Every year people ask the same questions. What's the best hockey stick this year? Is one brand better than the other? Why is it the best? So, today we will take a look at what's new in the hockey stick market for the new 2019-2020 season that is just now upon us.
- No changes in the big three manufacturers. Bauer, CCM, and Warrior all maintain their presence as large brands owned and manufactured by large conglomerates.
- In February of 2018, Sher-Wood was sold to Canadian Tire. For the Americans that aren't familiar with Canadian Tire, the closest comparable situation would be if Walmart bought Warrior.
- Early last season STX make the decision to pull out of traditional retail (and follow our model at Twig Hockey Company) and sell exclusively online.
- The biggest marketing push this season has been toward the new sub 400g sticks by Bauer, Warrior, and Sher-Wood among others.
- These new significantly lighter weight sticks are a result of advances in the carbon fiber sheet manufacturing industry.
- Carbon fiber manufacturers are now able to produce new flatter weaves that reduce the need for excess epoxy between layers to fill the gaps during construction, thus yielding an overall lighter stick. Theoretically, more carbon layering and less epoxy within the same overall size and dimension should make for a stiffer and stronger product.
- How do the new lighter sticks hold up at the highest levels? Yet to be determined.
- One thing that is for certain is that many of these new lighter sticks you see NHL players using are, in fact, actually the manufacturer's other heavier builds with a paint and decal job to make them appear as these new sticks they are trying to sell us on. Don't believe us? Go check out the pro stock hockey stick websites and you'll see some of the evidence.
- Many annual minor adjustments by all the manufacturers
- Shifting kick points slightly in the build to yield a slightly different response
- Minor taper changes to adjust stick response a bit
- Blade inserts are shifted slightly to yield a slightly different response
- Different coatings, textures, and grips on different parts of the stick
Our new Rogue and Dispatch Twigs are lighter and stronger as well because of improvements in engineering as well as some of the same reasons mentioned above.
Other Standard Changes and Things to Know
- Nearly all manufacturers offer two lines of sticks: Mid-kick and Low-kick. Some offer a third that is usually a hybrid/dual kick point stick. Which to use is pure player preference. If you're unsure, go mid-kick as it's the most universal.
- Every brand gives their product a new paint job nearly every year, regardless if the product changes or not.
- There are various materials and many grades of each used in hockey stick manufacturing. How do you know what you're getting? In general there are two truths that almost always are true:
- The more expensive the stick, the more of your purchase price is paying for the manufacturer's marketing budget. Large companies spend a ton in product marketing to get their sticks in front of you at the pro shop, through player endorsements, and through media.
- Because of the previous truth and the way our society tends to work, it's easier for a company to recoup costs on new, high-end products. Therfore, more often than not when looking at sticks in a pro shop, the more expensive the stick, the higher quality of materials and better performance you'll get.
- Brands you find outside the pro shop or NHL user base have drastically smaller marketing budgets and are capable of producing comparable top performing sticks as well. Yes, marketing costs are that large of a driver in the price you pay. You can read more about it here. In the interim, go take a look at our reviews if you want some proof. We make awesome Twigs and our users love them.. Except, of course, for the one big brand wh*re who left us a bad one. ;-) Don't worry, we still love ya.