Sean Hoang

Research Paper
By checking the slapshot speed, we can determine whether a wood stick
or a graphite hockey stick shoots faster. Also, we will also be observing
the differences in brand and if they matter. The puck will also be
researched, in order to calculate the physics of the shot.

Ice hockey originated in Canada in the 1800s, and the first modern
indoor hockey game was played in Montreal in 1875. By the 1890s it had
become extremely popular and had spread to the United States. Since 1917
the National Hockey League (NHL), with teams in both countries, has been
the primary professional association. The rival World Hockey Association
(WHA), launched in 1972, ceased operation in 1979; several of its 12 teams
gained entry to the NHL. The NHL’s current 30 teams play in two
conferences, the Eastern and Western, each with three divisions. Though
most NHL players have always been Canadian, an increasing number of players
from the United States and Europe have appeared since the 1980s. Teams vie
for the Stanley Cup-originally donated to the Canadian Amateur Hockey
Association (1893) by Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley-the NHL’s championship
trophy and the symbol of world professional supremacy.

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A wood hockey stick has many ties to hockey’s very creation. The
early Ice Hockey sticks were carved from Hornbeam trees (Ostrya
Virginiana), which are native to Nova Scotia and provide a very durable
hardwood. One of the tools used in the carving of Hockey sticks was known
as a “Crooked Knife”. Hornbeam is also known as ‘Ironwood’ because of its
durability, and ‘Stinkwood’ because of its unpleasant odor when cut.

Because of the huge numbers of ice hockey sticks made using these methods
by many makers, local supplies of Hornbeam were largely depleted and the
companies then turned to the yellow birch, another hard wood which
possesses the same characteristics. Wood sticks are traditional sticks and
are usually less expensive than modern composite sticks. Also, with wood
sticks, one is able to fine tune his/her stick by cutting or sanding it to
make it more comfortable. Wood sticks break easier, are heavier, and tend
to be stiffer than other materials. There is an upside; however, the wood
stick’s stiffness can really help out in leverage. This helps propel the
stick harder and cause a greater force in the slapshot.

Composites like graphite are what many of the new sticks are made of
today. The most common out is graphite. This is because of its
combination of strength and durability, while retaining a relatively light
weight and providing maximum and most efficient output force. Graphite can
be used many ways in stick construction. It can be used to coat or
reinforce a wooden core; it is sometimes mixed with kevlar to form the
shaft; and it can also be used entirely on its own. Graphite is more
expensive than fiberglass and aluminum, but less expensive than kevlar and
titanium. Graphite sticks are considered strong and lightweight .They use
replaceable blades, so when the head breaks, the whole stick doesn’t go to
waste. The blades are usually made of wood and attached to the composite
stick with glue. Some blades have Kevlar wraps on them, for added
endurance. The cheaper varieties result in plastic blades. A curved blade
allows you to lift the puck and put spin on it but makes it more difficult
to shoot or pass backhand. A blade with a smaller curve gives you lower
shots and better control.

Shooting power is equal to the energy transfer and whip of a hockey
stick. The shooters weight, height and strength determines how much they
can physically flex the shaft of a hockey stick. Therefore, the stronger
the player the stiffer the shaft ; the lighter the player, the need for
more flex increases. I think it is impossible for a 90 lbs. player to have
the same shooting power using the same shaft as a 170 lbs. player, because
a 170 lbs. guy has more weight shifted into his shot. The stiffness, or
flex, of a stick’s shaft is important in determining control and
performance. The lower the flex number the more flex it has, and the higher
the flex number the stiffer the stick is. Every stick is designed based on
a player’s height, weight, strength, and hand size. Every hockey stick has
a different shaft construction and individual flex pattern. There are so
many flex patterns for each company. For example Easton’s flex ranges from
junior which goes to 50 flex and 65 flex. Intermediate flex is 75 flex and
senior flex is 100 and 110 flex. All stick brands use this same flex
pattern. Defensemen should choose a stiffer, heavier stick, while forwards
should choose a lighter, more flexible shaft.

The puck is made of various materials. Depending on puck type, size,
and weight, the puck will react differently with the stick. The most
commonly used pucks are made of a hard rubber. These are always a uniform
size, so the weight of the puck will always depend on material and density.

Rubber pucks create friction, but upon an ice surface, they move quite
well. It is because of the oppositely charged ions in each of the products
that make it move. The rubber has a slight charge similar to that of the
electronegative ice. This causes a repelling effect, causing the puck to
move quite easily. Rubber pucks are light and easy to slap around. Their
downside comes in their lightness. Because of that, it is sometimes hard
to control where it goes, because sometimes it will just fly around in the
air from a whack of an inexperienced player. Some other pucks are
composites, made of graphite, silicone, and kevlar. These are much heavier
and cause the puck to receive more force in order to go the same distance
and speed that the rubber was traveling. This is good for seasoned players
because control is a lot better with this kind of puck. Also, with a good
hard hit, they tend to fly faster and farther because of the inertia

In hockey the shoulders are used a primary focal point in the exertion
of force. When swung down, the long stick will amplify the force made and
thus smacking a puck. When this happens, kinetic energy is transferred and
the puck goes flying in the direction opposite of which it was hit. The
faster the lever drops the more air it cuts. This causes less resistance
and thus a harder and farther hit. Also, the weight of the primary motion
setter plays a big role. When the weight is greater, a stronger force
causes the puck to be shot forward. Thus, if the initial starter is of a
heavier weight, there is more power to be exerted in the beginning. The
stick, regardless of graphite or wood, will increase in amplification of
power once the length of the stick is increased. The wood will give a more
solid shot because of the structure wood is made. Wood is dense and
provides shock absorption, thus allowing the player to create a stronger
hit. Graphite does the similar, but is less heavy and of a lightweight
variety so the effects are not as great. But, it has a more stronger solid
surface so when the puck and stick make contact, the tension between the
two is higher.

When the puck is heavier, it requires more force to propel, but in
return it carries more inertia. With more inertia, the puck can travel
faster and harder forward. The lighter pucks will only do so much because
the air resistance will stop the lightweight. Heavy pucks will keep on
going due to the force it is hurling forward.

Lapointe, G. “Simple motions can be further enhanced byweights.” Journal of
Environmental Physics 5:2 (2002): 16-25.

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08 Jan. 2004