At the Hockey Rink, Lefties Rule, Especially in Canada…


Sidney Crosby

The Olympic hockey matches have been especially riveting for me ever since I read an article in The New York Times by Jeff Klein (It’s Not Political, but More Canadians Are Lefties).  He pointed out that according to sales figures from hockey stick manufacturers, a majority of Canadian hockey players shoot left-handed, and a majority of American players shoot right-handed.

Really? I thought to myself. I want to see. So I tuned in and watched, initially not sure what exactly made someone left-handed in hockey. It is tricky.

A lefty has the right hand at the top of the stick.

Canadian journalist and author Bruce Dowbiggin noted the Canadian-American handedness split in his 2001 book, “The Stick: A History, a Celebration, an Elegy.” On Dowbiggin’s Web site, a reader named Kent Mayhew suggested the difference may have to do with how old a player is when he first picks up a hockey stick.

The top hand on a hockey stick has to be able to handle the torques of a stick while the bottom hand just has to handle the weight with no torques,” he wrote. He theorized that American children, who tend to take up hockey when they are older and bigger, can afford to put the stronger hand, generally the right, on the lower part of the shaft for more precision.”

The Times article gave specifics from Easton, a sporting goods manufacturer in Van Nuys, Calif.

  • Roughly 60 percent of the Easton hockey sticks sold in Canada are for left-handed shots.
  • In the United States, about 60 percent of sticks sold are for right-handed shots.
  • Figures over the years from other manufacturers have put the ratio discrepancy between the two countries as high as 70 to 30.

It also noted that on the women’s 2010 Olympic teams, which feature 21-player rosters, 15 members of Team Canada shoot left-handed compared with 10 on Team U.S.A. On the men’s rosters, the difference is less pronounced, with 15 left-handers on Team Canada and 13 on Team U.S.A. out of 23 players on the roster.

Doing some research on my own, I found the roster for the Pittsburgh Penguins, the NHL club All-Star phenom Sidney Crosby plays for. Sure enough, most of that team is lefty.


See for yourself!  Tune into hockey — Olympics or NHL.


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