), a cup and the Mylec leg pads, along with the skates.  I
>usually wear a t-shirt under the chest pad, also.  I've suited up like
>that twice a week all summer down here and have lost about 10 pounds.
>Most other goalies in the Metroplex use either a large softball mitt or a
>regular goalie's mitt, but I had the catcher's mitt to begin with and
>find that I am used to it and can't use a regular glove very well."
I thought I'd update my equipment list, as what I said a year ago is really
out of date (at least for me).  I picked up a sponsorship down in the Metroplex
and was able to splurge on the good stuff:
The new Mylec catalog has a new blocker and goal glove in it.  The blocker
(#570) is larger than the older Mylec model and can be bent up high along
the arm like real ice hockey blockers.  The glove (#580) is built like an
ice-hockey glove and is much larger than the "shortstop mitt with a wrist
protector" glove they've sold in the past.  After getting the glove broken
in, it snags balls just as well as pucks.
I nearly lost my teeth this summer wearing the Mylec cage mask (got kicked),
so I got a Jofa Goalie Combo helmet.  Jofa takes their regular helmet, puts
a larger cage on it, and adds a throat protector.  After getting popped a lot
(usually in warm-ups, when my teammates unload really hard shots on me), my
throat apprecitates this aquisition.
As for leg protection, I have found that adding a quality pair of ice hockey
pants to the Mylec leg pads does wonders for the inside thigh area.  I have
a pair of Cooper pants, thought CCM and others are just as good.  I also
dropped a size on those mylec leg pads, since the pants cover the upper front
thigh area now.  Doing this increased my mobility a lot.  I do wear some
knee pads _under_ the leg pads.  The Mylec pads tend to leave the inside knee
area bare when you freeze the ball in a butterfly drop (watch Patrick Roy),
and if you play long enough, a permanent... and painfull bruise develops.
As for the chest and arms, I went with a Cooper BP9 chest protector and SA55
arm pads.  However, I only wear the armpads indoors, since it's usually just
too hot to wear both pads playing outside (lost a lot more weight this summer).
Since my league up here at school is indoors, I'm padded to the max.
My stick is a Christian "Curtis Curve" goal stick.  The stick handle is
S-curved at the grip for better balance.  I also added a ton of weight at the
end of the handle so the center of gravity is right on your stick hand.
Works wonders.
And please, boys and girls, don't forget your cup (well, maybe not girls, I
never did ask Machelle Harris if she wears one).

(Editor's note: Most women use a piece of protective pelvic equipment that 
is more commonly referred to as a "Jill".  It has the same 
holster as a Jock, but the protective piece of plastic inside is flatter
and triangular shaped.
>Goalie Techniques //  The best bet for goalies, in many cases, is simply
>_________________//  not to wear skates.  A sneakered goalie has
>side-to-side mobility and backwards control that are difficult to match on
>skates of any kind.  As long as the goalie doesn't leave the crease for
>extended periods (i.e. Ron Hextall lead-the-rush-up-ice maneuvres), this
>makes for fair and fun gameplay.
Well, I have to wear skates, but I still come out of the crease a lot.  I
have found that most novice to intermediate ability players can't deke very
well, hang onto the ball, and make a quality shot.  So when I have a 1-on-1
or a shootout situation, I CHARGE the forward. It cuts down the shot angle,
and also intimidates the hell out of lesser players not usel, this ended up 
being a lot longer post than I anticipated.  The bottom
line is... if yer gonna be a goalie, ya gotta get the pads.  I saw a lot of
folks this summer playing more or less naked in the crease, and it just doesn't
work.  85 MPH+ slapshots aren't intimidating when you're fully loaded, and
all that gear really doesn't slow you down like you'd think.

Choosing a Stick

From: (Nancy Piltch)
Subject: Selection of hockey sticks
Date: 3 Dec 91 21:46:00 GMT

Sometime in the past Phil asked if anyone could write a guide to selecting hockey sticks, which has apparently been met with resounding silence. I think I can help, at least for those just entering the sport. Bear in mind, though, that while I've played a good deal of intramural and pick-up hockey, I've never had any formal coaching, so I'm sure there are others more knowledgeable. This will be especially true of the subtle differences among sticks that will matter to expert players.

Please feel free to correct my misstatements, clarify what is unclear, and add what I've left out.

The main criteria in selection of hockey sticks are "handedness", lie, length, and curvature. All of these are largely a matter of personal preference.

1. "Handedness": A hockey player will decide whether s/he prefers holding the stick to the left side or the right. There appears to be no strong correlation to the person's handedness. A new player should try it both ways, and find the one that feels most natural. Sticks are labeled either L or R, but since French-speaking Canada generates large numbers of hockey players, the stick may be labeled G (gauche) or D (droit). Some sticks carry both letters, i.e. L/G. A few sticks are neutral and can be used either way.

2. Lie: This refers to the angle the stick makes with the blade. A higher lie is closer to upright than a lower lie. While there are lots of exceptions, a player who prefers to skate more upright will prefer a higher lie, and a player who prefers to skate more bent over will take a lower lie. Taller players also generally use higher lies. Again, a new player should test several different lies to see what feels comfortable. The most common lies are 5, 6, and 7. This is the rest of the labeling on a hockey stick: a 6R means a lie of 6 in a right handed stick. Exaggerating the drawings:

         .                 .
       .                  .
     .                   .
____                ____
 5                    7
3. Length: I've been told that a stick should come up to about the player's chin while wearing skates, but I find this uncomfortable. I think it's more realistic to have it come to about the armpit or a little below; again, this is preference.

