The Pure Hockey Stick Challenge

Pure-Hockey-Stick-Challenge

More than anything, we are hockey players too. If you’ve ever shopped in one of our stores or on our website, we know it can be pretty overwhelming to see the myriad options for hockey sticks. Even we will admit it’s kind of ridiculous sometimes. Even the sticks at the elite level (let’s call it $230 or above), there’s 10-12 different options between brands. How the heck do you make sense of it all?

Looking for the results? Check it out: Stick Challenge Scoreboard

Oh, you could read all the marketing material that the vendors produce. Sometimes it all sounds the same, though, doesn’t it? I mean, how many times have you heard that THIS is the stick that will increase your velocity? Or make your stickhandling somehow improve magically? Does Patrick Kane’s fancy stickhandling give you ANY sense of how that stick feels in your own hands? Does Claude Giroux’s ability to shoot pucks into a bucket give you a better sense of your own accuracy? Does Pavel Datsyuk’s ridiculous puck control ability convince you that Reebok is just the stick for you? We’d argue no. No way.

Technical specs and product descriptions are certainly a piece of the puzzle, but really what matters is this: how does the stick feel in your hands? Does the puck go where you want it to go when you shoot it? Does it flex the way you’d like it to? Those are really and truly what should influence your buying decisions. Not pretty pictures or viral videos.

With that in mind, we got it into our heads a while back that we should ask the vendors (Bauer, Reebok, CCM, Easton, Warrior and Sher-Wood) to send us some of their elite sticks – with no markings whatsoever. We were a little nervous to ask because we knew the first question they would ask — WHY. Sure enough, almost all of them asked it. The only two who didn’t ask us why was Warrior and Sher-Wood – they sent us blacked-out sticks right away, no questions asked. Pat on the back for them!

Bauer and Easton asked why and we told them our plan. They immediately sent us the sticks. Much appreciated.

CCM/Reebok declined,. Now, to be fair, we can’t really black out a Ribcor because of the ribs on the shaft – anyone is going to look at those and know its a Ribcor. We would have liked a 20K, but Reebok declined. Since they are the same company as CCM, we were also told not to expect any blacked-out RBZ’s either. No real reason given. Easton – same thing.

But we really wanted blacked out Easton and CCM sticks, no real stick test can occur without those two heavyweights involved. So we went to the local hardware store and purchased some matte black spray paint and just spray painted them. We weighed both sticks prior to and after painting and surprisingly there was no difference in weight. Voila! We had our five latest, elite level sticks, all blacked out. The list:

Bauer APX2
Warrior DT1-LT
CCM RBZ Stage2
Sher-Wood EK15
Easton V9

Note: we had to eliminate the V9E due to the elliptical shaft – again, too easy to spot the difference there and we wanted this to be as anonymous as possible.

Armed with 5 sticks of relatively equal specs – flexes in the mid-80s, all roughly the same as the most popular curve (Kane) and cut to the same height, we set out to do some TRUE testing. In our initial set of sessions, we grabbed five players from Southern New Hampshire University’s men’s team and two of our store managers (Danvers MA and Nashua NH). In our second set of sessions, we gave the sticks to the Boston Junior Bruins. We interviewed each player before each session and asked them what stick they currently use and why – then we sent them on the ice with their blacked-out beauties for some shooting. Afterward, we interviewed them again about which one they liked the best.

This is the Pure Hockey Stick Challenge. We hope you enjoy it. We sure did. We’ll be releasing a series of videos in the coming weeks and months detailing each player, their session and their choices.

Then we’ll really see which stick(s) resonate with players.

We hope you enjoy it! Here’s video #1, with Nashua NH store manager Rick Stuart.


Pure Hockey Exclusive: Easton V9E VT Hockey Stick

Easton-V9e-VT-Custom-Stick

**UPDATE: The Easton V9E VT Stick is out now, and is available exclusively from Pure Hockey! Choose your size: JuniorIntermediateSenior

Classic Inspiration

Remember the Original Synergy? Changed the game, right? The first one-piece composite. Stupidly light compared to everything else out there at the time and a lightning quick release. Well, it came out 15 years ago! I know that comes as a shock to many of you, as some of us feel that, remembering a time without one-piece sticks. And you younger guys and probably shocked that there was a time when hockey sticks were made from trees.

