Have you ever wondered what goes into making a hockey stick? It isn't just carbon as the majority of the hockey world believes. The following information is only touching the surface of what is a very complex process. Gryphon has developed their own process and mix of materials over 30 years to give them the best sticks possible.
Carbon fibre offers the advantage of being light with high stiffness [stiffness describes how much a material deflects (or bends) under force], and high tensile strength [tensile strength is the force required to bend the material until breakage]. When used correctly Carbon is an ideal component for hockey stick composition contributing to delivering high ball speed [power for hitting, slapping, pushing] whilst light [stiffness to weight ratio] so contributes to reducing overall weight to enhance players ability to move the stick quickly enabling “quick hands”.
Carbon fibre has the disadvantage of being brittle [being brittle describes that a material when subjected to stress breaks easily] in a hockey sense this mean that from impacts the carbon fibres are easily broken from stick to stick impacts and from repeated ball striking, and secondly carbon fibre has limited vibration dampening characteristics. These key disadvantages are overcome by how the Carbon is used and the use of Kraibon, Fibreglass, Aramid and The Resin Matrix in the composite Lay-up.
Fibreglass is the most common fibre in the composite industry.
It is heavier and not as stiff than carbon fibre but is more impact resistant and has a greater elongation to break than carbon fibre.
Fibreglass is used to control the flex, for its easy form-ability characteristics and high mechanical strength. These specifications make Fibreglass a crucial material in protecting carbon fibre from impacts.
THE RESIN MATRIX
The Resin Matrix is the process of moulding the stick where the resin combines both the chemical and physical structures of different fibres together.
When fibres and resin are combined they form a composite material with new characteristics that are better than the individual components.
THE MANUFACTURING PROCESS
The manufacturing process is the most important part to creating quality hockey sticks, the performance of a stick is influenced by a few production factors.
The Prepreg is created by adding resin to the composite fibre , also called pre-impregnated, it is a key part of the manufacturing process.
The Pre-preg of the different fibres are then cut to shape to meet the lay-up design. The process is crucial to achieve maximum strength and stiffness.
The precise and uniform resin to fibres ratio creates the chemical and physical bond in the moulding process.
2. THE LAY-UP
The fibre composition and lay-up are major components in defining how a stick performs. All the pieces of pre-preg are carefully shaped and arranged under specific map which is defined by each model design and mould shape.
GRYPHON's lay-up is the performance 'X' factor.
We do this differently, for us it's an art, it's a sixth sense based on years of experience and the knowledge of how to best achieve the desired result of power, and get a great crisp feel to allow that instant response from the players hands for exceptional ball control.
Each range of sticks (TOUR, TABOO, etc) is crafted by the order and placement of each Prepreg piece to create a unique soul. The lay-up gives each stick range its unique character.
3. THE MOULDING PROCESS
The moulding process is where the stick lay-up and is placed into its corresponding physical mould for the moulding process.
The stick is created through the moulding process of high pressure and heat to create the desired playing characteristics. The pressure and its consistency during the moulding process is crucial in determining the sticks stiffness, strength and feel.
4. THE SHAPE
The shape describes the stick's profiles which is defined by :
• The handle and shaft width and depth
• The curve position and the curve peak
• The head shape profile defined by its thickness, blade, profile and the length of the toe.
The stick's shape covers desirable characteristics required by players to achieve specific skills with the ball. The sticks shape also influences the sticks stiffness and feel.