Archive for the Equipment Reviews Category

New Reviews Coming

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

mystery
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

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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

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

REVIEW: Easton Stealth RS Pro Stock Hockey Gloves

Posted in Equipment Reviews, Pro Stock with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 10, 2012 by prostocknation

The Stealth RS is Easton’s latest top end glove in their line up.  This glove caters to players who prefer a an “in-between” fit; one that is not too loose like a traditional glove but not overly tight like many of the anatomical offerings on the market.

We are reviewing the Pro version of the glove so there will be some differences in the materials used between the retail model.  The materials used in the entire glove (shell, liner, gussets, palms) are not the same but the overall shape remains similar minus the custom cuff.

Those who are familiar with the Pro Stock Easton E-Pro 4-Roll glove will recognize many of the materials used in this Pro RS.  They share the same silver Bio-Dri liner, nylon shell and nash gussets/palms.  The retail RS comes with the new Dri-Lex liner, nylon/synthetic shell, all new AX Suede palm and gussets.  Mid-density foams and PE inserts are found throughout both versions and help make this glove very lightweight.

So how does the glove fit?  It is tight throughout the fingers and in the back of the hand.  The cuff flares out for added wrist mobility.  I would compare it to the fit of the Bauer Vapor series but a bit more snug in the fingers.

(Pictured above: the same Nash palm and gusset you find on most pro stock Easton E-Pro hockey gloves).  I’ve never had an issue with these palms crusting up or piling too much.  They are thin enough to give an excellent stick feel but because of this, durability may be an issue if you’re particularly tough on your palms.

The Easton RS is unique in the way it has three piece index, middle and ring fingers.  Opening and closing the hand feels very natural and comfortable with this design.  I am able to get a better feel of the stick compared to many of the competitors’ gloves with only a 3 piece index finger design.   This is my favorite feature of the glove.

The cuff is angled; a design similar to the old Jofa gloves.  It has plastic inserts throughout.  The lock thumb is also pretty beefy but not to the point where it is uncomfortable to use.

The palm side of the cuff is cut very low.  It has a huge E-Pro influence and I prefer this type of cuff over the stock retail one.


The retail model of this glove is currently retailing for $149.99US.  Not that many pro players are using this glove quite yet so it makes finding a pro version quite difficult.

The Easton Stealth RS is a very comfortable and mobile glove.  Those who like the fit of Bauer’s Vapor series will feel right at home with these as well.  Sadly, it’s not the prettiest glove in the world but what it lacks in looks it makes up in performance and fit.

 

– M

Pro Helmet Decals – Ocala, FL

Posted in Equipment Reviews, Pro Stock with tags , , , , , , on June 5, 2012 by prostocknation

Pro Helmet Decals is a company based in Ocala, Florida that specializes in high quality decals.  They currently supply these decals to professional sports teams in the MLB, NHL, NCAA and the general public like you and I.

Any design ranging from a single strip to a custom die-cut design can be created.  The decals are also very affordable; especially with no artwork or set up charges.

The Philadelphia Flyers are among one of their most well-known clients.


The decals you see on my helmet are the same ones the Flyers use on the ice.  They are very thick unlike some of the decals I’ve used that are marketed as “On-Ice Decals” available in most hockey shops.  The quality is there to withstand the temperatures of a hockey rink and will not peel.

Your design can be as simple as a typeface enclosed in a rectangle or a more custom shape like the majority of the logos you see below.  A variety of different fonts are also available for numbers.  These will definitely increase your team’s professional look.

The print quality is excellent.  The colors are very bold and vibrant while the lines remain crisp and precise.

If you or your team are looking for a way to increase the visual appeal of your helmet I would highly recommend Pro Helmet Decals.

They also make a variety of more sport-specific decals made for the baseball and football market.  Check out their products on their website at www.ProHelmetDecals.com

Keep your eyes posted on our Facebook (www.Facebook.com/ProStockNation) and Twitter (www.Twitter.com/ProStockNation) page to see how you can win a pair of Philadelphia Flyers helmet decals.  You cannot buy these in stores!

– M

Review: Shock Doctor 581 ShockSkin Hockey Impact Pant

Posted in Equipment Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2012 by prostocknation

Today I will be reviewing the Shock Doctor 581 ShockSkin Hockey Impact Pant.  Shock Doctor is best known for their mouth guards but they also offer a variety of other products ranging from insoles to equipment bags.  Jack Johnson (Columbus Blue Jackets) and Nick Leddy (Chicago Blackhawks) are two NHLers currently endorsing their products.

The 581 is a base layer pant designed specifically for hockey (they also make a ShockSkin short called the “583”.)  Foam pads are strategically placed in key areas (thigh, hip and tailbone) providing the user with added shock absorption.  The built-in cup makes this an all-in-one base layer and jock combo.  It also features velcro tabs for sock attachment.  This is Shock Doctor’s top end pant and it is available in both Boy’s and Men’s sizing.

