Grays GX CE Junior hockey stick review

When I first saw a Grays GX CE Junior hockey stick, what stood out was the awesome bow in the shaft of the stick. The specification reads (and I’m sure it’s right) that the Grays GXCE Junior stick has a subtle 22mm curve, high up in the stick.

Seeing it in the hands of a 9 year old though, the curve looks very professional and you can definitely tell it is there.

We think it’s really important for kids to get used to hockey sticks with bows as early as possible. This Grays GX CE Junior hockey stick is a great way of doing that, even for the smallest children.

If you’ve never bought Grays before, what can you expect from the GX CE

I’ll be surprised if you are a parent buying for your kid and haven’t played with a Grays stick before. If you are an older Junior considering Grays for the first time, here’s a little of what you can expect from the Junior GX CE model.

Strong, solid, sturdy are 3 words that really describe Grays sticks right across the board, and the Junior GX CE lives up to stand expectations.

To be honest, when I got hold of this Junior Grays GX CE hockey stick I thought it might be a little too heavy for an 7 year old. It’s not so much that the Grays GX CE Junior stick is heavy, just healthy.

Obviously as a Junior hockey stick it’s not a huge carbon content stick but the Grays GX CE makes up for the power loss of fibre glass with a very solid construction. 6 months in I’ve noticed it has certainly improved the power of passing from some of the kids who have them in my group.

What ages kids can have the Grays GX CE Junior stick?

Benefiting from being a big hockey brand, Grays are able to offer the GX CE Junior hockey stick in 1 inch size increments from 28inches up. Which is awesome really, it gives children hockey players the option to get exactly the right size hockey stick.

Because of the range of sizes you can buy the Grays GX CE Junior hockey stick, kids from 6 years old, right through to teenagers could play with the Grays GXCE Junior hockey stick.

Definitely consider the Junior GX CE hockey stick for kids of 7, 8, 9 & 10. Dependent on how much experience the kids have (and their height of course), it would be worth considering higher carbon fibre hockey sticks for Juniors in U12’s and up.

Summary review of the Grays GX CE Junior hockey stick

For me I would say the Grays GX CE Junior hockey stick is one of the best buys for kids in U10. The bow is perfect, enough for them to notice it and adjust their game to playing with a curve, subtle enough not to totally distract them.

For older kids, the Grays Junior GX CE is a great option for newer players, those who defend more often than attack and for kids who go through 2 sticks a season (it’s pretty good value at under £50).

The designs are super cool looking and you get a lot of stick for your money.

When should kids start to have a bow in their hockey stick?

As children develop their skills as field hockey players, should kids have a bow in the stick they use? And when is a good time to introduce hockey sticks with a bow to children playing field hockey?

Hopefully this article will help you choose the best time to buy a junior hockey stick with a bow.

When did bow’s start to appear in hockey sticks?

Since the 1990’s hockey sticks started to be made from different materials, other than the wood they had been made out of up to then.

These new materials, such as fibre glass and carbon fibre, allowed for field hockey sticks to include a bow or curve in the shaft. This curved shaft of hockey sticks helps with a number of aspects of play.

More common in the modern game since the introduction of these shaped hockey sticks, ‘3D’ skills are now important on the field. ‘3D’ represents the ability to play with the ball in the air, instead of just along the ground of the field.

These skills include aerial passing, dribbling while lifting the ball slightly above the field, penalty flicks and of course the ‘drag flick’ so many aspire to when shooting during a penalty corner.

Also, though, a bow in the stick helps to create more ‘slingshot’ type power from push passes, and also helps to bring the ball under control when trapped, especially when the hockey stick is upright ‘posted up’.

When will kids need to introduce these skills?

Exactly at what age to start introducing field hockey sticks with a bow to help children develop these skills really depends on the child.

It wouldn’t be essential to choose a junior hockey stick with a bow for a kid just starting out in field hockey. It won’t do them any harm, however a straight stick is a little easier to start out with as it feels longer and helps with hand to eye coordination.

