Western Conference Finals – The Pure Hockey Equipment Breakdown

By Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing

 

Earlier this week we went over the gear battle between the Bruins and the Penguins in the Eastern conference final. Your feedback was awesome, so we were inspired to head over to the Western Conference to match-up the Kings and Blackhawks. We could give you our thoughts on the actual games, but for that you’re way better  off heading to some actual hockey experts – we’ll stick to what we know, which is hockey equipment.

We took a look at some major categories (gloves, sticks, skates, helmets and goalie gear) to see what all the players are wearing. Just like in the East, Bauer Hockey pretty much dominates the landscape, again coming in with 47% of the total gear worn by both teams. CCM/Reebok comes in a close second with 38%, split evenly at 19% per brand. Easton fell behind, carrying only 9% of the total gear in the Western Conference Final. Rounding out the rest was Warrior Hockey with 6%, while Winnwell and Graf represented 1% each.

Sticks: CCM took their first team lead in a category, tying Bauer hockey, who has Patrick Kane using the new APX2, as the leading stick used by the Chicago Blackhawks, with 26% per brand. That’s what happens when you release a stick as hot as the RBZ has been this season. Bauer dominated the Kings roster however, capturing 42% of the team and nearly doubling the total put up by 2nd place Easton at 23%. Reebok finished as the middle manufacturer on both teams, managing high teen percentages on each. Warrior Hockey came in last on both teams, their Covert DT1 being slightly more popular with the Hawks. Worth noting is the spread of stick makers on either team, the Kings with a leader of 42% and last place at 4%. The Blackhawks had the same leader with Bauer, but at only 26%, with Warrior carrying the smallest share – but not terrible – behind at 13%.

Gloves: Bauer takes a dominant lead in the Kings locker room with 58%, more than tripling 2nd place Reebok at 19%. For the Hawks however, Bauer came in 3rd with 22% even with Jonathan Toews rocking the new Supreme TotalOne NXG gloves. Coming in first was Reebok at 30%, followed by Warrior with 26%. Unfortunately for CCM and Easton, they came in 4th and 5th respectively, on both teams with under 15%.

Skates: Not surprisingly, Bauer with their three top model skates – the Vapor APX2, Supreme TotalOne NXG and the Nexus 1000 – came out way ahead. Bauer came away with a staggering 85% of the Kings in their boots, and 65% of the Blackhawks. Reebok came in second on both sides of the ice, with 8% of the Kings, and 17% of the Hawks. On the Hawks side, CCM matched its sibling Reebok and the 20K skate at 17%, while only managing one Kings player wearing skates. Graf also made an appearance, with one Kings player donning the distinctive neon yellow. Easton and their new Mako skate will not be making any appearances in the Western Conference Finals this season, even though they have some great technology to offer.

Helmets: Buckets was a very interesting category in the WCF. In the Kings room, Bauer represents half of the lids with CCM and Reebok tying for second, capturing 23% each. This is undoubtedly due to the popularity, comfort and protection of the Re-Akt and the IMS 9.0. On the other side of it, 48% of the Blackhawks are wearing CCM. The CCM V10 and V08 have one of the best looking shell designs on the market, a big selling point for NHL Pros. Reebok has 17% of the Blackhawks between their 11K and 7K helmets. Easton came in 4th with both teams, protecting 9% of the Hawks heads, and one single King. Warrior had one player on the Hawks and, ironically, zero actual Kings wearing their Krown 360 Helmet (cue the drum — ba-dum-bum…tshh). Get it? Kings? Krown?

Goalies: On the Kings side, starter Jonathon Quick wearing Vaughn can only boost them into second place with 25% behind Back-up Jonathon Bernier’s full CCM set-up putting them at 38%. In a tie at the bottom with 13% each came Warrior, Bauer and Reebok. In the Hawks crease, Reebok dominates with 75%, blowing away the other two brands. Brian’s makes their only appearance in either conference, Ray Emery’s full set up giving them a respectable 17% showing. Warrior is the only other brand represented between the Hawks pipes with 8% of the total gear.

How we compiled this: We grabbed the rosters from each team’s respective websites and then we went hunting for recent pictures. Most of the images we compiled this data from are pictures from the last week or so. If it was a player who hasn’t seen playoff action, we grabbed a picture from their last NHL game or AHL game if they haven’t seen any NHL action yet (reserve callups, for example). It was a good excercise and very interesting!

