The time has come. We're heading into the 2018-2019 season and it's been a couple years since we did an evaluation of where the market sits for elite level ice hockey sticks. There are some slick looking ones that have come to market in the last couple years. If you're here, you probably already know that we make one of the best ones out there too in the Twig Deux, but lets be try and be objective here and explain what's out there.
This season's stick lines have brought us some real beauties from the big hitters like CCM, Bauer, and Warrior, but also some dandies from True, Sher-wood, and others. The great news is that, overall, nothing monumental has changed in hockey stick construction in the past few years. Sure, there are some gimmicky attempts to shift preference like STX's PureGrip, but if you've tried it out on the ice, you'll see that the shaft shape difference really doesn't feel like it makes much of a difference over standard shaft shapes. There have also been attempts by Bauer to test the market for higher prices on it's products. You don't have to look any further than the $350 limited production Bauer ADV for an example of that. We wrote a whole piece on it when it hit the shelves a few months back. You can check out here: The Bauer ADV Hockey Stick is Here. Let's Break It Down.
So, if nothing has really changed in stick production in the past few years, then what are we comparing on? Well, that's a valid point. To answer that, we have to understand first that a stick can be built of a variety of products. Typically, the less carbon fiber there is in a stick build, the cheaper and heavier a stick becomes. That’s why you see multiple varieties of a stick line from each manufacturer. Elite/Pro-level sticks are 100% carbon-fiber and that is it. It’s the best stuff out there and really gives the stick that pop it needs. We also need to understand that each manufacturer has a stick line to appeal to flex profile preference. Make no mistake, the flex-profile doesn't make one stick better than the other. It's just a player preference. Most brands have a mid-kick, a low-kick, and then either a high or hybrid-kick or both. If we eliminate flex point and artwork out of the comparison because both are just player preference, we're really left with stick weight as the primary difference in elite models. To get a good snapshot of what's on the market, we took the elite model stick from each of the manufacturer's product lines and did a weight versus price comparison.
Here is a list of each model evaluated, the retail price, and the stick weight in a fancy table.
|Bauer Nexus 2N Pro||410||$280|
|Bauer Supreme 1S||420||$300|
|Bauer Vapor 1X||397||$300|
|CCM RibCor Trigger PMT||415||$280|
|CCM Super Tacks AS1||420||$280|
|Sher-wood Rekker EK365||380||$230|
|True XCORE XC9||424||$270|
|Warrior Alpha QX||410||$260|
|Warrior Covert QR Edge||416||$260|
Okay, that make sense, right? To make it really easy to understand, here is a super fancy graph plotting this data.
That’s interesting. The weight difference between nearly all the top-of-the-line sticks is virtually nothing. So, if the overall weight is the same and the stick construction is nearly the same, we can expect them to yield nearly identical performance..... Then why would you pay as much as $300 for a stick over one that costs almost a third? Because the $300 brands are paying your favorite player to use their product? Hmmmm....
I’m just going to leave that there to sink into your brain. Be sure to check out the rest of our blog.