For this week’s installment of “This Old Hockey Bag,” I want to rewind to a time before one-piece composite sticks dominated the hockey market. It was the early 90’s when aluminum hockey shafts hit the game – NHL pros had been using these aluminums for a season or so when this new technology came along. The Easton T-Flex shaft system revolutionized the game. And believe it or not, much of that technology is still used to this day.
The Aluminum Hockey Shaft
When aluminum shafts hit the market, the hockey world went nuts. Some of the old-school players or traditionalists wouldn’t dare pick one up, preferring to stick to their Sherwood 5030’s and Canadien 6001’s. But, for the younger generation, aluminum shafts were a must-have. Easton Hockey was the brand that was flying off the shelves. They created the silver aluminum that the Great One used, and, soon after, everyone followed suit; however, that wasn’t the real revolution. It came two years later when the Easton T-Flex came to fruition.
Easton T-Flex 100 Aluminum
For the first time, the hockey world began to think about how the player and his or her shot was affected by the shaft. The Easton T-Flex soon became a favorite among snipers in the NHL. It was a graphite/aluminum mix that flaunted its Taper Flex Technology. This new technology was geometrically engineered to direct the flex point to the tip of the shaft for a greater shot velocity: revolutionary. It also confused most of the hockey market because regular wood blades did not fit into this shaft mold. Players needed a tapered blade to fit in the shaft and it wasn’t easy to come by. Even still, this combination of a tapered shaft and blade still lives on today, and you can’t knock the advantage of science. Let’s not forget the days of Roenick, Shanahan, and others who dominated the game with wicked slap shots and even faster wrist shots. One could make the argument that this changed the whole game- from protective equipment, to goalie protection, everything had to advance. Not so far off from when Mikita discovered the curved blade. Any game-changing technology provides an advantage but means that the game has to catch up. This was the case with the T-Flex system.
I never owned one as a shaft. I was so in love with my Hespeler woods; custom made by the dozen. There was no chance of convincing my dad to switch. A few teammates and opponents had them, but I was still young at the time and most parents weren’t dropping a few hundred on a new shaft system. But man, did I want one. I still remember trying to cut enough lawns in the summer of 1993 to make it happen. I never did though…
Today, we still use this idea of flex vs. weight load to determine what stick is right for a player. With today’s options, it is much easier to find a stick that works for you. The best part about the Easton T-Flex system is that it never went away. Even with the changing materials- aluminum, graphite, composite, and Kevlar- the T-Flex carried on. Tapered shafts and blades are still popular today. Click here to see our selection of blades, both tapered and non-tapered.