2014 is finally here and everyone is still talking about the epic OD1N project that showed how hungry Bauer is to lead the industry in innovative hockey gear technology. Leading up to their experimental OD1N project, Bauer hosted an event called Bauer World where attendees are shown the new 2014 retail hockey equipment lines by the corresponding product designers and developers to help fully explain the new technology. This year’s Bauer World was the biggest to date, unveiling for the first time a wide variety of advanced and technical hockey gear that will leave everyone from the gear junkies to the hockey purists asking for more.
Coming to Bauer products in 2014 is a new technology called 37.5™ by Cocona. This new feature will be in select Training Apparel, Team Apparel, Base Layer and Protective Equipment models. 37.5™ dries base layer and protective equipment liners faster and more effectively than the competition, allowing players to put more energy into their game instead of expending energy to keep their body cool.
The game of hockey has greatly evolved over the past 10 years and so have hockey sticks. Back in the day, choosing the right stick to you came down to which brand had your curve. These days, kick points are a big highlighting feature to consider when making a purchase so we will be discussing which type of a player should choose low-kick’s and which type of a player should choose mid-kick’s. For those who might not know yet, the kick point of a hockey stick is the location on the shaft that flexes most. Traditionally, hockey sticks had a mid kick point because the shaft had a constant stiffness rating from top to bottom (i.e. wood hockey sticks) but now with advances in composite materials, engineers can stiffen certain places on a hockey stick as well as soften certain parts of the carbon fiber to direct the stick in the desired location to flex. Mid kick hockey sticks flex near dead center between the top of the shaft and the heel of the blade where as low kick hockey sticks flex closer to the heel of the blade rather than the center point of the shaft.
Low-Kick Hockey Sticks
If you’re in the market for a new hockey stick, this is a great time of the year for you. In the past month or two we have seen flagship Bauer Vapor APX2’s, CCM RBZ Stage 2’s, Easton Velocity V9’s and V9E’s, Mission Stir D1’s, as well as Reebok Ribcor’s. The fine people over at Bauer and Easton were so kind to hook us up with demo sticks to try out, so we grabbed our gear and headed to the nearest sheet of ice to see what all the hype was all about. Here’s what we tested:
Back in 2011, Bauer released their new line of Vapor sticks that featured the top of the line Vapor APX stick: the successor to the ever so popular Vapor X60. This APX did quite well, especially at the professional level offering the quickest shot release out of the Nexus, Vapor and Supreme stick families. Bauer now looks to further this success with the introduction of the newest Vapor stick line that will showcase the Vapor APX 2 as the flagship model.
Throughout the 2012-2013 NHL playoffs, many have seen the all-black hockey sticks with a small white Easton logo located near the bottom of the shaft. Well ladies and gentlemen, this is the 2013 Easton Velocity hockey stick in disguise (see the picture below). Easton blacked out these models so that players would be unbiased about the looks and could get a true feel of how the stick performed. The final look will be the dark Stealth-style graphics with exposed carbon fiber, and different accenting colors depending on the model.
Mission is back at it again with an array of new gear being released.
Mission Inhaler Helmet
Mission took the Bauer 5100 helmet and redesigned it specifically for the inline hockey player with the fact that roller hockey rinks are on average 26 degrees hotter than ice rinks in mind. Due to this, numerous ventilation ports in the front of the helmet and exiting air vents in the rear insure great airflow during the hottest of games. The other great inline-specific feature is the Hog Sweat Band. It is an easily removable sweatband that “pops” into two vent holes that can be seen in the interior of the liner. The Hog Sweat Band is not necessary to use so it can be taken out if desired, if it needs to be washed or even replaced. One of the best specs about the Mission Inhaler Helmet is that even though it may be roller specific, it is completely certified to be able to be used in any ice hockey league.
For players, we have a whole new line of Supreme protective gear; including shin guards, elbow pads, shoulder pads, ice pants (adaptable core) and gloves. For Nexus, we see new gloves that took over the 2012 4-Roll line as well as new line of ice pants that took over last year’s Supreme Pants. The first helmet of the new IMS helmets (Impact Management System) is released as well, called the IMS 9.0. Last and not least for players, the much anticipated new Vapor Skate Line including the APX2 has arrived as well.
For goalies, we have a re-introduction of the well-known Reactor line that includes catchers, blockers, sticks, ice skates, and leg pads. For facial protection, goalies get a new line of masks known as the Concept Line.
The Boston Bruins are off to their best start in 36 years and on Sunday, February 24th they can thank Zdeno Chara for his beautiful goal to put them up 2-0 in the first period against the Florida Panthers. The defenseman stands tall at 6’9″, so amazing dangles aren’t typically expected from him, well that’s not the case any more. Chara took a backhand pass that was behind him from Brad Marchand, performed a counter-clockwise spin-o-rama to create space and roofed a beautiful backhand shot beating Jacob Markstrom glove side. Whether the spin or the backhand shot was more impressive is irrelevant, but the fact Zdeno did it so smoothly is the icing on the cake.
Now let’s take a look at what gear Zdeno Chara used:
New for 2013, Warrior is introducing a new family of mid-kick sticks called the Dynasty line to complement the low-kick Covert stick line. The flagship stick from the Dynasty line is the AX1 and it features excellent technologies to maximize it’s performance.