What initially caught my attention was the build quality of this pant.  It is superb.  The materials feel very high end and lots of thought have been incorporated into building it.  Craftsmanship, protection, and comfort are three words that come to mind to describe these pants.

While there are other companies out there churning about padded base layers, what sets this Shock Doctor pant apart from the rest is how the foam pads are integrated into the fabric.  The high frequency seams holding the pads in place are barely noticeable.  What I didn’t like about wearing other padded base layers in the past was how bulky and restrictive they felt.  This is not the case with the 581.  I still get a full range of motion and I can barely notice the extra padding being there.

To maintain a good airflow, mesh vents run from the back of the pant through the thigh area and into the calf.

On the front of the leg, in the shin area, lies the “Gripper Pattern.”  This will help prevent the shin pad from slipping.  This pattern is very durable; I’ve put the pant through about 15-20 washes so far and the pattern is still in tact.  I’ve experienced peeling with similar grips on some other brand’s base layers I have worn.

The pant comes with the Ultra Carbon Flex Cup.  It is designed to disperse the shock away from vital areas.  The flex curve design and the gel pads around it make it very comfortable to wear.  I’ve tried flexing the cup that came with one of my jock shorts and it has no give in it at all.  Dare I say this Shock Doctor is the most comfortable cup I’ve ever used?

The Ultra Carbon Flex Cup works in conjunction with Shock Doctor’s patented X-Fit Brief Cup Retention System.  The liner somewhat reminds me of the ones used in swim trunks, but with an added pocket for the cup.  I get a much better fit compared to the standard jock shorts (with two elastics to keep the cup in place) that I typically wear.

Overall thoughts:

Fit: It is a very comfortable pant.  I would recommend ordering your usual pant size.  I am 5′ 9″ tall, 140lbs and I wear the Men’s Medium.  It’s not skin tight, just slightly loose but not to the point where it is baggy.  I also feel I get a wider range of motion with these pants compared to wearing a standard jock short.

You just don’t want to get these pants too big otherwise the ShockSkin pads won’t wrap around your body properly.  I’m also the type of player who likes to wear knee high skate socks when I play.  I found it was much easier to have the socks on underneath the pant, rather than trying to pull the socks on top of the pant.  The Gripper Pattern makes it a little bit tricky to pull your socks up over top without rolling up the pant in the process.

Build quality: This pant is built like a tank.  I have worn this to play goal as well and had a few stray pucks find their way up the opening of my pant leg and hit the ShockSkin pad right above the knee.  On a similar note I also wore these pants skiing this past season.  Not only did they help keep me dry on the slopes but the padding on the hips did spare me from getting a few bruises.  Needless to say, both incidents didn’t hurt.

Value:  Currently selling for $89.99 on Hockey Monkey, some may experience a bit of sticker shock initially.  However after trying on this garment I’m certain you will agree you are getting what you are paying for.

Durability: As I mentioned earlier I have put this pant through approximately 20 washes and it is holding up very well.  All of the graphics, seams and the ShockSkin foam pads are still in tip top shape.  The pant does not retain smells like some of the other moisture wicking pants I own.

Washing: I just remove the cup, flip it inside out and throw it into the washing machine on a cold water setting.  Hang to drip dry.  The care tag says you can Tumble Dry Gentle as well but I have never tried it.

Other factors: The areas where the ShockSkin pads are do get a bit hot while playing if you are in a warmer than usual rink.  The mesh is a nice touch and does wonders to help with the air flow compared to pants that are made with strictly one material throughout.  If you buy the pants too big, the foam pads do feel a bit restrictive.

Final Grade (A-): The Shock Doctor 581 ShockSkin Hockey Impact Pant is a very high end and well made product.  The Ultra Carbon Flex Cup is without the doubt the most comfortable jock I have ever used.  The only reason these pants didn’t get a higher grade is because the ShockSkin pads do maintain some heat but not to the point where it is uncomfortable.  The extra protection you get outweighs the slight increase in temperature.

Prior to using this product I was using mostly moisture wicking shorts from various companies.  Since then, I have made the switch to using long pants whenever possible and I would not hesitate to choose another Shock Doctor product.

I would absolutely recommend this pant if you are in the market for a top of the line base layer.

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Check back in the near future for our review of the Shock Doctor 572 ShockSkin Hockey Impact shirt.

Also be sure to check out Shock Doctor’s official video on the 581 pant.

Shock Doctor Links:
www.Youtube.com/ShockDoctor
www.Twitter.com/ShockDoctor (@ShockDoctor)
www.Facebook.com/ShockDoctor

– M

Upcoming Product Review

Posted in Equipment Reviews on December 28, 2011 by prostocknation

This product will be reviewed next. Can you guess what it is?

 

– M