As kids develop through the ages of 9, 10 and 11 years old, their matches might start to be played on bigger pitches and this is a time they would benefit from the extra ball speed a junior hockey stick with a bow will produce.

Once they hit 12, 13, 14 years old, they will want to start introducing the more intricate ‘3D skills’ described about in to their field hockey game.

What type of bows are available in junior hockey sticks?

There are a couple of factors that effect the type of bow available to children for the hockey sticks.

First decision is the extremity of the bow. Mainly the curve in a junior hockey stick can be between 18mm to 25mm. Obviously the closer to 25mm the more extreme the bow will be, and the more adjustment the child with have to make to their hitting and dribbling to accommodate the bow.

For younger children just getting a feel for a hockey stick with shape, try to select a stick with a lesser extreme bow, around 18-22mm is great for them.

Once they have had a junior stick or twowith a subtle bow, you might want to push yourselves and move to an even more extreme bow. Most junior hockey stick brands will offer a 23-25mm bow for the kids who are really progressing.

Second decision is the position of the bow. The top of the apex of the bow will be in slightly different positions from stick to stick. Often referred to as either ‘low bow’ or ‘mid bow’ the position of the curve makes a difference to the feel of the kids stick.

‘Mid bow’ junior hockey sticks normally have a bow at 300mm or higher from the ground. This offers the benefit of a bow, while keeping the lowest part of the stick slightly straighter, this helps with hitting the ball and keeping it on the ground. If you play mainly in defence and/or pass more than dribble, this position will suit best.

‘Low bow’ junior hockey sticks might have the apex of the curve at 250mm or lower from the ground. These kids hockey sticks will offer even more assistance with 3D skills like dribbling and flicking the ball in the air. They will be harder to control hits though.

How to check whether to get a stick with a bow?

I would recommend speaking with your coach about whether you need a bow in your junior hockey stick.

Otherwise just observe your game,  position on field and what kind of situations you are coming up against in games.

Because almost all adult hockey sticks have a fairly extreme bow these days, I would suggest that as you move in to teenage years, you really should be using a hockey stick with a bow and with a carbon heavy material composition junior hockey stick so you are preparing for adult sticks.

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Complete list of junior hockey stick manufacturers

Review the best junior hockey sticks by picking the best hockey stick manufacturer or brand.

Most of the big brands in hockey have a set of options for children’s sticks. Although not every hockey stick brand has a junior option, so to make it easy for you to review the best hockey sticks, we thought we would put together a list of the best brands.

First of all, we will review the more established hockey brands, ones who’s sticks you will see on almost all pitches across the world.

Kookaburra Junior hockey sticks – Kookaburra are one of the best know hockey stick brands and have a range for kids. Disappointingly though, Kookaburra only offer wooden sticks for smaller children with Kookaburra composite kids hockey stick only starting at 35 inches.

Adidas Junior hockey sticks – adidas is obviously one of the best sports brands in the world and their hockey sticks are well known in the hockey world. adidas have a range of kids hockey sticks including some wood and fibreglass material hockey sticks for children. Beside that Adidas also known as the big brand about Hockey Gloves. Especially hockey gloves for 2020.

Grays Junior hockey sticks – Grays is a massive name in hockey and their sticks are used by some of the best players in the world. Grays have a massive range for children, particularly some of the best hockey stick choices for older kids, looking to use a stick with a bend and different material compositions for the first time.

TK Junior hockey sticks – The German brand TK make some of the best quality hockey sticks and offer a range for kids. This range is smaller than Grays, however they do include options with mixed material composition and bow shapes from progressing children.

Gryphon Junior hockey sticks – Gryphon are a big Australian hockey brand and you will find them on most hockey pitches across the world. They also have a popular range of hockey sticks for children with their kids options including bow shapes and mixed material options.

It might be unfair to label the following hockey sticks brands any less good for children, however I’m breaking them out as the less established, or maybe a fairer description is ‘challenger brands’ because they are newer and slightly less common. That said they have some great junior hockey stick options so don’t rule them out when you review.

Osaka Junior hockey sticks – Osaka are well established now and have some great hockey sticks for children. Review some of the best designed sticks for kids as well as a great mix of features.

