You’re starting to play hockey. That’s awesome. Everyone was a beginner. Even McDavid, Crosby and Kane. They were just like you and me once. Once!
Hockey is so much fun, but starting out can be intimidating and scary. You’ll fall down a lot, get frustrated and hurt a little bit. But when you get the hang of it, you’ll love it.
Next to your skates, the most important part of your introduction to playing hockey is your stick. It’s helpful for balance and a good one will do some of the work for you. If you can “feel” the puck on your stick you can concentrate on skating and what you want to do with the puck rather than looking at the puck.
To see the top choices overall, CLICK HERE for our complete guide to the Best Hockey Sticks.
If you just want to know what the top pick for beginners is…it’s the Warrior Covert QRL Grip. With a combination of great feel, a quick release, and a pretty reasonable price, you can’t go wrong with this stick.
Want some more options and my breakdown of why we chose this stick…keep reading.
Best Overall Stick for Beginners
Warrior Covert QRL Grip
The Warrior QRL is an older model but what makes it the best overall is its high performance coupled with a drastically reduced price. This stick originally sold for up to $280 but it can now be found for about half that!
This Warrior stick had “one of the quickest shot releases on the market” at the time. You’ll appreciate how quickly it loads and releases energy for your shots. The QLR handles shots well with a very responsive, stiff blade that enables you to know where the puck is at all times and where it’s going. With Warrior’s True 1 technology the QLR was one of their lightest ever sticks and was optimized to have blade balance and a feel that improved puck handling and control.
The shaft has straight sidewalls with rounded corners and is thinner at the top for more “flex” (the overall bendiness) and “kick point” (the spot on the shaft that flexes most), and wider at the bottom to reduce blade torque (twistiness), all of which makes the stick very responsive. The QLR’s grip, a ribbed, tactile texture around the shaft, locks your hands in pace for optimum control while stickhandling and shooting.
It’s a durable stick. It was made with a 40% increase in strength over its predecessors to limit slashing damage in high traffic areas. The Warrior Covert QLR stick is also more durable than its lightweight competitors retaining its new stick feel over prolonged heavy use. Your challenge is to outgrow this stick. Challenge accepted.
Best Stick for Beginners under $200 (US)
Bauer Vapor 1X Lite
The first thing you’ll notice when you pick up the Vapor 1X Lite is how incredibly lightweight it is. Bauer’s Advanced Carbon Layering managed to knock off enough weight to make it only 397 grams! Not only is the stick light, but it has added strength, and they’ve created an 11% quicker shot release. What a combination! The puck feels crisp as you accept and give passes. It also feels great in the hands. Plus, the stick has a better sense of balance. You’ll notice a drastic difference in the feel of these sticks when you get up to this price range.
This Bauer model is designed to increase durability by reducing the damage caused by slashes and puck impact, so it gives you a good lastability boost, increasing its value. And the Xtreme carbon fiber keeps your stick feeling newer. Bonus.
The Vapor 1X Lite features new technology which reinforces the taper zone where the shaft becomes the blade. The result is 20% increased blade stability, giving you better one-timers and pass control.
At this price point, you’re paying for this stick to do a lot of the work for you, which you’ll find really important and gratifying when you see positive results from your shooting and passing. This will boost your confidence and minimize the sting of the bruises on your butt from falling. That’s well worth the investment.
Best Stick for Beginners Runners Up
Warrior Alpha QX
The Alpha QX hockey stick is really light, weighing only 410 grams. This is due to an aerospace-grade, composite weave design that makes the stick feel incredibly flat and light in your hands. Another cool feature of this technology is that the longevity of the stick is increased, giving you more shots than traditional carbon sticks. That’s a plus.
The Alpha QX blade has a very good grip and a soft feel which is noticeable right away. The structure of the blade makes for easy and accurate passing and receiving. When you’re shooting, the puck comes off the blade quickly with little effort. That matters when you’re just starting out.
The dog-bone shaped shaft lets the stick sit comfortably and securely in your hands and has a real natural feel while providing control over the stick. Add to that the Protex performance grip, which combines textured edges with a tacky soft grip coating, and the stick feels extremely stable in your hands, allowing for a more secure grip. One less thing to worry about.
The QX’s low kick point extends from your bottom hand through the lower shaft. The new Saber Taper design engages the flex easily resulting in a more stable blade for improved quickness and accuracy.
The QX is one of the most durable and sensitive sticks, especially in this price range.
CCM Jetspeed Pro
What makes the Jetspeed special is the “stiffness bump”. This stiffened section creates a hinge effect where the soft regions above and below it, flex independently. You get a quick shot release when needed in tight action around the net. When you want to throw down a bigger shot from the outside, it adjusts for that. You get the quickness, power, and accuracy that every hockey player wants.
The blade features CCM’s hollow core with woven carbon fiber helping to reduce the blade’s weight for a better, more balanced feel. This also gives you big pop on shots. The blade’s durability was improved to give you a more dependable puck feel. The result is a unique blend of lightweight, great feel, and tremendous consistency. CCM added a textured finish to grip the puck a bit better as well. Something you’ll appreciate when you’re learning how to carry the puck.
The Jetspeed Pro shaft features rounded corners, double concave sidewalls, and a double convex top and bottom. This shape gives you better control when you’re stickhandling and helps prevent the shaft from twisting during those big shots. The feel of the Jetspeed Pro is balanced and includes a tacky grip coating that helps lock your hands to the shaft for reliable control. The end results are more accuracy and increased power through your shot, together with nimble and quick responsiveness.
What a Beginner Should be Looking for When Choosing Your First Hockey Stick
My recommendation for choosing a hockey stick would be to go into a retail store and get advice from a professional about what they think would suit your particular needs. There are too many variables to determine, hands-on, before choosing what is right for your needs. These stick variables include length, flex, kick point, curve, one-piece vs a two-piece stick, wood vs composite material, the “feel” of the stick in your hands, plus more. Having a one-on-one discussion with someone in the business will get you to your best choice for the aspects that suit you the most. Once you’ve chosen the variables that work for you, you can go back to the internet and search for the best price for your stick.
The most important variable of all is your budget. There are a lot of great sticks at all price ranges as I’ve shown above, so you’ll find something to be happy with, whatever you can afford. Obviously, sale prices are great and as I mentioned, an older model at a reduced price will make you feel good on the ice and when you look at your bank account.
Secondly, the feel of the stick in your hands is the next most important consideration. There’s plenty to be uncomfortable with when you start playing hockey. The feel of the stick is one you can control. Make sure this aspect of your stick is perfect. Again, you need to be in a store to hold the sticks to determine which one is most comfortable and feels best in your hands.
Finally, the kick point is an important but not critical aspect to consider. Generally, new hockey players hang around the net. Partly because you can just knock in a goal without much skill and, most beginners don’t have the confidence or technique to be able to shoot from a distance. This is where a low kick point is essential. A quicker release, more control, and accuracy from a low kick point will give you better results and more self-confidence and satisfaction.
Ultimately, it comes down to finding a stick that feels comfortable and fits you well so that you can concentrate on the game rather than the stick. It takes a lot of hard work and practice to get to the point where the stick feels like an extension of you, but it’s worth the effort if you want to play hockey.
Now, get out there and skate.