You can download the full size graphic right here and see it in a much larger, clearer size. Study it and share it all you want! We’d love to hear your thoughts. What surprised you? What didn’t? What SHOULD players be wearing?


Bauer Nexus Protective Gear Preview

Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing

 

Bauer’s new protective line for 2012 is the Nexus 1000 series. This line was designed 100% based on customer feedback to Bauer, from pros all the way down to beginners. They wanted more classic, wider-fitting protective equipment, so Bauer went and designed the Nexus line, which is a volume fit all the way through, from the shin pad, the shoulder pad, and the elbow pad. It features Bauer’s new EPP foam construction, which is a lightweight EPP foam and posesses superior impact-dispersion properties compared to previously used foams, while still being lighter. The Bauer Nexus 1000 Shoulder Pads feature that lightweight EPP foam and they designed the chest panels to be in different pieces, so it won’t be one big piece. This won’t restrict your movement, but will still be very protective. They have the poly bicep guard, which has a nice hard plastic for impact absorbance, so if you take a slash or a hit from some dirty hacker, it’ll be nice and protective for you. The shoulder caps are anatomically designed, which means they are designed to match the shape of your shoulder, so they will sit more flush and be a lot more comfortable. They also won’t sit too high or look goofy. The back pad, along the spine and down and through the abdomen by your kidneys, will feature that same lightweight EPP foam, with poly inserts all over them for a little bit more protection. Finally, the inside of the entire pad features Bauer’s THERMO-MAX+ liner which will wick away moisture keeping it nice and light during the game.

 

Next up is the Nexus 1000 Elbow Pad. This elbow pad features Bauer’s anchor strap and it’s a really comfortable strap that holds dow nicely, it’s adjustable and not at all like the pads that have the straight sling in them that you’re sliding your arm through with no adjustment. Very nice and comfortable. It has that lightweight EPP foam and poly insert on the forearm wrap, and then it’s a hard plastic, covered elbow cap. Again, this features Bauer’s THERMO-MAX+ liner to wick away moisture and keep you nice and dry and cool down during the game.

 

The Bauer Nexus 1000 Shin Pad features an anatomical design in their shell. It’s has a poly shell up in the knee and down in the shin. The shin has some slight little ribbing to it which will provide a little bit stronger of a structure and allow for it to take a little bit more of a beating. On the back is the calf wrap, with lightweight EPP foam and a poly insert just for a little bit more protection. Similar to what you saw in the elbow pad, it has this kind of anchor strap – it’s called the shin sling, which will be a little bit more comfortable strap to keep your shin pad nice and tight to your leg. This pad also includes the stretch Velcro straps – what Bauer added is adjustability; there are 2 different spots you can put it in for each strap, one higher and one lower. It’s just going to be a little bit more of a comfort thing and you can customize the fit a little bit more. On the inside, it’s got a pro mesh liner, which actually is completely removable.  It’s a really breathable liner, and it’s also nice, you can take that thing right out and throw it in the wash and your bag won’t stink quite as bad as normal. This pad is actually very similar to something I was wearing for a long, long time, the old Bauer Vapor 10 shin pads, which I was wearing when it was the top model pad. It’s got that nice wide fit, a very similar design on the shell, and it sat back on my knee very well, a nice wide surface for shot blocking. I just loved those pads and this pad really reminds me of those old Vapor’s, especially that really breathable liner and it’s got a nice hold in the knee. This pad, like I mentioned with the whole Nexus line, was designed by basically player requests. And this what all the players were looking for, something that fit like that old classic style shin pad, a little bit wider face, a nice deep fit and that’s what they did for the Nexus 1000 shin pad.

 

So that was the Nexus 1000 line, and for those of you interested in that, you may also be interested in the Nexus Pro line, it’s exclusive to Pure Hockey. It shares most of the same features as the Nexus 1000, with the nice limited edition black color. As you can see, it’s got the same adjustable straps, removable liners, anchor straps, the shoulder pad has the same thing, it’s got that triple bicep pad, so again, the Nexus 1000 line, and the Nexus Pro line, available at Purehockey.com and all Pure Hockey locations.

Here’s a video we did recently, so you can see the Nexus 1000 line with some close-ups. Let us know if you have any questions!