STX Junior hockey sticks – STX children’s hockey sticks are also one of the best established of the newcomers. Great quality sticks from the USA which last a long time and have a good mix of options for kids hockey.

Mercian Junior hockey sticks – A niche hockey only brand from the UK, Mercian kids hockey sticks are available in a range of material compositions and introduce new features for older children to help with game progression.

Ritual Junior hockey sticks – Another niche and fashionable newish dedicated hockey brand, Ritual make some great sticks and have a small range of sticks for children. They have some high spec kids sticks with high carbon content and bow shapes.

Voodoo Junior hockey sticks – If you are comfortable introducing your children to the concept of ‘Voodoo’ this brand has a couple of junior option hockey sticks. Their smallest sticks are 30 inches so no need to introduce the little ones to Voodoo.

Mazon Junior hockey sticks – Mazon are actually a well established hockey brand from Australia and offer a good selection of kids hockey sticks right across the world.

Brabo Junior hockey sticks – A relatively new brand from the UK, Brabo are really starting to make an impact on the pitch. They have one of the largest ranges of children’s hockey sticks and have some really good specifications. Kids everywhere are starting to choose Brabo, I see them being carried to school more and more.

Byte Junior hockey sticks – Byte started out with just a range of budget sticks but now have some good quality, fair priced hockey sticks. A great brand to start kids out with junior hockey sticks.

Browning Junior hockey sticks – This is a funny brand, lots of sticks around but you can’t find anything out about the company behind them. From what I’ve seen the sticks are reasonable quality, they aren’t top end but for the price they sell at they would certainly not do any hard for a kid who grows out of sticks every season!

There are other brands out there but these are the junior hockey sticks you see most as you look to review the best for children hockey.

Brand is only one consideration to review when looking for a kids field hockey stick, check out our other articles on the important things to review before you buy a junior hockey stick.

Here are some good places to buy kids field hockey sticks

Aratac Junior hockey sticks of 2017

If you are looking at hockey stick options for your children, you may not recognise the name Aratac. If you are a kid looking for a new hockey stick it’s very likely you see a lot of the Aratac brand on field.

Relatively new, however really well established in the UK and expanding all the time in to Europe and beyond, Aratac are what I love about a hockey brand, run by hockey people.

Maybe it’s because they are new(ish) Aratac make a great range of Junior hockey sticks, so when today’s kids are parents they do not ask the same questions.

What has Aratact got for kids in 2017?

Both featuring in our 2017 on the Best High Carbon content Junior Sticks the Aratac NRT 3D J and the Aratac LBT 700J are the top of the Aratact kids hockey stick range for 2017.

Starting with the Aratac NRT 3D which is only newly released, Aratac is really giving more experienced kids some of the advanced features which will push their game on towards adulthood.

With a 45% carbon content, the NRT 3D can add a lot of power to hits and the open profile, low bow and concave groove in the head and lower shaft of the Aratac NRT 3D Junior hockey stick helps with those super cool 3D skills we all aspire to perfect.

Including the same 45% carbon content and low, deep curve in the shaft, the Aratac LBT700 Junior hockey stick is still top of the line for kids. Aside from the 3D features (which aren’t right for every child), this kids hockey stick from Aratac is really high spec.

Available from 34inch length, the NRT 3D and LBT700 Aratac Junior hockey sticks are going to suit children 4ft 9inches (145cm) tall, which matches the high specification of these Aratac sticks suiting older children.

How about Aratac for younger kids?

Available for progressing kids, Aratac have four other Junior hockey stick options.

For the really small children, the Aratac AXR10 Junior hockey stick (available in Blue or Pink) is a great place to start. Fully fibreglass construction to get kids to start feeling the ball and available from the very short 24inch models. At only £15 this is a great starter hockey stick for young children.

The first hockey stick with a little bit of carbon fibre is the Aratac RAV315 Junior hockey stick. This both introduces a slight curve and a little carbon to help kids around the age of 9 or 10 when they start to play matches on slightly larger pitches.

