Archive for the Pro Returns Category

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:

SE1
Reebok 9000 Pros in various colors:

SE2
Chris Campoli Ottawa Senators Reebok 9000 Pros

SE3

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

SE4

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

SE5

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

– M’s April Pick-Ups

Posted in Pro Returns with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2012 by prostocknation

I picked up a couple things during my recent trip to California.  It’s hard to forget about hockey even during the nice weather.  Expect to see several of these products reviewed on ProStockNation in the near future.

 

Atlanta Thrashers Tackla 5000 Pro Lowers (Brian from Sports2K.com forum):  Also called a “padded shell”, the thing I like about Tacklas are they are compatible with virtually any Upper you pair it up with.  Not only are they pro stock but they are Made in Canada as well, two of my favorite combinations.

SportsStar New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks Decals: These are probably the closest things most of us will ever come to finding helmet decals on the retail market.  I paired these up with my Vancouver Canucks game worn helmet and the orca logo sizes are roughly the same sans the two tabs but the numbers seem a tad short though.  I wish these came with the NHL shield decal as well since that one seems to be the hardest one to find for most of us in the pro stock collecting hobby.

Bauer Elite Performance Skate Sock (Hockey Monkey): Made in the USA, these will be my first pair of cut resistant skate socks.  On top of being cut resistant they also have the anti-odor and moisture management system called “Thermo-Max+”.  At $30 they are more expensive than traditional skate socks but I was curious as to how they feel like and ultimately, are they worth the money?  (60% Kevlar, 20% Cool-Max, 18% Nylon, 2% Spandex)

Vitalsox (Hockey Monkey): Made in Italy.  During my recent trip to Monkey Sports in Santa Ana, CA I was surprised to see an Italian-made product on their shelves.  They come in various lengths but I went with the crew cut because I like a longer sock for hockey.  They are advertised as an “all sport” sock with cushioning in the forefoot area and padding around the heel.  As with most socks on the market they also offer an anti-bacterial moisture wicking feature; Vitalsox calls this “DryStat.”  They are a little bit more money compared to similar socks from other brands so will it be worth ponying up the extra couple of dollars for being Made in Italy?  (75% Silver Drystat, 10% Microsupreme Acrylic, 10% Nylon, 5% Lycra)

LA Kings Pro Stock Reebok Edge Practice Socks (Jake’s Custom Sports, El Segundo, CA): Made in Canada.  Picked these up at Jake’s.  His shop is a definite must visit if you ever drop by LA.  Jake’s Custom Sports is just a stone’s throw away from LAX.  Try eating at El Pollo Loco while you’re there too.  I couldn’t get enough of that place when I was in California.  Anyways, Jake’s is the place to get any repair work done or if you’re looking for gear (especially used Kings gear.)  The service is top notch as well.  I prefer to wear Pro Stock Reebok Edge socks over the retail ones because the difference in quality is night and day.  The Pro Stock ones will also stick to velcro for all of you who wear jock shorts.

Elite Waxed Laces:  Made in Canada.  I’ve been using these laces religiously for the past couple of years.  They’re less expensive in the States compared to Canada so I might as well pick up a couple pairs while I’m there.  The thing I like about these the most are the molded tips.  Previously, when I used a different brand, the tips breaking were the most common reason for me having to replace my laces.  If your skates have been feeling loose as of late you should give these a shot.  They are $4.99 at most places in Canada.

Tron S10 Visor (HockeyTron):  We’ve had several readers contact us regarding Tron products.  For those of you who are unfamiliar, they sell their own brand of “copycat ” products that are Made in China.  This visor retails for $13.99 in store.  So how does it stack up to the leading competitor’s visor that can be $60 and up?  We will compare the two shortly.

Some of you may recognize these gloves from our previous post on Saturday.  They are Michael Del Zotto from the New York Ranger’s Bauer Supreme ONE95 Pro Returns.  Supremes are one of the tightest fitting gloves on the market and I like the adjustable cuff on the inside.  It provides the user with an option between protection and freedom of movement.

My taste in gloves have definitely changed since starting ProStockNation.  I used to prefer a very loose traditional 4-roll style glove but after using the Vapor XXXX Pro and Vapor X:60 Gloves I’ve started to like tighter-fitting anatomical style gloves.  These feel really nice straight out of the box unlike the retail ONE95 gloves which would continuously rub against my knuckles whenever I opened or closed my hand.  I also wasn’t a fan of the feel of the futuristic-looking/feeling reflex palm that it came with.

Aesthetically I also found the retail version to be not very pleasing to the eyes.  This NYR colorway actually makes it bearable to look at.

More pick-up posts to come!

– M

We are back!