How To Clean Your Hockey Equipment

Smelly Hockey Equipment

There is nothing more unique to hockey than that fresh-out-of-the-locker room smell. While this stench can occasionally illicit incredible memories of game-winning goals and locker room celebrations, it is in no way an incredible thing. This smell is actually caused by bacteria that grow from the sweat, blood, common soil and other gross stuff that builds up on your equipment over time. If left untreated, these bacteria could potentially become very dangerous (not to mention the smell will only get worse). It can cause diseases and spread illness from player to player. Bacteria like to find cool, moist places where it can multiply and grow. While there are many professional cleaning companies that have expensive machines to clean your equipment and kill these bacteria, there are simpler (and cheaper) procedures that you can do at home that will help to reduce the risk of dangerous bacteria…and the smell.

 

The first and most important preventative measure that you can do is to air out your equipment as soon as possible after playing. This means emptying out the entire bag and letting the equipment air dry. If you can hang equipment to allow better air access that is preferred but laying equipment on the ground in an area with good air circulation will work just fine. Dry off the blades and holders of your skates and take the inside liners of the skates out so that air can reach the inside as well. Regularly spray your skates with a disinfectant spray to kill bacteria. To disinfect your helmet, wet a towel with warm water and apply a small amount of soap or shampoo to the towel. Take this soapy towel and wipe down the helmet completely. Be sure to wipe down the facemask taking special care to clean the chin cup. We recommend using tear-free shampoo in case you are not able to wash off all of the soap residue and some gets in your face the next time you play and sweat (non-stinging eyes leads to more goals). After the soap is applied and scrubbed in, use another wet towel to wipe away all of the soap from the helmet.

 

Skates and helmets require special attention when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting. As for the rest of your equipment, we recommend you follow these 6 steps every week or so to reduce the risk of bacteria build up and to help with the smell. You will be soaking your equipment so it is extremely important that you plan ahead and leave enough time after the cleaning for your gear to dry completely before you have to use it again. Here are the 6 steps that we have found to work:

How To Clean Your Hockey Equipment

 

Step 1: Fill a bathtub or large sink (large enough to fit all of your equipment) about 1/3 of the way with hot water. You will be putting your hands in the water so make sure it is not too hot to touch.

 

Step 2: Add about ¼ cup of laundry detergent to the tub as it is filling making sure that the detergent spreads and mixes into the water.

 

Step 3: Put all of the hockey gear (minus the skates and helmet) into the water. Be sure to dunk the gear so all of it is exposed to the detergent/water mixture. Let the gear soak for 30 to 45 minutes.

 

Step 4: Drain the tub or sink and clean out all of the soap. Rinse all of the equipment with clean, room temperature water to get all of the soapy residue off of your gear.

 

Step 5: Wring out any excess water and hang up all equipment to dry. Be sure to hang the gear in an area with good air ventilation so that it can dry in a reasonable amount of time.

 

Step 6: Spray and wipe down the empty hockey bag with a disinfectant spray. Make sure the bag and equipment are completely dry before re-packing your bag.

 

We recommend that you go through this process once a week or once every couple of weeks. Jerseys and socks can go in the washing machine but do not use the dryer in case of shrinking. Special attention will need to be given to jerseys and socks with logos or bright colors. Airing out equipment after every use is crucial as a preventative measure. Professional equipment cleaners are not necessary but usually have machines to kill bacteria and minimize smell. If your equipment is older and was not well-kept, this more intense method may be useful.

 

Hopefully these simple steps will lessen that smell that all non-hockey players complain about. We are sure that it will help to kill the bacteria on your equipment and, in the long run, will help to prevent sickness and diseases and keep you on the ice and playing the game we all love.

 

 
Have you had any luck getting the smell out of hockey gear? Let us know what your experience has been with it in the comments below!

 

Special thanks to: Hockey-University.com and LiveStrong for inspiration.

‘What’s In My Bag?’ with Kyle Stevenson

By Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing

Today I’m writing something a little bit different. Instead of doing a review, I decided to make this post a little bit interactive and hopefully you guys will jump in and participate. I love the fact that you guys read these posts and hope you have as much fun reading them as I do writing about gear. Being such an equipment guy, everything in my bag has some special meaning to me and most of it has been in there for a while. You all know the old question about how if the house were burning down, what would you go grab? Well, my first trip in is to get my hockey bag and the second would be to grab my golf clubs – my girlfriend is a pretty smart chick, I’m confident she could find her way out….but please, nobody tell her I wrote that!
So what’s in my bag?
Skates:  Easton Stealth S-17 Custom

As I wrote in another post, I love these skates. I’m currently on my second pair. They are comfortable and perform as well, if not better, than anything I’ve ever worn. They are very light and look great. No complaints about them in three years.