4. Curvature: A more curved blade allows the puck to be flipped more effectively for better shooting, but at the price of poorer passing and receiving. A beginner should start with a gently curved stick. A neutral stick, which I referred to above in the section on handedness, has no curvature.

The blade of a stick should be taped. This helps prolong the life of the blade and improves puck-handling capability. It's always black tape, never white. The conventional wisdom is that a goalie can't see the puck as well against a black blade, but my feeling is that a good goalie will see the puck. My personal opinion is that it is black because of tradition.

The wear pattern on the tape can show whether a skater has selected the proper lie. If the wear is toward the heel/toe of the blade the skater should try a lower/higher lie.

A lot of players also tape the top of the blade for better grip.

Sticks also differ in weight; again this is personal preference.

Subject: Sticks and Pucks (was Re: Selection of hockey sticks)
Date: 4 Dec 91 18:17:48 GMT
Some other stuff to augment the stick info:

I often tape my sticks with white tape! I think the tape matter is more whether you use the friction tape (normally black) or the general cloth tape used for taping around socks, skate tops, and equipment, which is usually white, but comes in all colors. I prefer the smoother white tape to the friction tape on my blade. There are a fair amount of players on our team that like this too. It is really a matter of preference.

I had never heard that the black tape makes it hard for the goalie to see the puck coming off of your stick, but this makes a lot of sense! I should start buying the cloth tape in black just for my stick blades!

I use black friction tape to tape the top end of my stick, for a good grip. This deposits black gunk on your gloves, but the grip is good. Players will often wrap a ball of tape called a "butt-end" to the very top of the stick to stop it from slipping out of your hands. Another trick is to roll up a long piece of tape lengthwise into a long string, and wrap it around the top handle of the stick (kind of like a barber shop pole) prior to taping up the stick top. This gives you a spiral stripe grip underneith the flat tape, that also helps you hold onto your stick better.

For roller hockey, I use the plastic Mylec blades (cost about $2.50) attached to shaft from an ice hockey stick that had a broken blade. I just saw off the broken wooden blade, and attach the plastic replacement. Mylec (and others) sell plastic bladed sticks with wooden shafts.

The stick manufacturer "Montreal" makes a stick that is supposedly for street and ice hockey. It is basically has a hard graphite housing around the whole blade and lower part of the shaft of the stick. These are expensive, and I've never seen anyone use one for ice hockey, but a lot of the street hockey players like them because they stay stiff like wooden blades, not flex a lot like the plastic ones.

Some other sticks that are availble for ice and street hockey are aluminum shafts. I use an aluminum stick shaft for ice hockey now. The blades are wooden with a glue on the top end. One heats the end of the metal shaft and the glue end of the blade with a powerful hair dryer and then you slide the glued end into the shaft. When it cools, the metal contracts and the combination of this with the glue holds the blade in place. When the blade breaks, you heat it up again to remove it, and put on a new one. The blades themselves cost a little less than a whole new stick, and the shaft is a one time charge. They have also come out with these for street hockey, using blades similar to the Montreal sticks described above.

Some players like the aluminum shafts because they are light, and can come in more flexible or more stiff grades. This allows a player to have a stick with the feel s/he likes and also have at least the shaft portion of the stick be consistent, since only the blade is replaced. Even two of the same brand and model stick can be different in weight and flex, since the wood may be from 2 different trees, etc.

Whew, my original intention was not for this to be so long winded, Nancy covered most of the stick stuff (very well too!) in her post, but since I'm on a roll..........

Pucks and Balls:

In ice hockey, one uses a hard black rubber puck, 3" in diameter, and (I think) 3/4" in thickness. The puck is usually frozen before a game so it's temperature matches that of the ice, and it can slide better.

1) very hard plastic pucks -- These can be use for street or floor hockey, but usually aren't as they are really hard and hurt a lot if you get hit with one and have little protection (usually the case with street hockey). This is all we had when I was little, and looking back, I can't believe we used to use these things all the time! On hard surfaces, these skip up etc. when new, but as soon as the edges get chewed up a bit and round out, they slide pretty well, even on asphalt.

2) soft hollow plastic pucks -- These are only good for really smooth surfaces.. We use these on gym floors. They don't even work very well on tennis courts, which is where we usually play roller hockey. They are great for floor hockey in a gym though.

3) softer plastic pucks with rollers -- These were an attempt to make a lighter puck that would slide better on rougher outdoor surfaces. They aren't great, but are better than (2) above outdoors. They often end up rolling on their edges, or coming apart at the seams if someone takes a hard shot! All in all, not great.

Hockey balls:

Hockey balls are usually used for street hockey and DEK hockey (a game played in rinks built with a special plastic surface by Mylec). The balls are hollow flexible plastic, and work well on all types of surfaces. They come in different hardnesses for different weather conditions, surfaces etc. (softer for winter and less abrasive surfaces, harder for summer and more abrasive surfaces). They require slightly different skills than using a puck though.

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