Left-handed, Canadian, or just BS-ing?

Here’s a little thing that was related to me by a boss I used to have, who was in fact a right-handed Canadian. I was wondering if Unca Cece, a venerated SD staffer, or if any of the teeming millions, could comment on this for me.

It seems that though a right hander, he played many games, such as golf and baseball, left handed (he throws righty, though). He claimed that it was his “natural” way to play, as a Canadian, and that 90% of Canadian righties infact play sports like golf and baseball “lefthanded.”

His explanation was thusly: Since a Canadian’s first sport is hockey, from a young age he/she is taught to hold the stick in the most natural way, with the control hand close to the fulcrum, i.e. the right hand on the end of the stick. Logically, this translates to a “left-handed” baseball and golf swing. Americans, it seems, play baseball first, and so learn the correct way to swing a bat is to put ones control hand higher on the bat, i.e. this makes them left-handed hockey players.

Now, I had taught myself to play hockey, and have been playing both hockey and baseball since my earliest sporting memory (my dad taught me both, he was an American, but an avid self-taught hockey player as well) and the “Canadian” style of holding a hockey stick seems unnatural to me. My girlfriend, who has never played baseball, however, confirms my bosses story by playing hockey the “Canadian” way, saying it feels more comfortable to her, a righty, to use a “left-handed” hockey stick.

Compounding the mystery (which is by no means solved in my mind) is the problem that hockey sticks have “left” and “right” clearly printed on them, but the “left” stick corresponds to the lefty baseball players hold (i.e. the “Canadian Righty” hold my boss claims to account for the high sale of left handed golf clubs in Canada). I say “AHA… Americans have it right, and my bos sis just a great BS-er…” Not quite, he counters, the designation indicates not the handedness of the intended user, but the curve on the blade, a Canadian righty would therefore use a left curved blade?

Now, if I haven’t bored the everyone reading this into a stupor, my question is this: Is my ex-bosses story truthful, or is he just a phenominal BS-er? That is, do Canadians really play American sports backwards and visa-versa due to the baseball/hockey bias? Or is he full of it?

Huh? If you’re right-handed, you use your left hand as the fulcrum, closest to the end (nearest your body) of both a baseball bat and a hockey stick. The right hand is the “power” hand in both types of swing.

Then again, maybe I misunderstood the question.

in response to nickrz:

This was HIS explanation, not mine. But his explanation (when I countered with very similar logic) was that when you properly handle a hockey stick, you want whatever hand you can control better to be the hand on the butt of the stick, and with righties this means the right hand. Your lefthand, in this paradigm, is purely for power, and where as the power difference in the two hands is less significant than the control difference in the two hands, you sacrifice a little power for a lot better control. As a natural defenseman, I do a lot of 1 handed stick play, and do admit I find myself using solely my left hand to control the stick, a less-than-ideal situation, as a righty. Also should be noted that the power situation only comes up in a slap-shot, which despite its impressiveness is useful only in limited situations. With a proper wrist-shot (of which I am incapable, hense “natural defenseman”) or a good directional pass, the secret lies (or so I’m told) in the hand on the end of the stick. I must admit that my lack of wrist shot has alot to do with my inability to get my left arm to do what it is supposed to. (BTW, a true wrist shot is said to be one of the hardest things to do in any sport, trust me it is. The physics of it are mindboggling, and when done correctly it is a thing of beauty). So it boils down to again: power conscious Americans: right hand in middle of stick. Finesse conscious Canadians, right hand on end of stick. But I STILL would like to hear something from people with more hockey experience than I (i.e. Canadians).

My husband is from Canada. Plays hockey. Is right handed. Shoots left.

My husband is from Canada. Plays hockey. Is right handed. Shoots left. OK. Went to an expert. (Him). He says the majority of hockey players shoot right, no matter where they are from. Leftys are rare, it’s just a prefrence. Your strong arm in any sport is supposed to be your outside arm-but I guess sometimes it just feels more right(?) the other way. Now I’m a lefty, and use my right hand for sissors. So I guess it is just what is more comfortable.

I hesitate to post this, because I’ve never played hockey. I have, however, watched plenty.

In hockey it’s advantageous for the left winger to play lefthanded, because most of his passes will be to his right, and most passes to him will be coming from his right. If he plays lefthanded, these passes will be on his forehand. Right wingers are usually righthanded for the same reason. The left defenseman almost always plays lefthanded too.

A hockey team usually has 4 left wingers and 3 left defensemen in its 20-man roster, so for about 35% of hockey players should be lefthanded. Since only about 10% (I think) of the general population is lefthanded I would guess that coaches of kids’ teams would encourage some naturally righthanded players to play lefthanded.

