Composite Hockey Stick Weigh-In

Stick Weigh In

By Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing

Over the course of the past few years, the battle to produce the lightest composite stick has raged on between all the major hockey manufacturers. During this time, companies have all looked for ways to tip the scales – pun intended – in favor of their own sticks. So how is it possible that all the manufacturers produce graphs, pie charts and lists that their sticks are undeniably THE lightest on the market? Somebody is right. Right?

Well, in light of that,  we decided to have our own little weigh-in with some of the top model sticks, using a Dymo Digital Scale. In all, we took 9 top-end sticks, all in the same 85 flex and all in a comparable blade pattern. The attempt was to give our customers an even and fair basis for stick weights. Let me note that stick weights should not, by any means, be your only criteria for choosing a stick. But we DO think this will be helpful piece of info for you.
So without further ado, here are the results, from lightest to heaviest:
7.Easton Mako 464 g

Click here to see our entire selection of composite sticks.

 

So as no real surprise, the Bauer Vapor APX came in at the top spot as the lightest stick, with the new Nexus 1000 just 1g heavier. Now, just to ease your mind, the difference between #9 at 474 grams and #1 at 420 grams shouldn’t really alarm anyone here – in my opinion, only the most discerning could probably pick up a stick and really feel the difference in weight. Still, it’s fun and interesting to do these exercises from time-to-time and a lot of people ask us about stick weights, so we think this is helpful.

 

My biggest surprise was the Sherwood Nexon 12, coming in 3rd – and only four grams heavier than the APX! With a price tag of only $189.99, the Nexon 12 is a great, light stick for the money. I wonder if Sher-Wood was mad when Bauer launched Nexus, given Sher-Wood has had the Nexon sticks out for a good while now? Hmmmm.

Easton RS Hockey Skate Review

By Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing

Having fallen in love with my S-17 skates over the past few years, I get excited whenever Easton is releasing a new skate model. I got to demo the EQ50’s just prior to their release a couple seasons back and I was pretty let down. They were real bulky and not particularly comfortable. This doesn’t mean EQ50 skates are bad for you, they just didn’t work for me.  So when the RS hockey skates were coming out, I tried to keep my expectations in check a little bit. Having said that, I can tell you that after a couple of game in them, they are my next pair of skates. I knew it after wearing them for about an hour.

The RS skate impressed me right out of the box. It is a real sleek, sharp looking skate. They were really comfortable as soon as I put them on – and yes, I caught some crap for wearing them around the office the rest of the day, but hey, I was excited and they were that comfortable.

When I first laced them up for a game, I didn’t tie the top eyelet, mostly out of habit. I do this to allow myself some more forward flex, as I don’t like when a skate is so stiff that it restricts my stride going forward. Within minutes of hitting the ice, I could tell there was too much play in the ankle for this. The RS has a lower profile and once I tied it to the top, it was perfect – a great amount of forward flex, combined with excellent lateral stiffness and response. I love a stiff skate and the RS is stiff and responds great on strides.

I’ve been getting high ankle cuts on my last couple pairs of skates from abrasion on tight/hard turns, so Easton’s new comfort edge feature really interests me. I like the idea of that type of protection and it has been a great addition to skates like the TotalOne and TotalOne NXG, even though I haven’t truly been able to test how effective the feature is.

On the back end of the skate, Easton put in a new injected tendon guard that is very strong and helps your foot to recoil on strides. You can really feel the extra support. On the inside of the skate, Easton added extra foam padding inside the tendon guard for a little extra comfort. Although I am used to a much thicker felt tongue, the RS’s felt tongue is really comfortable and has no signs of lace bite. There is also a little extra padding in the front, in case you take a slapshot  off the laces.

New to the RS skate is Easton’s Giro SuperNatural Fit footbed system. This comes with three sizes of adjustable arch inserts. This is a good idea, but in practice is a little gimmicky, there doesn’t feel like there is a big difference between the smallest and largest inserts.

