I had been searching the internet for methods of cutting hockey sticks, both in what tools I needed to actually cut them so that I wouldn't need to go to a hockey shop and in where on the stick I should cut it for my height. Yes, I'm fully aware that like most aspects of hockey equipment, the best judge is me and what I feel works best for me, but having very little on-ice experience isn't a great barometer for determining what works for me, so I wanted to see what works best for other people.
At that point, I stumbled upon that Cut Hockey Sticks website, and it really piqued my interest. A lot of the photos were certainly convincing and also didn't look photoshopped. The video was also pretty interesting, but since it looked like an old video, it made me wonder: how applicable is their method of cutting hockey sticks if they're all using wood hockey sticks with what looks like very minimal curves?
I paid more attention after first seeing that website to keeping the blade of my stick down as flat as possible. Since I use sticks with curves, I obviously had to turn them a little bit, or else the blade would come up off the ice. But when I tried to let my blade lie flat while holding my arm straight down, this happened:
If I just absent-mindedly went through and chopped off (mutilated) that much of my hockey stick, I might get a stick that would conform to the video's guidelines, but the flex would be non-existent for someone as not-very-strong as I am. I might also run into other problems using a stick that short while on skates.
Still, the whole premise was something I wanted to pursue and see where it took me. I also have a CCM U+06 hockey stick which I decided would be my dummy test for short sticks. It was an 85 flex with a Couturier curve, and at its store-bought length, it was about an inch or an inch and a half shorter than my Warrior stick. I picked a point on the CCM stick and had it cut. Here are more pictures for comparison:
|Warrior stick gets at or slightly above my eye level. Yes, I know that's a pretty long hockey stick for me.|
|And here's the CCM stick after it's been cut. Comes up just below my chin.|
I haven't actually taken out a ruler and measured it, but the difference between the two hockey stick shafts is about 7 or 8 inches.
It's been a few weeks now, and the early returns aren't very promising. I don't know how much is me just getting used to using my Warrior stick or whether I'm doing things "correctly" or any other number of factors.
I've used my Warrior stick for a couple weeks on the ice here in LA during my winter break, and I've pretty much eliminated the problem of the bent elbow on my own. Whenever I would take a stick and puck down to the basement of my house at college, I would get an ache in my shoulder from stickhandling because of how much I bend my elbow, but the problem seems to have gone away on its own, both in on- and off-ice stickhandling. I'm much more mindful of using my top hand when stickhandling, and that seems to have helped a bit.
The shorter CCM stick actually isn't bad. I was hesitant at first because I really wasn't used to having a hockey stick that short, but I decided to use it at Sabby's clinic one week, and use only that stick. Stickhandling was actually more comfortable with the CCM than with the Warrior. Overall, as I got used to the feeling of it, I found that I could work with it pretty easily. The downfall is that because I had to cut so much off the original, the flex is too stiff, so I can't shoot the puck at all with it. The second problem I is controlling loose pucks, especially off the boards. Surprisingly, there was no discernible difference in defensive zone coverage, and I had plenty of data to draw from because I somehow kept being the last man back on a two-on-one during the Sabby's clinic scrimmage.
It was an interesting experiment, but I'm not entirely sure where to go from here. I still have the CCM stick because it's a useful emergency backup if something ever happens to my Warrior stick. I would like to see if I can use a stick more regularly that's closer to the CCM shaft length. I can't quite say that I "prefer" it because I've found ways to work with both, and especially in recent weeks, I've gotten much more comfortable with my Warrior stick. I don't see any senior sticks sold at that shaft length, and if I cut it, every single stick I can find on the market will have too stiff a flex. I don't see any intermediate sticks either that are sold at that shaft length, and I'm worried about having a flex that's not stiff enough.
I'm not yet at the point where I'm comfortable cutting my Warrior stick even just an inch or two. With the way I'm getting used to it and working really well with it as is, and with me not wanting to risk anything with this hockey stick because it took me forever to find, I'm not willing to do anything to change it just yet. I may cut it a couple inches at some point in the future, but that will be a long time from now.
At this point, I'll take my two goals from last week's Sabby's clinic scrimmage, scored with my Warrior stick, and just roll with it into the second half of intramural season.