New Reviews Coming

Posted in Equipment Reviews with tags , on March 2, 2013 by prostocknation

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We received a parcel from Estonia today; a neighbor to both Russia and Latvia.  The contents are mummified in layers of cardboard and plastic but we’re looking forward to an unboxing video and reviews coming in the very near future.  In the meantime it’s a total guess at this delivery weighing in at just under 4kg.

- M

Product Review: Swiftwick Olefin Twelve Socks

Posted in Equipment Reviews with tags , , , , on February 9, 2013 by prostocknation

Skate socks are one of the most overlooked pieces of equipment.  While everyone has their own preferences on what type of socks they like to use, wearing the thinnest sock you are comfortable with is recommended.  A thinner sock will give you a better feel for the ice and it is less likely to bunch up inside the skate boot; causing discomfort.

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My ideal sock is not only thin, but has moisture wicking capabilities but it needs to be durable as well.  Prior to these I have tried a variety of socks from the other more well known hockey equipment brands but I never found one that I fell in love with.

While browsing on a popular online hockey store I stumbled upon this brand I’ve never heard of before, Swiftwick.  I looked into the company and their products and what interested me was their Olefin fiber (which retains less than 0.01% of it’s weight in moisture.)  The socks I’ve worn in the past always got soaked from sweat and as a result it made my feet very cold when I played hockey.  This particular model I was looking at, the Swiftwick Olefin Twelve, was advertised as being lightweight, breathable and durable, essentially what I was looking for.  Being made in the USA just sealed the deal for me so I placed my order and waited for the shipment…

They arrived shortly after and upon first inspection they were extremely soft and looked well made.

I am in a Bauer Supreme Total ONE 7.5D Skate and I fit the Medium sized sock.  I also prefer my sock length to be just under knee height.  The Twelve is Swiftwick’s longest model for the hockey market but they do make other lengths as well.  When I wore shorter socks it would cause my shin pads to smell.  Despite the pads having a removable liner and washing it periodically, the smell would always come back.  Another issue I had, with other socks of a similar length, was they would sag down and bunch up in the calf/shin areas.  The Olefin Twelve is a compression fit and has cuffs at the top of the sock and ankle areas.  It stays tight for the entire ice time but it doesn’t feel restricting at all.

I have been wearing these socks for just over a year now (all of the photos are from when the socks were new) and they are still feeling soft and comfortable.  There is very little wear on them and they are currently my go-to pair of socks.

My only warning is to keep these out of the dryer as they do shrink significantly.  I’m not sure if the wash/care instructions advised against this as I threw out the packaging prematurely but even with that small mishap the socks still stretch a great deal and they fit great.


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This Swiftwick product is an absolute pleasure to wear every time I go to the rink.  The quality is top notch and as I mentioned earlier it is my go-to sock.  I would highly recommend this sock and Swiftwick even has an offer to replace yours with a competitor’s product if you don’t like it.  This product deserves a definite A+.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Soft/Comfortable
  • Made in USA
  • Replacement guarantee

Cons:

  • Keep it out of the dryer!

You can find more information about Swiftwick and their products on their website www.Swiftwick.com

- M

Pro Hockey Life – Vaughan Mills

Posted in Shops with tags , , , , , , on January 3, 2013 by prostocknation

I visited Pro Hockey Life at the Vaughan Mills Outlet in Vaughn, Ontario a short while ago.  Being from the west coast this was one of the shops that I only read about and saw videos of online.  Even back home our so-called “Megastores” are only a fraction of the size of this giant.

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Upon walking into the store there are 4 mannequins fully decked out in the latest gear along with a very abstract hockey stick piece of art hanging from the ceiling.
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All of the equipment was carefully displayed and sized accordingly.  Finding what you needed was very easy even without the help of the sales associates, which there were lots of but nobody greeted us except for the girl at the cash register and the employee working at the Rapid Shot (more on this later.)

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The pants, which are one of the most difficult pieces of merchandise to sort through and organize, were stored on massive shelves in the middle of the store.

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After walking through “Stick Alley” it leads you directly to the Rapid Shot.  (Check out our previous posts and experiences with it: http://prostocknation.wordpress.com/tag/rapidshot/)  For those of you unfamiliar with Rapid Shot it is the batting cage of hockey.  You are given 16 pucks to shoot and are rated based on shot speed, accuracy and reaction time.

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The Rapid Shot here is set up exactly like the one we tested before at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC.  I really wish more stores had this installed as it will make the stick buying decision much quicker and easier.  I have had many dilemmas contemplating which stick I should buy only going by the in-store feel.  Some of the times I’ve purchased sticks that felt excellent in store but once it came time to using it on the ice I absolutely hated it.

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Pro Hockey Life in Vaughan, Ontario is a definite must visit if you are in the area.  While I did not find any pro stock hockey equipment at this location I was still in awe at the size and selection available at this store.  Make sure to give the Rapid Shot a try before you leave!

- M

Pro Hockey Life Vaughan Mills
1 Bass Pro Mills Drive Unit C3
Vaughan, ON L4K 5W4
Canada

(905) 669-9088
www.ProHockeyLife.com

Easton Mako 2 and the E28

Posted in Equipment Company News with tags , , , , , on January 2, 2013 by prostocknation

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With the Easton Mako 2 hockey stick being released tomorrow, it will also be the debut of the E28/Bjudstad pattern; better known by it’s more common name, “Kreps”.

It is a toe curve with a dual lie designed to receive passes on the heel and shoot pucks off of the toe.

It will be interesting to see how this new pattern fairs at the retail level as toe curves cater to a very niche market.  In the past, the scarcity of finding one made it a very hot commodity.  Stores often did not sell them and the only chance of getting your hands on one was to go Pro Stock.

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Rival company Warrior Hockey recently scrapped their toe curve, the Gionta W10 pattern, for 2013 (except for the DT2 Grip) due to poor sales in just two short years.

More after the launch.

- M

*Photos and Video from Easton Hockey

CCM RBZ Hockey Stick Review

Posted in Equipment Reviews with tags , , , , , on December 25, 2012 by prostocknation

PSNRBZ1
CCM, in partnership with Taylormade Golf, have developed their newest top of the line stick, the RBZ.

Typically sticks will be either mid-kick (load up for harder slap shots) or low-kick (quicker release.)  The CCM RBZ is more of a hybrid between the two and will flex a few inches below your bottom hand.

The RBZ also features “Speed Channels” in the blade.  These Speed Channels are hollow cavities compared to other One Piece Composite sticks on the market that have a foam core.  More on this later.

The lower third of the stick is white in color.  Players in the past had the idea of spray painting their sticks black and using black tape in order to hide the puck better.  Upon interviewing a few goalies they actually found it more difficult to see shots from a white stick with white tape on the ice surface.  The majority of these goalies said they reacted more on the swing of the stick rather than tracking the puck itself.

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So after using the RBZ for several weeks, here’s my verdict.

Aesthetics alone, it’s a beautiful looking stick.

Compared with the competition, the key difference is the absence of foam inside the blade.  Blades with a foam core have greater puck feel but will start feeling soft once the foam starts breaking down.  On the contrary, blades with no foam will feel rigid for longer but at the cost of puck feel.

This blade construction makes the RBZ a pure shooter’s stick.  The puck pops off the blade effortlessly and I do feel like I am shooting with more velocity.  However while passing and stick handling, there is absolutely no puck feel at all and there is lots of ping and vibrations.  While “Strap a Rocket to the Puck” may be CCM’s marketing slogan for the RBZ, in reality it feels like Rocks are strapped to this stick.   I’ll explain.  Take any stick and stick handle a couple of pebbles around.  That’s exactly how the RBZ feels.

What’s even more puzzling is CCM has no plans to release a NON-grip version of this stick.  When I am spending top dollar on a stick I expect to have as many options available to me.  I prefer a stick without grip because I rotate through gloves with fresh palms quite often.  When we asked the local CCM rep about why the RBZ only comes in Grip, his answer was simply, “it sells better”.  This may be acceptable for lower price point sticks but I find it unreasonable that all the other competitors can offer their top end sticks in a grip and non-grip model while CCM does not give the consumer this choice.