A great option for a carbon Junior hockey stick without to many complicated features or massive price tag is the Aratac Zip 25 hockey stick. An impressive 30% carbon fibre will give plenty of extra power to make longer passes and the low bow of the Aratac ZIP25 Junior hockey stick will help kids start to work on 3D skills, as well as posting up to incoming balls.

Summary of the 2017 Aratac kids hockey stick range

I’ve been super impressed with the Aratac sticks my juniors bring to training. They feel really crisp and noticeably help kids increase power when hitting longer passes.

In my opinion you can’t go wrong with a brand like Aratac who are in the business because of hockey, not just money. The increasing number of Aratac hockey sticks on the field shows they must be getting a good following amongst children.

The top end Aratac Junior hockey sticks are really high spec and, compared to others, great value for money, really worth consideration for young teenagers showing signs of high levels of skill.

Grays Junior field hockey sticks review of 2017 range

By far the most expansive with 22 different sticks available, and impressive in terms of range of features, there is a lot to review about the Grays range of hockey sticks for children in 2017 to 2018 season.

I recently bought my daughter a GR4000 Grays junior stick and was seriously impressed. Then when putting together this 2017 review of the whole Grays range I was surprised (in a good way) with the depth of specification options available for kids from Grays hockey.

This is a serious hockey stick brand with a real commitment to the game, and, looking at this review of the 2017 Grays Junior hockey sticks you should see what I mean!

Where is the best place to start with the Grays junior hockey stick review?

This was the question I had to ask myself when sitting down to write the overview review of this years amazing range of kids hockey sticks from Grays.

It seemed sensible to start with what the different model groups are in the entire Grays junior stick range. This simplifies the review in to 3 main groups of Grays kids sticks.

Grays GR range of Junior hockey sticks

Top of the shop if you like are the Grays GR model kids hockey sticks. The GR range is taken from the adult models, which use a fancy carbon rich resin to hold the various core materials of the hockey stick together.

It’s fantastic to review this level of hockey stick manufacturing technology is available in sticks aimed at children.

Admittedly the Grays GR Junior hockey sticks are only available from length 33inches up (just one of the range is that small) and most of these kids sticks start from 34 inches. This means they are only really going to suit kids of 12+ years old.

However, this gives them the chance to get used to the weight and power generated by carbon sticks, as well as introducing them to the vibrations caused.

Here’s the key specs and where we have them, reviews, of the GR kids hockey stick range from Grays:

Grays GR7000 Junior hockey stick review – 90% Carbon, 10% Aramid, Low bow at 200mm up from heel, Micro head shape.
Grays GR5000 Junior hockey stick review – 70% Carbon, 20% fibreglass, 10% aramid, Mid-bow at 300mm up from heel, Micro head shape
Grays GR4000 Junior hockey stick review – 50% Carbon, 40% fibreglass, 10% aramid, Mid-bow at 300mm up from heel, Micro head shape

Grays GX range of Junior hockey sticks

Grays GX model hockey sticks are the standard across adults and juniors. These model sticks have been available for a few seasons now (although the 2017 range has updates on previous years) and are very reliable for quality.

Only some of this Grays GX range of kids hockey sticks are available for small kids, some of the GX-CE models and the GX2000 are available in 28-32inch models. More choice for older children with good options for material compositions.

The only slightly disappointing thing to review about the Grays GX Junior hockey stick range is despite the number of sticks there’s only a couple of choices of shaft shape. Not a massive big deal for young kids and just means the older children need to move up to the GR sticks.

Grays GX3500 Junior hockey stick review – 25% Carbon, 75% fibreglass, Mid bow at 300mm up from heel
Grays GX3000 Junior hockey stick review – 20% Carbon, 80% fibreglass, Ultrabow 22mm at 300mm up from heel
Grays GX2500 Junior hockey stick review – 15% Carbon, 85% fibreglass, Ultrabow 22mm at 300mm up from heel
Grays GX2000 Junior hockey stick review – 100% fibreglass, Ultrabow 22mm at 300mm up from heel
Grays GX-CE Junior hockey stick review – 100% fibreglass, Ultrabow 22mm at 300mm up from heel – The GX-CE is available in a number of different designs but are all the same specification (Sunset, Summit, Bahama, Nevada, Patrol and Prowl)

Grays Wooden kids hockey sticks

For the small kids or those starting out, Grays have a small choice of wooden sticks for children. With size options as small as 24 inches, these are a great choice for kids to get started with hockey.

