Tech & Test Review: CCM RBZ SuperFast Sticks
Back in 2012, CCM announced a multi-year partnership with Taylormade who is an innovative-leader in the golf industry. The original CCM RBZ Stick was the first product to be come about from this new partnership and it was immediately accepted by NHL’ers; including Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Fast-forward two years and CCM is now preparing to release their third generation RBZ stick, named the CCM RBZ SuperFast.
SpeedPocket Blade Technology
Debuting in the first generation RBZ stick and continued in the CCM RBZ Stage 2 was hockey’s first foamless and hollow blade core. Traditional hockey sticks use a sort of carbon reinforcement that runs heel to toe with foams filling in the rest. The philosophy behind the hollow blade design is directly linked to Taylormade’s golf driver technology, which aims to create as much power as possible off of a hot or lively blade face.
CCM and Taylormade use the Coefficient of Restitution (C.O.R.) to measure how fast and how efficiently a puck accelerates off of the blade. According to CCM, “C.O.R. is also known as the trampoline effect which is the measurement used to determine the amount of energy return at the point of impact.” Literally using a trampoline for an example, a trampoline with a higher C.O.R. would launch someone higher into the air compared to a trampoline with a lower C.O.R.; because the higher the C.O.R., the more energy and power is returned at the point of impact. Now bringing this concept back to hockey, the blade with a higher C.O.R. shoots the puck harder and faster once contact is made.
With this new RBZ SuperFast Stick, CCM knew they wanted to generate more power than they ever had before. The best way they could do this was to increase the C.O.R. in the blade and that’s exactly what they did, by 50%.
The previous Stage 2′s blade featured one long Freak Channel that wrapped the edges with a singular Freak Channel running directly through it. The new SuperFast features a similar construction called the SpeedPocket but it eliminates the middle channel to leave just the long, wrapping SpeedChannel around the edges. According to CCM, the new SpeedPocket design generates 50% more C.O.R. than the previous Stage 2, resulting in even more deadly power.
For those who may have not had the chance to use any CCM RBZ stick yet, you might be wondering how do these foamless and hollow blades stick handle. I’ve been lucky enough to use all three generations (RBZ, Stage 2 and SuperFast) and I can truthfully say if I didn’t know they were foamless, I wouldn’t have ever thought twice about it. Personally, I’ve always liked a very lively or “hot” blade face, which is a big reason why I really liked how the SuperFast stick felt when I got to test it out in Montreal. If I had to relate the puck feel to another company’s stick, I’d say the SuperFast’s blade reminded me of the Easton Mako and Mako II blades. Pucks literally jump and pop off the blade for powerful snap and slap shots. Stickhandling-wise, it’s hard to put into words but the puck moves very fast side to side. It’s right up my alley and it’s the style I like, everyone has their own preference, but I’m not big on a dampened puck-feel in the blade.
Constant Flex Profile – Custom Kick Point
After listening to player feedback, CCM understood the flex profile is golden where it’s at and it didn’t need to be changed or updated. For those who may not know, they CCM RBZ sticks have a flex profile unlike any other stick on the market. The original RBZ, the Stage 2 and now this RBZ SuperFast stick feature a constant stiffness profile throughout the shaft. Most other hockey sticks have strategically manufactured “flex zones” that force the stick to primarily flex at that location, giving it either maximum power (mid kick) or fastest release (low kick).
With this given constant flex profile, it gives players a customized kick point that can change depending on hand placement. When a player moves their hand towards the blade and they take a hard slap shot or one timer, the flex profile acts as a mid kick stick providing maximum shot power. When a player wants to get the puck off in a hurry and doesn’t move their hand down towards the blade, the stick reacts like a low kick stick and provides a lightning quick shot release.
As I was shooting the SuperFast stick around, it felt more like a mid kick rather than a low kick stick to me in terms of how it felt when it flexed. I was easily able to load up on big slap shots and one timers like a mid kick but it still gives you a wicked quick shot release, especially on snap shots because you take full advantage of the flex profile and the SpeedPocket Blade.
Overall, I’m very excited for this CCM RBZ SuperFast Stick. I was a big fan of the original RBZ and this new SuperFast reminds me a lot of it, but better. With the foamless, hollow blade, it has an awesome balance point that feels excellent in the hands. Like I said earlier, I’ve always liked a lot of pop and liveliness out of a blade and the SpeedPocket is the epitome of just that. The best part is that most of these technologies trickle down into the rest of the line, which includes the RBZ 150, RBZ 130 and the RBZ 110.
These sticks are finally available for pre-order, you can following the link below to check out the complete product pages with detailed descriptions, video reviews and insight video talks with CCM’s own Category Manager of Sticks!