Posted in Pro Returns, ProStockNation.com Announcements with tags , , , , , , on April 29, 2012 by prostocknation

Sorry for the brief hiatus.  Sometimes life does not want to co-operate.  Just wanted to let our readers know we are back and have acquired some new gear during our time away!

– M just picked up a new pair of Pro Return Rangers ONE95 mitts and decided to celebrate the Rangers win by wearing them around town today.  What do you guys think of them?

 

– M

Play It Again Sports – Winnipeg

Posted in Equipment Sales, Pro Returns with tags , , , , , , , on October 31, 2011 by prostocknation

We get lots of emails from readers each day wanting to know where they can acquire pro stock hockey equipment.

In the previous post I showed off my latest pick ups of a Manitoba Moose pro bag ($99), socks ($15) and gloves ($99.)  With the Atlanta Thrashers relocating to Winnipeg and the Manitoba Moose leaving for St. John’s, the remaining equipment was sold by True North and made available to the public.

On top of selling brand new and used retail sporting goods; Play It Again Sports in Winnipeg also carries a range of pro grade equipment.  You’ll find pro stock equipment from the Atlanta Thrashers, Manitoba Moose, the Canadian World Junior Program and other clubs as well as closeouts from your favorite manufacturers.  They will also be carrying new and used Winnipeg Jets gear once the season is finished.


As with any shop that carries pro gear, the inventory changes often so contact them directly to see what they have in stock for you.

You can find them at:

730 St. Anne’s Road, Unit U
Winnipeg, MB R2N 0A2

www.playitagainsportswinnipeg.com // 204-256-1115

Tell them ProStockNation.com sent you and be sure to share your purchases with us!

– M

October Pick Ups – Manitoba Moose Pro Gear

Posted in Pro Returns, Pro Stock with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2011 by prostocknation

These are my latest Manitoba Moose purchases:

  • Pro Bag
  • 2 Pairs Reebok Edge Socks (XL)
  • 14′ Reebok (CCM 852 Style) Gloves

What do you all think?  Most of the pro bags I’ve seen are made of vinyl and they rip easily.  This Moose bag has one of the highest quality nylon I’ve ever seen.

Looking for Manitoba Moose gear as well?  We’ll tell you where this weekend!

– M

Canucks 2011 Equipment Sale Video:

Posted in Equipment Sales, Pro Returns, Pro Stock, ProStockNation.com Announcements with tags on July 11, 2011 by prostocknation

Hey guys, we had a chance to get a ProStockNation.com exclusive preview of the gear available for the annual equipment sale. Here is our short walk through video. Pictures will be up shortly, so stay tuned!

 

– E

Review: Easton EQ50 Stick

Posted in Equipment Reviews, Pro Returns, Pro Stock with tags , , , , , , on November 19, 2010 by prostocknation

Easton’s newest offering continues where the SE16 left off so expect lots of similarities between the two models.  You’ll notice cosmetically Easton has exposed the carbon fibre instead of covering it with paint like on the SE16.  We really do like the look of it and it does make it look even higher end.

The EQ50 utilizes Focus Weight Technology, just like the SE16, in which 20g of weights are placed in the heel of the blade to achieve a perfect balance.  The difference being Easton has made a window on the EQ50 to show off the weights.

Our stick didn’t come with the plastic butt end unfortunately but players can customize the balance of their stick by adding or removing small disc shaped weights, weighing 5g a piece, into this plastic cap.  There are also markings on the stick that tell you how many of these weights to put in to achieve a perfect balance.

We were skeptical of the durability of this window but based on our field testing and from talking to other owners, it’s holding up just fine.


We’re finding with this stick as well as a few other recent models from Easton isn’t the greatest when it comes to paint chipping and the clear coat peels.  Aesthetics aside, these sticks are still very well balanced and have that signature Easton feel to them.

Would we recommend the EQ50?  Well, yes and no.  It’s a very high end performance stick but it’s essentially the same as the SE16 with a few cosmetic changes and a different butt end.  Honestly 20g won’t make much of a difference when you’re holding a stick.  The amount of tape you use on your stick may also throw off this so-called “perfect balance.”

This stick really surprised us because we didn’t expect this kind of gimmick from Easton.  Well, at least they didn’t add speed holes into it like another manufacturer…

With the release of the EQ50, prices on the SE16 sticks have dropped.  If you can find a SE16 in your preferred pattern and flex, we reckon that’s the better buy.

– M

Big Toe Hooks

Posted in Pro Returns, Pro Stock with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2010 by prostocknation

Toe curves aren’t made widely available to the general public because they’re such a special request product. If you wanted a big toe curve you had two options; go custom or buy pro stock. Most manufacturers won’t even consider making a custom stick for you unless you order 6+ sticks at a time.