My main issue with the skates is the Razor Bladz elite runner. The holder itself is great, it is very stiff, responsive and extremely light. The Elite steel runner is the issue, it’s just too weak for me. I can feel it give and bow as I make tight turns or hard stops. Remember, though, issues with blades are very personal and subjective – the Elite runners may be just fine for you, this is really a personal thing with me.

Overall the RS skate really really impressed me – I really love it. Barring some ridiculous new unannounced skate being released, the RS will be my next skate.

Have a look and order yourself some right here.

…..and here’s my video review:


Easton Mako Hockey Stick Review

 

By Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing

So the Easton Mako stick officially comes out this Saturday, April 7th, but I got to use it a little bit early to review it. See all I do for you guys!!?? Okay, perhaps, just maybe, a little bit for myself, too. Ahem. Those of you who are excited about its release, you should be!! Hell, people who have never played hockey should be excited about this stick. Easton has done it again.

As I’ve implied in past reviews, I am a pretty loyal Easton guy – gloves, skates, bucket, sticks – but the last Easton stick I used that wasn’t a part of the Stealth family was a Si-Core, circa 2007. Picking up the Mako, it has a different feel to the shaft than the RS, but I actually liked the way it felt in my hands.
Cut to the ice. The Mako made its debut in our Men’s league championship game last week. First thing I did was grab a puck and just stick handle around a bit, it has great feel to the blade. I really could tell where on the blade the puck was and I liked that a lot. I’m honestly not sure how much the Z-Tac coating  helped (that sandpaper like finish on the blade that people are buzzing about), but I definitely like the way the blade felt. I felt that Easton tried to walk a fine line with this feature; it was not smooth, but also not as rough as you see on a lot of pro stock sticks. Not a bad move by Easton, as it could turn some players off, but I’d prefer to see it all the way or not at all. I will say that passes came off extremely smooth and I felt I had a LOT of control of the puck.

 

The stick is weighted extremely well; Easton’s focus on quickness has definitely paid off. I hate for a stick to be light for the sake of light and I also hate when there’s nothing to the lower end of the stick – it just makes handling the puck a nightmare and it just doesn’t allow the player the needed feel. Those kind of sticks make me feel that there’s just a shaft with no blade in my hands. The Mako was a bit weird in this sense –in the best way possible – handling the puck, it felt very light and I could move the blade very quickly, but it wasn’t so light that I was over-handling or that it felt too light. A true accomplishment by Easton.

 

The next thing I noticed about the Mako with my gloves on was the grip. I loved it. I mentioned in my review of the RS that I felt the grip was way too grippy, and the clear was too slippery. The clear version on the Mako – my normal preference – was not so slick that the stick spun in my hands. A very happy medium.

 

Shooting with the Mako was the real treat. I had a bit of trouble getting used the curve, my demo was Easton’s Cammalleri pattern that I haven’t used in a few years. But I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, want me to try out an unreleased stick? Don’t have my curve? No problem. When I started using it, it wasn’t going where I expected it to, but I could tell it was going where I aimed it. The puck absolutely jumps off the face off the blade. Once I got used to having less of a hook, I was placing the puck a lot better. The stick feels so stable. Super-smooth release and as I tweeted to Easton, the one word to describe the stick is “pop,” — and a lot of it. The puck comes off the blade very true – and very hard. It is a different feel on the release from the RS, the kick point is clearly higher, but I felt that I could really lean into it and release. I could really feel the energy transfer through the stick from my hand to release.

 

Overall I have to say I really have enjoyed using the Mako, smooth passes, a blade that is light but still has great feel to it and shots that feel like they are jumping off the stick. Start getting excited folks.

You can order the Mako right here.


