Coffee Break

Hockey Sticks – Then And Now

Pixabay License

Free for commercial use

No attribution required

Hockey sticks have advanced dramatically over the years. If you take a look on the Internet, you will see that there is an abundance of field hockey sticks to choose from, all of which boast exciting features that will enhance the player’s performance dramatically. There are sticks available for different positions, styles of play and much, much more. You can also choose from men’s, women’s and junior hockey sticks. However, it certainly wasn’t always this way. Keeping that in mind, in this post we are going to take a look at how field hockey sticks have evolved over the years, so that you can see the difference between then and now. 

To appreciate how hockey sticks first started off, it is important to look at the origin of field hockey itself. This is a sport that is said to have originated more than 4,000 years ago. In an Ancient Egyptian Cave, drawings of people playing the sport were discovered. Because of this, there is an argument that the field hockey stick could be one of the oldest pieces of sports equipment. Since these days, hockey is a game that has come to be enjoyed in many cultures all over the globe, although the rules have changed and some nations play differently from others.

The very first hockey sticks were constructed using bamboo. However, English hockey players soon changed this material, as they utilised wood sources that were local to them, with the most common being willow bark. A lot of hockey sticks were also made from mulberry wood or hickory, and they were very expensive, as the head of the sticks were hand carved. There are two parts of a field hockey stick – this is the head and the handle. The head is used to hit the ball, it is the curved section of the stick, and the handle is where the person holds it.  In the early days, the head and the handle were two separate parts that were then joined. This is not the case nowadays, as manufacturers create the hockey stick using one single piece of wood. 

This is not the only change that has occurred in relation to hockey sticks; in fact, there have been many alterations and adaptions over the years. The first major change occurred in 1860 when the playing side of the stick became flat. The playing side is where the toe of the head of the sick is facing away from the player. During the 1960s and 1970s, manufacturers were permitted to start using composite materials, which were used in hockey sticks to generate more power. The size of the head become smaller in 1980 and then in 1990 metal handles were used when manufacturing field hockey sticks, however, several hockey federations in a number of countries prohibited the use of them. 

The hook is a style of hockey head that we are all familiar with now. However, it first came on the scene when Toon Coolen, a Dutch inventor, patented a design with this name in 1982. A year later, Grays, the famous hockey stick manufacturers, took up the design. However, ten years later it was ruled that the patent only protected hook shapes within twenty degrees of the vaguely written nearly 180, which refers to the upturn degree of the toe in relation to the stick’s shaft. This led to other designs of a similar appearance, i.e. with the J-shaped stick heads, entering the market. The modern hook we are familiar with today was re-launched in the mid-90s by Thomas Kille, who was a former German U21 international player. Nowadays, you will find that there is a choice of angle of hook upturn, ranging from 45 degrees to 75 degrees. You can also choose from a vast assortment of colours, designs and graphics, as manufacturers began to realise that fashion and branding were of paramount importance. 

So, we have taken a look at some of the key developments over the years; so you can get a good understanding of how field hockey sticks have changed. But, for further clarity, let’s go through the actual timeline. The first changes came about in the 1860s when stick heads were made from mulberry timber and the heads were made shorter. This coincided with hockey being taken to India. In the 1960s and 70s, reinforcements with carbon, glass fibres, fibreglass and aramid. A decade later, and there was the introduction of the hook head, upturned toe and ‘J’ shaped designs. In fact, there were many significant introductions in the 1980s, including the set back stick head, kinked shaft stick, and a greater assortment of hockey stick lengths to choose from. 

After this, specialist goalkeeper’s sticks were introduced, with ZigZag save being the very first ones. And, after two years of experiment, composite NHL sticks were fully accepted, although metal handles were banned. Once we hit the millennium, more modern changes came about, including the introduction of low bow sticks, the increase of the bow of the face of the handle in order to facilitate drag flicking, as well as the refinement of head shapes. This is also a period that saw wooden hockey sticks decline in favour of the newer composite field hockey sticks. 

What are the top three brands selling field hockey equipment today?

When playing any type of sport the importance of purchasing the best equipment cannot be underestimated. This is especially the case when it comes to the likes of field hockey. After all, poor quality equipment can be extremely detrimental to your game. It can affect your overall performance and make it more difficult for you to perform to your full ability. Keeping that in mind, read on to discover the top three brands to purchase field hockey equipment from…

#3 Mazon 

In third place is Mazon. This is an Australian company that is has a reputation as an innovator in the world of field hockey. After all, they are constantly releasing new products onto the market. All of their equipment is designed with maximum efficiency in mind. They want to minimise the effort of the user as much as possible and this is something they have certainly managed to achieve.

#2 Dita

Next we have Dita, a sports company that originates in America. Dita was established in 1891 and has gone from strength to strength ever since. When it comes to field hockey, they have generated a lot of attention for their excellent turf shoes and hockey sticks. This is definitely a reliable brand to purchase from when in need of field hockey equipment. 

#1 Grays 

Last but not least, this post simply would not be complete without mentioning Grays. The official name for this brand is actually ‘Grays International’, however most people drop the last word. The company was founded in 1855 and sells a huge selection of hockey equipment. Their range of hockey sticks is worthy of further elaboration. They have a vast number of designs to choose from and they are generally believed to sell some of the most stylish hockey sticks as well.

All in all, it is clear to see that there have been many adaptions when it comes to hockey sticks over the years. And, it is likely that there will be even more in the future. Today, we have a wide variety of hockey sticks to choose from – there is something for all tastes, budgets, playing styles and positions. Thus, there is a lot to consider when it comes to purchasing the right hockey stick for you. Make sure you take everything from the brand, to the toe style, to the size of the hockey stick into account. If you do this, then you can’t go too far wrong and you will notice that your playing game is enhanced by a significant degree. 

 

About the author

Alice Instone-Brewer

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment