Q: Why was the maximum bow/rake of the stick reduced in 2006?
A: The FIH was concerned that the extent of the bow/rake of some sticks had increased significantly over the previous few years which appears to enable an increase in the power with which some players can flick the ball, especially for shots at goal. When the change was announced Wolfgang Rommel, chairman of the FIH Hockey Rules Board, commented, 'with players and officials we share concerns about the increasing power of flick shots. A limit to the stick bow/rake will curb some of this power without detracting from dribbling and other attractive ball control skills.'
On the advice of its Equipment Committee and Hockey Rules Board, the FIH Executive Board therefore specified a change to the 2006 Rules of Hockey, limiting the depth of the stick bow/rake to 25mm.
Q: Why are metal or metal components banned within the manufacture of a hockey stick?
A: There are a number of reasons to ban metal components. The first is for safety. Metal sticks or handles are usually made using aluminium. When broken, metal sticks in general and aluminium sticks in particular tend to break with very jagged edges. Quite often a broken stick or part of it will fly through the air. This is considered an unacceptable danger to other players on the pitch and also to spectators off the pitch.
The second reason is to maintain the sport where the skill of the players in both attack and defence is paramount to the game. FIH noted the technological advances in other sports. The use of metallic substances in tennis racquets and golf clubs caused remarkable changes to these sports which were not universally accepted as being in the best interests of the respective sports. FIH was concerned about the possibility that hockey would have the same problems unless the stick is controlled.
The third reason is television. With the advent of synthetic surfaces, hockey has become very fast and continuous particularly at elite level. Advice to FIH from television technicians and commentators is that if the sport is made any faster, it would become much more difficult to televise as a spectacle.
Therefore, FIH considers it would be detrimental to allow changes to the hockey stick which would increase power factors and consequently ball speed.
Q: Regarding the composition of a hockey stick: What materials are mandated and what are prohibited?
A. Over the last few years, there have been a number of developments regarding the composition of hockey sticks.
- Composite sticks have been introduced by most manufacturers
- Experiments have been conducted involving the use of metal shafts
- Proposals have been made attempting to mandate the use of wooden heads
Regarding composition of the hockey stick, the FIH Rules of Hockey state: “The stick and possible additions may be made of or contain any material other than metal or metallic components, provided it is fit for the purpose of playing hockey and is not hazardous.”
Thus the use of metal is prohibited and the use of wood is permitted but not mandated.
Q: Can FIH tell me if a particular stick complies with the Rules of Hockey ?
A: No we cannot.
On reason is that there is a vast number of brands and different model types so it would be impossible for us to examine and be able to comment on every one. Furthermore, manufacturers sometimes change the detailed design but retain a model name so we would not be sure which model was really being referred to. Also, we would not know if a stick was exactly as it was when manufactured or if it had been altered in some way later.
Players and officials should therefore check the Rules of Hockey and make their own judgment about whether or not a particular stick complies.