Easton S17 Hockey Skate Review

By Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing

S-17 Long Term Review

Models I use:-

1)  S-17 Black Custom, size 9.5, regular stiffness boot, Tuuk LS2 Holder (LS2 then LS3 Steel, 9 Ft Forward Radius), extra-long felt tongue, Vibram Rubber Toe Cap

2)    S-17 Black Custom, size 9.25, extra stiff, double composite wrap boot, Tuuk LS2 Holder (LS3 Steel, 9 Ft Forward Radius), extra-long felt tongue, uncovered composite toe-cap

I first got the opportunity to skate in the Easton S-17 Skates in June of 2009 during a demo skate put on by Easton. As you guys have probably caught on from reading these reviews, I’m a bit of an equipment nut and June 2009 was a pretty good month for me as I happened to be looking for new skates and I got to demo Bauer, Reebok/CCM and Easton within a few weeks of each other.

In that month I got to skate in the then-new Bauer Vapor X:60, CCM U+ Reloaded, and Easton S-17.  At the time I was playing in Bauer Vapor XXXX’s and was so pumped up to try out the X:60.  While the X:60 was comfortable and performed well, a couple  of weeks later I was blown away after skating in the S-17. Before skating in them, I would have never even considered buying a pair of Easton Skates, as they had a reputation for breaking down quickly and the few pairs I had had on my feet  (including a pair put on my opposite feet by a friend during a training session, that’s a story for another day though) didn’t feel very comfortable. The Easton rep at the time told me that improving the durability was a huge goal for them in designing the S-17, and after a few minutes on the ice, my mind was totally changed.

I immediately couldn’t believe how comfortable the skate was. I could feel the padding around my ankle a lot more than with the Vapor XXXX’s and my heel felt very locked in to the back of the skate. Out on the ice, I couldn’t believe the performance, the stiffness that I always look for in a skate and the great responsiveness. The thing that struck me as impressive wasn’t the performance – my XXXX’s performed well too, as did the X:60 – it was that performance paired with great comfort. It is rare to find that combination – my Graf’s were comfortable, but not very responsive. The Vapor XXXX’s were stiff and responsive, but not comfortable. The S-17 was both.

I ended up ordering a custom pair a couple weeks later, and got them just before the season in the fall. I had a few of my own little customizations, longer tongue for comfort and a nice flop. I had TUUK LS2 holders put on because I am most comfortable with them. The steel on Easton’s Razor Bladz holder is slightly narrower and, to me, it is noticeable and feels a less stable, so I went with the LS2. I eventually got the opportunity to use the LS3 steel, which I have been using ever since. It’s a taller steel – more sharpening life and room for custom profiling and it also has a more aggressive pitch to it, something I really look for.

When the skates came in, they were shipped to our Danvers, MA store and on the drive up I was giddy as a kid going to sleep on Christmas Eve. I knew when I got to the store there was something special waiting for me. I was skating that night, and I didn’t even heat mold the skates, that’s how comfortable they were. I sharpened them up and went to practice and these things were game-ready from the get go. I did eventually heat them after a few skates.

The thing I noticed in the first few weeks of skating in them was the comfort closely followed by the energy transfer. No lace bite, no cuts on the outsides of my ankles and my ankle genuinely felt padded and surrounded. What I mean by energy transfer is the noticeable difference in how quickly and powerfully I could change direction and I could really feel the skate reload as I stopped and started.

Since then, both pairs of S-17’s that I have had have been extremely dependable. I was a bit nervous before getting them with the horror stories I had heard about Easton skates that they breakdown quickly and fail often. I had seen my friends S-15 that literally had a hole that you could touch his foot through. So I was a bit nervous about how they would hold up. And I can say that I have had no complaints, they have actually held up slightly better than my Vapor XXXX’s. They have some minor cuts and scrapes but nothing out of the realm of normal wear and tear.

I really have had no complaints about the S-17’s – probably the reason I bought a second pair even after trying out several other newer models. The great part of the S-17 is that I always know what I’m going to get from them. Excellent response, great stiffness and very comfortable, there’s not much more to ask for in a pair of skates. My personal pairs have a few modifications that add some weight versus the retail model, but they are still extremely light.

Overall the S-17’s are the best skate I have owned in a long time and they are what I’ll be skating in for the foreseeable future.