The Original Easton Synergy Stick

The Original Easton Synergy Stick

To celebrate the crystal anniversary of the composite stick, we sat down with Easton and decided we wanted to do something that no one else was doing – something cool and unique.

Our goal was to create something with the latest technology and performance while paying homage to the original and popular Easton Sticks from over the years.

This stick was a long time in the making, as it will have been close to a year from start to finish by the time it launches in mid-November. The original iteration of this stick was intended for release as an RSII. You can see the yellow under our lovely marker edits on one of the first prototypes. If you have to do arts-and-crafts, there’s really no better way to do it than with hockey sticks, right? We went back and forth with design ideas and little enhancements, trying to perfect this stick. It took so long that eventually the RSII was no longer Easton’s flagship stick! We considered the idea of releasing a “last RS ever” type stick, but nixed that as well.

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Composite Hockey Stick Weigh-In – Fall 2013

So it’s that time again, a bunch of fancy new composite hockey sticks have been released, so it’s time to weigh-in. Another weigh-in, another clean sweep for Bauer, says a lot about their composite technology. All sticks weighed were 85 flex, and P92/E3 pattern or the equivalent.

And the lightest stick this fall is…..

1)   Bauer Vapor APX2                                   419 Grams

2)   Bauer Nexus 1000LE                                   420 g

3)   Bauer Supreme TotalOne NXG                  424 g

4)   Reebok Ribcor                                              426 g

5)   CCM RBZ Stage 2                                         429 g

6)   Easton V9                                                      432 g

7)   Sherwood T100                                             441 g

8)   Easton V9E                                                   442 g

9)   Warrior Covert DT1 LT                              467 g

10) Sherwood 5030                                           641 g

Just for fun, we weighed a Sherwood 5030, one of the more popular wood sticks ever. The 5030 weighed in at 641 g. Almost 200 g heavier than the heaviest stick on the list for this weigh in. That’s almost a HALF POUND!!!

So at the end of the day, Bauer is still champ, taking the win, place and show for this weigh in, but Reebok and CCM kept it extremely close and had an excellent showing themselves. Another surprising stat was the two Easton models being 10 grams different.  The Warrior Covert DT1 LT came in last, significantly heavier than the rest, but keep in mind that Warrior sticks are built about 3-4” taller than most other brands.


Easton Mako Hockey Skate Review

So a couple of us in the office have been wearing the Easton Mako skates for a while now. Jeff for about 3 weeks and myself for couple months.As with many people considering new skates, it took me some time to even convince Jeff to test the Mako’s out, but once they are ready for the ice, they have a way of making their own case.

Being how different a skate they are in style, design and performance it came up as the subject of an email chain and we ended up discussing our multiple first impressions of the skate. the impression we got upon first being shown the skate, first trying it on, after baking the skate and finally when stepping out on to the ice.

Easton Mako Skates: Out of the Box Impressions

EASTON MAKO HOCKEY SKATE

JC: When I first saw them my gut reaction was “what? Are they serious? This is going to come in other colors, right?”

KS: Yeah, when I first saw them, they were really out there. They were just so different looking from anything in production. Not just style-wise, but the shape and cut of the boot. It was clearly something different. I wasn’t a huge fan of the look, as far as the orange flashes and the silver heel, but they definitely stand out, which isn’t a bad thing.

JC: Then after I looked them over in detail, I really had no idea what motivations were behind the whole removable tendon guard and the elevated height on the backend of the holder. It was just visibly…very different and when you get something that is so much different than what you’re used to, I think its just instinctual to have the adverse reaction I did. Remember how different the iPhone was when it was first introduced?

KS: Are you comparing the Mako Skates to the IPhone?

JC: Hah. No. It won’t be that revolutionary! But in terms of how different it was. Kind of a shock to the system.

KS: I know. You can tell when someone on the ice is wearing them! My dislike of their orange, coupled with extreme boredom one night, actually led me to take it upon myself to do a little color redesign on my pair, as pictured here…

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