The biggest difference between the Ai stick line and the SicKick stick line will be the flex profiles. As many are aware the hockey sticks in the Reebok SicKick line has focused on an extremely low kick point for a quick shot release. This type of shot release works especially well for wrist shots and snap shots. Reebok has designed the Ai stick line with a mid flex point, instead of the low kick like on the the 11K stick. With a higher flex profile the shot release is not quite as fast, although, it allows the stick to store more energy and can deliver a more powerful shot.
Reebok recently invested in a new machine that scans every inch of a hockey stick and produces a report with the exact specs of the entire stick, including flex profile, carbon weave, and so on. Using this technology Reebok selected several different NHL player hockey sticks and found that 60% of them were using sticks with a mid-kick point. The R&D process also showed that many NHL player sticks had stiffer top and bottom walls then the two side walls. To further expanding on this design Reebok has introduced the 2:1 Power Taper Ratio. The 2:1 ratio is that the top and bottom walls are twice as stiff as the sides. According to Reebok this design allows for effortless loading and maximum power transfer/stability.
Reebok has continued to use their Pure Fiber technology, which is Reebok’s process of creating a true one-piece hockey stick that was featured on the 11K hockey stick. This construction process eliminates the need for additional over-laps in material, where the blade would be fused to the shaft. As a result, Pure Fiber Technology allows for a lighter, more balanced stick. A true one-piece stick will also have a more responsive feel because there is less obstruction between a players hands and contact with the puck. A new feature from Reebok on the Ai stick line is the Tactile Griptonite™ stick coating, which takes the Griptonite™ coating and adds some additional texture, for increased stick control. Adding texture to the hockey stick shaft appears to be a growing trend, with almost every manufacturer having their own variation.
Reebok has also added a new blade core to the Ai 9 stick which they are calling the Xlerated Blade. The Xlerated Blade is a new highly reactive foam bare combined with an added layer of extra stiff carbon on the blade surface provide more direct power. Another tip Reebok learned from their NHL players, is that they want a stick that is dark toward the blade to make it easier to pick up on the puck. Apparently, some of the Reebok pros included Datsyuk would spray paint the bottom of the stick black to increase visibility. As a result Reebok has used a matted black finish on the lower portion of the stick. The bottom and sides have the red graphics and flash but from the players perspective it is very dark and clean. The matte black was a big hit with the pros, although Reebok was a little concerned the matte black blade would not receive the same response from consumers. Reebok added a window on the blade to show that they are still using the high-end carbon fiber weave through out. You can also see that on the Ai 9 stick Reebok is using the same Dual Matrix weave that features a different weave on the front and back of the stick for increase pop.
Datsyuk apparently has become a quick fan of the Ai 9 stick and is said to be using this stick next season, and actually took a couple shifts with it in the Sharks and Wings series in last years playoffs. As a result looks like Dats will be the poster boy for the Ai line while Crosby will remain as the face of the SicKick series. The Reebok Ai 9 stick and rest of the Reebok Ai stick line will be available for pre-sale 9/1 and has an estimated in store arrival of 10/15 at IceWarehouse.com and InlineWarehouse.com