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.
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:
The Reebok RibCor hockey stick is definitely unique because it’s the first pre-loaded hockey stick ever constructed. This means that the fibers are already in tension, creating optimal energy transfer into every shot. This concept may seem a little strange and perhaps because the typical notion is that all sticks are already “pre-loaded”?
Reebok designed the RibCor sticks with a geometric mold that already places the fibers in tension, allowing players to maximize each shot. Therefore, players can quickly release a shot that is backed by some fast-action pop. The pure fiber one-piece construction eliminates any overlapping material in the lower shaft and reduces overall weight. This offers a more consistent energy transfer providing a maximum shot release. The RibCor shot technology has been used in the NHL for quite some time now, making it game proven and ready.
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.
CCM RBZ Stage 2
8 months ago, CCM & Taylormade took the hockey world by storm with the introduction of the CCM RBZ and pretty soon we started seeing a lot of NHL players Strap a Rocket to the Puck (RBZ Tagline). For more information on that stick, check out the RBZ blog. It’s no surprise that the stick quickly grew in popularity and it didn’t take very long to see RBZs in nearly every locker room. Looking to build off the success of the RBZ, CCM & Taylormade will release the CCM RBZ Stage 2 in July . The Stage 2 has already seen NHL action with top players like Gabriel Landeskog of the Avalanche & Toronto’s Nazem Kadri. So let’s take a look at what CCM and Taylormade improved on with their second shot at the RBZ.
A couple months ago I wrote a short term review for the Easton Mako II stick right after its release (I would recommend reading that since this is simply an add-0n to the previous blog. Click here to read). After I broke my CCM RBZ, I turned to the Easton Mako II Grip 85 Flex with the E28 curve for full time use.
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.
Easton kicked off the new year with new 2013 Mako products. A few days ago, they took an already successful stick and brought it to the next level. The first time I picked up the Mako II my immediate reaction was the weight, or more importantly the lack of it. Last year’s Mako weighed in at 462 grams and while it wasn’t necessarily heavy, the Mako II is noticeably lighter weighing 429 grams. Visually, Easton toned down the all-white look and brought the orange and black into the mix. I really like the look of the new Mako and when you think about it, it is is pretty smart on Easton’s part. On the forehand side, the shaft is white all the way down to the blade and the blade itself is completely black. So from a goalie‘s perspective, the white part of the shaft is harder to distinguish from the white of the ice and boards and the black blade makes it difficult to see the puck. Read more…
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce you to the Limited Edition Bauer APX hockey stick! This bad boy has all the same specs and technologies as the original APX hockey stick, but with a blacked out color scheme. The large Bauer logo on the side of the shaft is in a bright pearl white, so it really stands out and looks sweet. The APX Limited Edition shaft has the popular TeXtreme® construction and Monocomp technology that makes this stick as lightweight and responsive as possible. The flex profile utilizes the premier dual taper for exceptional torsional deflection and shot control. The Vapor line’s signature Intelli-Sense shot technology provides for a “variable” flex point to allow for maximized loading for quick wrist and snap shots. The APX LE hockey stick comes in grip and non-grip, so be sure to pick one up at Ice Warehouse. Read more…