Helmet:  Easton E-700 w/Oakley Pro Straight Visor

Another product that I have written a previous review for. What I will say is I wrote that review a month ago and thought that after writing it, I would go back to my old helmet. But guess what? I am still wearing it. I never thought I would seriously consider changing helmets, but the E-700 has me considering it.

Usual Helmet: Bauer 4500 w/ Oakley Pro Straight Visor

I have been wearing the 4500 since it was a Nike, I was in 8th grade when I got it and I have gone through about 6 of them for various teams. It is comfortable and looks great. Like any helmet, when worn right, it is protective. This is my favorite helmet ever made and I never thought I would change it. I haven’t worn anything since 8th grade, besides a few demos.
Gloves: Easton Synergy Custom Pro (BU and NYI)
Here’s another product that I have been wearing for quite some time. I was wearing them in high school, and was lucky enough to have them be one of my options to choose when I got to the Boston University club team. My BU gloves are now closer to the end of their lives then to the beginning and after much searching, I found a pair that were the same specs, so I bought them instantly – hence the ugly Islanders colors! The reason I like these gloves so much is the huge range of motion – I have always been a fan a nonrestrictive glove. These are really easy to move around in, soft palms, great feel on the stick and are really protective.

Elbow Pads: Jofa 9025

These things are classic! I’ve had them forever, to the point that I need to tape them on because the straps are so stretched out. I have tried to replace them and the replacements didn’t last a month. They have almost nothing to them – no bicep pad, no fancy material – just some hard plastic and a forearm wrap. They aren’t the most protective things in the world and – cards on the table – I’ve hit bare elbows when they move during a fall and I’ve also  taken a couple slashes that they didn’t really help me out on, but I wouldn’t trade the mobility they offer for anything.

Pants: Nike Pro BU 

Until I got to BU, I had worn only Tackla girdles from 7th grade through High School. I hadn’t considered going back to pants, until about halfway through freshman season when I made the switch. These Nikes are just stripped down, again no bells and whistles, just padding and some breathable inside material. Incase you haven’t caught on to how I generally pick my equipment; mobility is the first thing I look for. These have a lot of it.  They are a really simple two-piece pant, like most pro pants, the upper and lower are two totally separate pieces, which is why you see a lot of NHL guys with totally different color kidney pads from the rest of the pant – its usually not a shell. It is kind of a shell, the difference is the pads are in it and the whole thing snaps into the upper piece.

Shin Pads: Easton S-19 Shin

This is the piece of equipment that it has taken me the longest to finally replace. Up until my Junior year of college, I wore 13” Bauer Vapor 10 Shin pads. Not the lower model, the actual pad (which I got in 8th grade) from when Vapors only went up to the number 10. I tried on everything, but I could never find a pair of shins that my leg sat deep enough in and nothing contoured to my leg right. I finally tried the S19 and they sat like I wanted them to, felt comfortable and didn’t move around on my legs as I skated. The S19’s are really comfortable and a lot more protective than my Vapor 10’s. The only issue I have with these is the hard plastic calf wrap, which occasionally catches on the tendon guard of my skate. Other than that, they are great pads.
 

Shoulder Pads: Farrell H600

I have now moved on to the ranks of men’s leagues and have abandoned shoulder pads, but when I was playing contact, I was wearing the Farrell H600’s. Great pads all around, completely nonrestrictive, light and extremely protective. A great pad all around.
Two other things I want to write about are some equipment that I want. The first is the piece of current equipment I would try if money was no object. If that were the case, I would definitely want to try The Warrior Franchise gloves. I have loved those since they came out and have always wanted a pair.
The last thing is what one piece of equipment that I have had but no longer do – lost it, outgrew it, broke it – that I wish I could have back in new condition. The first thing that comes to mind is the Warrior Mac Daddy sticks. I loved those things. They lasted forever and performed great. The color was pretty outrageous, but they were one of the best looking sticks for spray painting the bottom black.
So here’s where it gets interactive – I love that you guys take the time to read my posts, and I want to hear from you. Respond either in the comments section below or to the Pure Hockey Facebook page. I will post these three questions to you:
1)What’s currently in your bag? (no need to elaborate, just a list)
2)Disregarding price, what is the one thing you would want to have in your bag?
3)What is the one thing you used to have, that you would want back if you could get it in new condition?
Let’s hear it!!!!!