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At 8? No. As they get older and play more, yes. It's no different than trying to play any sport with different equipment than you're used to.
That doesn't mean more expensive is the better equipment for your kid. My kid uses a slightly heavier version of the particular stick he likes, and I bought a bunch on sale recently from hockeymonkey for about 2/3 off.
The important thing is the correct lie, a blade pattern he's used to, and the correct flex. Not the price.
The curve is going to make the difference once they start shooting with some ability, but until they get to 12 these kids are not using the flex on the stick especially when you start cutting them way down. And for the dad that says Little Johnny's in the driveway shooting pucks and that stick flexes! Well you might be right but put them in a game scenario he doesn't have the time to set up a shot perfectly and force that stick down like he does in the driveway.
all depends on age and ability of player. my son knows what he likes by brand, flex, lie, and curve. as they get older they know what it is that works for them. below pee wees they may just know the stick as too heavy. as an analogy, if you golf then you will know what it is like to not play with the right clubs.
google "hockey stick man". my son has found what he likes through this web site and at reasonable prices.
The old guard believe Flex doesn't matter at the younger ages (and they were right), because well made sticks made with flex by Bauer, CCM, etc are made for bigger kids/young adults. Once you cut the stick down to your mite/squirt size player all the flex is gone, and quite frankly flexing a stick isn't taught at the younger ages.
Now.... you are seeing smaller manufacturers making flex sticks for little guys as the thinking now is; its better to teach little kids how to shoot with flex at younger ages... as shooting is like a golf swing. Its all about technique and repetitions. I bought my kid a Raven stick for christmas as he really wanted one, and had him measured and we got the appropriate length/flex. I bought it and didn't give it a second thought, as I thought it was all mental at squirt major.
But it has been eye opening.... my kid has been learning to shoot properly (with flex) and coach has focused on fine tuning his technique and I have to admit, there's been a marked improvement in shot power, speed, and accuracy. Just our experience, not saying its going to make your little guy better. His coach commented to him about the improvement as well.
That said, when my kid sometimes falls back to old habits and shoots lazy wristers it make no difference whatsoever. My hope is that continued focus on proper flex technique will yield better results sooner than later.
Just my 2 cents.
Yes - "The important thing is the correct lie, a blade pattern he's used to, and the correct flex."
Gather around and let me tell you a bit about sticks...you absolutely need to get it right. Youth, intermediate, adult...get the right stick for your kid.
Length - The old rules were stick to your nose in shoes and to your chin on skates - may danglers prefer shorter cut sticks while defensemen go full reach.
Flex - the old rule was half the kids weight. Now a tub-o-lard 200 pounder using a 100 flex stick is very different than a gym rat using a 100 flex stick but the kid will figure it out. Some local NHL'er talk about some of the biggest sharp shooters in the NHL today are using 67 flex sticks but they go through a couple a game it seems. And remember when you cut a bit off of the stick, the flex number goes higher.
Blade pattern is preference and what they become use to but I generally see defesnsemen going with less curve - longer passes and shots, less stick handling but then you see a Chara stick and it is bent to the max. Go look a a pile of 'Pro Stock' sticks and you tell me.
10 years ago the rage for young kids (up to Peewee) was composite shaft with a wooden blade glued in because it gave more feel to learn the game and more feel to catch a pass - not so much today.
Basically you get the right length without having to cut too much off and that gets you to youth / intermediate / adult. Work on the flex and then it's personal preference. But taking an adult stick and cutting a couple feet off of it and handing it to a Squirt is beyond stupid. Why not put him in size 13 skates too.
And yes last year's models might not be the coolest but at half price or less, that is the way to go.
Wow a DBoard post that makes sense and is helpful!
It's not the wand, It's the magician !!
Dirk Diggler would never say that!