Other then BASE Hockey (www.MyBaseHockey.com), there’s no companies we know of that offer a custom stick with a toe curve for such a small minimum order (please leave a comment if you do know of another manufacturer who does.)

So let’s just take custom orders out of the equation for the sake of this post and focus on pro stocks (we are Pro Stock Nation after all.)

Hossa, Spezza, Rafalski, and Samsonov are a few of the typical players when it comes to buying a toe curve and since they are so popular, their sticks are becoming harder and harder to come by.

One player who’s really fallen under the radar in recent years is Vancouver Canuck, Peter Schaefer.  He was bought out by the Boston Bruins in 2008/09 and didn’t play hockey for a year but he kept training full time and was invited to the Canucks Training Camp this season.  He ended up making the big club and what’s even better news is that his pro stocks will become easier to get a hold of.

So here’s the Warrior Kronik we got a hold of.  In typical Peter Schaefer fashion the bottom portion of the stick is spray painted black to hide the puck better.

Here’s the curve, it’s flat throughout the heel and mid-blade then it suddenly warps at the toe.  This pattern is terrific for snapshots.

Now we look at the profile of the blade.  It’s pretty pointy at the toe end, not to the same extent as Spezza’s but it doesn’t even look legal to begin with.

We hope that we’ve made you aware of another toe curve to look for the next time you’re searching for a pro stock and the usual suspect’s aren’t available.

 

– M

 

What You See Isn’t What You Get

Posted in Pro Returns, Pro Stock with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 11, 2010 by prostocknation

When you’re buying a Pro Stock or a Pro Return stick, you never really know what you’re going to get… unless you’re aware of some clues to look for.  We’ll focus our attention on Bauer sticks because the information provided on the name plates are the easiest to read out of all the manufacturers and they drop hints as to what the stick really is under all that paint.

Looking at the name plates you’re provided with 4 pieces of information:

SEDIN (The player’s name, sometimes on more generic sticks with retail patterns, the pattern name will be here such as “P92” or “PM9”)

2638-4 (The pattern)

102 (Flex)

G3 (Flex profile; How the stick is constructed)

We’re comparing these two Bauer sticks made for the Sedin twins, one has ONE95 graphics and the other has Total ONE, but is it really what it claims to be?  The name plates on both sticks are practically identical (with the exception of the pattern number after the dash on the “Total ONE” as it is a newer batch.)

G3 = “Custom Flex Profile” which means the pro has requested special adjustments made to the stick (ex. different kick points among other things.)  On a real Total ONE, built to retail specs, the stick should read “R26” for the flex profile.

Our tester stick has “TEST-A” as the pattern, which turned out to be a P92, and it’s an 82 flex.  Also take note of the Tac Spiral grip (the angled raised ridges on the corners) of the stick, these may or may not appear on a Pro Stock/Return depending on what the player has ordered.  I’m not a huge fan of any sort of Tactile Grip but we’ll save that discussion for our review.

Other than deciphering the name plates, the carbon weaves on the shaft will help identify what stick you’re actually getting.  Notice how the the weaves on both sticks are identical?  If you haven’t already guessed, both of these sticks are ONE95s, but one has a Total ONE paint job.

Take a look at a real Total ONE and see how much fatter the weaves are.  They’re almost as big as the width of the shaft, just like the Vapor X:60!


So why do players and manufacturers do this?

Players are very superstitious about their equipment, (see: Martin St. Louis), and they like to stick with what works.  From a manufacturer’s point of view, they don’t want the top players to be using outdated equipment.  They want these players to use the latest and greatest in order to help them push their new products.

There’s a pretty good thread on ModSquadHockey.com regarding Pro Stock Bauer Codes if you have any further questions or if you’re looking for help in reading about your stick: http://www.modsquadhockey.com/forums/Index.php?/topic/52411-pro-stock-bauer-codes/

We’ll bring you more examples from different manufacturers in the coming days because we don’t want to single out Bauer and make it seem like they are the only ones conducting this practice.

– M

Jason Spezza’s Toe Curve

Posted in Pro Returns with tags , , , , on August 10, 2010 by prostocknation

I went to my LHS (Local Hockey Shop) over the weekend to get my skates sharpened and looked at some pro return Sherwood S.O.P.’s as I waited.

A big toe curve like this isn’t offered on retail sticks by any manufacturer so to get one you either have to curve it yourself, custom order or buy pro stock.


A burn mark from Spezza tweaking his blade.  The toe of the stick is shaved down and looks much pointier in real life; More like the one he got called on for having an illegal stick: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bd_sVCqkmS4

Spezza likes his wood sticks really stiff and this felt like it was at least 115-120 flex.  If you’re looking to try a toe curve and you can flex this monster, it might just be the best $20 you ever spent.

– M