The shaft shape is rounder than some of the more boxy sticks like the Easton Stealth and Bauer Supreme lines so it’s quite comfortable to hold for players with smaller hands.

Durability-wise the RBZ’s blade has been very impressive and there have been very few reports from other users that deviate from this.

Overall the stick is very well balanced despite me cutting off quite a few inches.  It feels like a quality stick in your hands.

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Final verdict:

Pros:
- Shoots extremely well
- Durable
- Well balanced
- Great looking graphics

Cons:
- Grip only (all other manufacturer’s top end sticks give you the option of grip/non-grip)
- Blade is very pingy and lacks puck feel

The RBZ shoots well but that’s about it.  It is a significant improvement over the U+ CL (the two sticks we tested had major durability issues) but I don’t see myself purchasing this stick again compared to the Bauer Supreme sticks I’ve been using that have a great pop to them as well.  The absence of a non-grip version really deters me from wanting to use this stick more often. I thought the RBZ was a good but not a great stick, it was a bit disappointing especially at this price point.

Tested Specs:
- SR, Nugent-Hopkins (C93), RH, 75 Flex
- M, 5′ 9″, 150 lbs

 

- M

Sports Experts – Centre Commercial Rockland, Mont Royal, Quebec

Posted in Equipment Sales, Pro Returns with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 12, 2012 by prostocknation

Sports Experts is the largest sporting goods retailer in Quebec.  They are known as a big box store that carries closeout merchandise.  With Sports Experts being grouped under the FGL Sports Ltd. umbrella (Sportchek, Sport Mart, etc.), Pro Stock hockey gloves were one of the last things I expected to find at their Centre Commercial Rockland location in Mont Royal, Quebec.

Hamrlik Habs 10K, Kubina Thrashers Leather 4-Rolls, Antropov All Star Game 10K:

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Reebok 9000 Pros in various colors:

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Chris Campoli Ottawa Senators Reebok 9000 Pros

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Colton Orr Toronto Maple Leafs Reebok 9000 Pros (note the digital overlay!)

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Sports Experts also had some Retail Edge 1.0 Habs jerseys in both colorways going for half price (around $150 or so.)

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Sports Experts was a nice surprise.  They weren’t on my list of places to visit while I was in Quebec but the next time I am back east I will definitely drop by a few more of their stores to see what unique gear is available.

- M

Gear Sightings – 2012 Hall of Fame Legends Game

Posted in Gear Sightings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2012 by prostocknation

I attended the Legends game at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto last weekend.  Not only was this a chance to see former star players on the ice again, but also an opportunity to see what kind of gear they would be wearing.

Here were some highlights:

 

Pavel Bure:
The game was split into two 30 minute halves.  During the first half he was wearing a cheapo Bauer 1500 helmet but took it off for the second half.  He is still wearing his signature Bauer Vapor 10 skates which were one of the most popular boots of it’s time.  Continuing with the Bauer theme, he was using a Vapor X:60 stick.  His gloves are made by a Russian company called “Flame”, they are a copy of the Warrior Franchise design.

Joe Sakic:
Other than his skates, his other equipment were not from his playing days.  Burnaby Joe was seen sporting an E700 helmet (no visor), E-Pro gloves (albeit they had his name on the cuff but they weren’t his typical Z-Airs) and a Mako stick.

Mats Sundin:
Sundin was in the same CCM Vector skates and HT2 helmet from his playing days.  Not from his playing days were the Salming gloves and an Easton Stealth RS stick.

Trevor Kidd:
Trevor Kidd was always known for his Brian’s pads with the most elaborate designs.  This set from his time with the Hanover Scorpions of the DEL were no different.

Doug Gilmour:
Killer was in Warrior Franchises and Hustlers paired with a Reebok 11K stick for this game.  A change from the Winnwell gear he was supplied in last years Legends game.

Adam Foote:
The award with the player wearing the most gear from his playing days would have to go to Adam Foote.  He was still wearing his Avalanche issued CCM HT2 Helmet, Easton E-Pro gloves and pants.  The only item not of his era was the RS stick.

- M

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