When you watch an NHL game and see the players playing with the latest, most innovative sticks, and if one gets broken, the players can get replacement sticks immediately. This isn’t cheap, making you wonder whether the NHL players or team pay for their sticks.
NHL players don’t pay for their sticks themselves, but the team provides them for them. However, the players’ contracts cover the cost of the sticks and other equipment. Alternatively, manufacturers can supply teams with free sticks for promotions and marketing.
The NHL players are like employees for the teams that are employers. It’s the employer’s responsibility to provide the required tools (hockey gear) to the employees so that they can complete their tasks to their best ability.
That being said, when the NHL players have all the sticks they can use with the highest quality, they can train better to reach the end goal of NHL; winning the Stanley Cup.
So, if the players can use as many sticks as they need, you might wonder whether they use a new stick each game or change them, so they are always new and in the best condition possible. Let’s find out!
Do NHL Players Use a New Stick Every Game?
Generally, each NHL player uses 80 sticks per season. Since each team plays 82 per season, the players use roughly one stick per game. Thus, a new stick is used every game. Sometimes, a player might use three sticks per game if broken, whereas others might play two games with the same stick.
The answer depends on the stick’s condition; commonly, the sticks get broken in some way during a game. The NHL is the highest level of hockey one can play, so the wear and potential damage to the sticks are the biggest in the world.
Furthermore, an NHL team roster consists of 4 stages, but there’s a 20-player-dressed rule, meaning 20 players can dress up for the game and play, and no more. This means that on average, 20 sticks will be used per game, and when we multiply that with the season’s game amount of 82, that makes 1640 sticks used.
Note that the estimated 1640 sticks per season are only for the actual games, and the total number is much higher, given all the training behind the scenes.
Now, if the players can have all the sticks they need without paying for them, it raises a question of how much the teams pay for their sticks and the final price tag.
How Much Do NHL Teams Pay For Sticks?
An NHL quality stick costs $300; however, the teams buy them for $200 because they buy in bulk, among other benefits for the suppliers. Each player uses around 80 sticks per season, with 20 players dressed for each game, making 1640 sticks, equating to a $328,000 price tag for sticks per season.
$328,000 is a lot of money just from sticks in a year. However, NHL teams are extremely wealthy, and supplying the teams with the best equipment isn’t a problem. Remember that some sticks can be free, depending on deals and agreements between teams and brands, such as promotions.
Moreover, the $328,000 per year from hockey sticks was calculated from the actual sticks used in hockey games. There’s much more training time behind the scenes, so the actual sum is much higher if we calculate all the sticks in money.
What Sticks Do NHL Players Use?
With all this talk about NHL and hockey sticks, it’s still unclear what the players use. There are a few brands over the others, and the most used material is carbon fiber.
Here are the most used hockey stick brands in NHL;
CCM and Bauer dominate the list, with over 65% of sticks used in the NHL. Below you can see the brand usage percentages.
As you can see, only three brands have over 10% of the market share in the sticks used in the NHL. The last four brands have less than 5% of the market share, so they’re almost nonexistent compared to CMM, Bauer, Warrior, and Easton.
For the specific hockey sticks, here are a few popular ones used in the NHL;
What Does NHL Do With Old or Broken Sticks?
If hockey teams spend around $328,000 for sticks each season and there are 32 teams in the NHL, it means that $10,496,000 are used for just sticks in the NHL games, without accounting for all the sticks in training, etc. That’s a lot of sticks, so what happens to them when they go unused or broken?
When sticks in the NHL aren’t used or broken, they are either sold to stores, given to recycling, distributed to local hockey teams for use or repurposing, or given to charity when players have signed them.
Other creative ways the teams will use the broken stick that won’t be used include auctioning them if they’re in good condition. There are even more ways, such as media using them as microphone holders.
However, broken sticks aren’t usually thrown to the fans by players as they are very sharp when broken, so they will be cut down for safety reasons and only then sold on websites, auctions, or used as giveaways like in children’s hospitals.
All in all, the sticks will be used for something, and they rarely end up in the dump as garbage. I think that’s cool and important, especially nowadays.