Grays ALPHA Junior hockey stick review – 100% wood, Ultrabow 22mm at 300mm up from heel
Grays Rogue Junior hockey stick review – 100% wood, Ultrabow 22mm at 300mm up from heel
Grays Revo Junior hockey stick review – 100% wood, Ultrabow 22mm at 300mm up from heel

What’s the best shaft shape from Grays hockey for children in 2017?

Possibly the best thing about the Grays Junior hockey stick range in 2017 is the choice of shaft shapes. As you progress through hockey your skills will start to favour having a bend in the shaft of the stick.

There are 3 different shaft shape choices for the Grays Kids hockey sticks of 2017.

Grays Ultrabow shape sticks for children feature a subtle 22mm curve in the shaft at 300mm up from the heel. This shape will suit most kids, in particular younger children and are available through all the sizes.

Grays Mid-bow shape sticks for kids have the same bow position of 300mm up from the heel as the Ultrabow, however these are slightly more curved with a 24.75mm bow. Really good shape for kids progressing their experience with more adult style play.

Grays Probow shape is only available on the top end GR Junior hockey stick. This is low bow and will suit older children to challenge their skills of 3D dribbling and flicking.

All in all

Grays are a great international hockey stick brand and their commitment to offering a big range for kids is impressive. I’d say the best full range available in 2017.

I think children will need to have a little experience to want or need a Grays hockey stick but starting to get in to sticks with a bow and carbon content is essential for progression of skills in hockey.

Junior Grays GX2000 hockey stick review

There is a ‘girls’ and a ‘boys’ version of the Grays GX2000 junior hockey stick and while I review the pink/purple version (because that’s what my youngest daughter has), I’ve checked it closely against the blue Grays GX2000 and it’s exactly the same.

I wanted to get my youngest daughter a stick with a decent bow when she moved in to the U8’s (she was 7 years old at the time) and during the review of a few sticks around I found the Grays GX2000 Junior hockey stick.

As a bit of a lowbow freak myself I wasn’t particularly excited to review the Grays GX2000 junior stick only had a shallow 22mm curve, high up in the shaft. However, as you might review yourself, for the real small kids there is no real option for really low curves, so the pink/purple colour swung it for her.

What is the Ultrabow shape like on Junior Grays hockey sticks?

As I mention earlier in the review the Grays Junior GX 2000 hockey stick has the Ultrabow shape shaft, which looking at specification alone doesn’t compare to some of the extreme bow shapes we see in adult sticks.

However for younger kids this is actually a great introduction to playing with a shaft bow on their hockey stick.

It is not a subtle as the specs suggest and when the kids are holding it, especially when they are trying to scoop up the ball, it really does seem quite significant. Without being awkward. I’ve noticed an improvement in my 7 years olds ability to lift the ball.

Is the Grays GX2000 kids hockey stick heavy?

In my experience, Grays adult hockey sticks do seem a bit heavy. While the GX2000 junior stick is all fibreglass it is not heavy. I must admit though we had a Osaka junior hockey stick previously and that was lighter, however the Grays GX2000 is certainly manageable.

Of course the benefit of any ‘more sturdy’ children’s hockey stick is that they can increase the power of their hits. Less swing and more power is helping kids with their passing and shooting ability.

Also worth mentioning in this section of the review is that the Grays GX2000 junior hockey stick feels like it will last. Yet another hand-me-down for the younger sister. It’s build well and feels like my 7 year old will outgrow it before she breaks it!

Summary review of the Grays GX2000 kids hockey stick

This is a really good kids hockey stick. It’s such a good price it really has value for a good season or two. The curve from the Ultrabow shaft shape is a fantastic start on kids getting used to a bow stick and its sturdy construction definitely helps harder hitting.