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Huh? If you’re right-handed, you use your left hand as the fulcrum, closest to the end (nearest your body) of both a baseball bat and a hockey stick. The right hand is the “power” hand in both types of swing.

Not according to all my gym teachers :-> They had us hold a baseball bat with (I’m a rightie) the dominant hand towards the ‘business end’ of the bat. Likewise golf, the right hand goes lower on the club (closer to the business end). Supposedly this gives you more power, since you’re not really treating the thing completely as a lever; you’re moving the entire stick through the air as a line, and you want to have the hand more able to control it, closer to the wider end of the arc. I know I get more control batting as I was taught, than the other way round (as you seem to be describing). They taught us to hold hockey sticks the same way, and I found it kind of awkward. Just another data point. :->

There’s a related question to this…
as a left-hander myself, I’ve never felt comfortable holding the stick or the bat left-handed, but always right-handed, and this seems to be true for most left-handers I know. Yet statistics claim that left-left is more common… am I just messed or is this the corollary to the phenomenon we’re currently discussing?

Here’s another: my brother, an AMERICAN rightie, plays baseball left-handed (batting and catching). Since he was never really “taught” to play, he just kinda picked it up playing with other kids, one would assume that this was a natural inclination. Strange, I think.


The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
– Henry David Thoreau

I am Canadian, I am right handed and I shoot left, bat left and golf left. When playing hockey almost everything you do with the stick is done mainly with the top hand, this includes shooting. This is especially true of the wrist shot which may explain your problems jayron, all the power comes from the top hand. When taking a slap shot the right hand becomes the bottom hand when the stick is raised and you generate power by pulling down on the stick in which case the hand on the butt end does most of the work. This motion feels natural to me also when swinging a golf club or a baseball bat. When skating it is normal to have only one hand on the stick, this hand is obviously the top hand and a rightie would feel more comfortable using only his right hand. The only time the bottom hand is more important than the top hand is when taking a backhand shot, this may explain why so few players have a good backhand. All this being said my brother is also right handed and he shoots right, so really it comes down to what works for you. Regarding Manduck’s statement about righties being forced to shoot left, more players shoot left than right. The reason the right winger is generally considered more important than the left winger is that more center’s are shoot left putting the right winger on his forhand.

Thanks Vlad! I finally have another data point for this conundrum. I never actually disagreed with my boss, I was just wondering if his logic was true. My personal intuition was “no” but I have a bit of information pointing to the fact that leftie is the most natural way for a righty to play hockey. I’ve tried it, and it feels very awkward, but that may be just because I have a different bias… Or it may be more complex than a direct corelation to your righting hand.

I guess I still don’t understand the question. Forget about one-handed stick play, forget about ambidextrous players, forget about “natural defenseman,” forget about fulcrums, forget about “control hand,” and forget about slapshot vs. wristshot.

A truly right-handed player uses his right hand as the power hand (farthest from his body in relation to the “stick” end closest to his body) in both hockey and baseball. If
your friend’s explanation (as I understand it) were to hold true, you’d have right-handed right-wing offensive hockey player approaching the net from the right making what is essentially a back-handed shot? Or a right-handed baseball player batting with his left hand uppermost on the bat and using the left hand and arm to pull the bat backwards through the swing? By the same logic, your friend has us right-handers masturbating left-handed because we have more “control” that way? I offer an emphatic “bullshit.”

I just can’t make any sense out of what seems to be a needlessly convoluted question.

I’m a right-handed Canadian and I play no kinds of sports at all, unless you consider fast-dancing, walking, and sex to be sports.

I am another Canadian. Trust me. Many ‘truly right-handed’ hockey players shoot left. Maybe most.

I’ve had a hockey stick in my hand. It’s both control of the puck and shooting that you have to manage.The right hand controlling the end of the stick controls the finer movements.Eh?

Oh, come on, Vlad. Most hockey players are right handed players. Do you really play?

Most players do not shoot right. Look through any NHL teams roster and you will find that well over half the players are left handed shooters.

I based my comment on the two hockey sticks I had as a kid. Now I’m a little confused.Do they play right handed, then switch the stick around to shoot from the other side?

Only when they are playing in the southern hemisphere, sunbear. :wink:

I’d give my left hand to be ambidextrous.

Might not the dominant eye play part in this? I know of plenty of ball players who are right handed and bat left. Personally, I am right-handed but I shoot a bow left-handed. Besides, aren’t left-handers from another planet anyway?