Manufacturers bring top-end sticks to childhood favorite
Knee hockey is one of the numerous things that makes hockey what it is. Not many sports have a portable, miniature version that can be played just about anywhere.
Just think back to travel tournaments and the countless hotel hallways you were expelled from when playing knee hockey. Knee hockey just happens to be a portion of hockey culture that makes our sport so incredibly unique.
Not unlike the full size version of the sport, knee hockey has seen a number of advances in recent years. Manufacturers now make miniature nets (not necessarily a new development) which inevitably saves desks, tables, chairs and hallway radiators from the beating that comes along with the game. In addition, the days of dipping your straight-blade plastic stick in boiling water to create a curve are over. Now you can choose a mini stick from a plethora of choices that are near mirror images to the full size sticks made by hockey’s biggest manufacturers.
Warrior, Bauer, CCM, Reebok and Sher-Wood all have created their own composite mini sticks complete with curves and identical design patterns to that of the full size retail sticks you use on the ice. What these sticks do is add a little style and extra performance to a rec-room or travel tournament classic.
Reebok not only has a mini composite version of their new 20K stick, they also introduced a composite goal stick that is patterned after the 11K composite goal stick that is being used throughout the NHL – this follows previous miniature versions of the O-Stick and A.I.9. CCM also produced a mini composite of their premier stick with a mini RBZ. Like the 20K, the mini RBZ also sports the same markings and art that the top model does – although it doesn’t provide some of the technological advances that the full size stick does.
Both CCM and Reebok have their own net models as well which can be set up in your basement or rec room to add even more of an ice element to each knee game.
Bauer actually has a Vapor APX and TotalOne NXG for you to choose from while Sher-Wood’s collection spans the entire NHL. So, for those of you who are nostalgic for the straight plastic, team-branded sticks of the past, perhaps the Sher-Wood team models would provide a nice transition.
While I can’t attest if the composite mini sticks can add performance to your knee hockey game as their full-size cousins do for ice hockey, I can say they bring a cool wrinkle to a game that you should never need an excuse to play.
I, for one, am seriously considering setting up a knee hockey rink as part of my man cave in the very near future.
On The Ice will be a recurring series that will focus on the on-ice performance of new equipment. I will take you through my thoughts and impressions of this equipment from taking it “out of the box” and after the first few ice times of use.
Warrior’s newest stick to hit the market is the Dynasty AX1. The Dynasty line actually features five different models at varying price points (AX1 through AX5) with the AX1 serving as the top professional model used by professionals and other top talents.
The Dynasty line is the first to feature Warrior’s new, groundbreaking AXYSYM technology in a stick. This system focuses high-compression fibers on the back and bottom of their sticks in order to increase the benefits of the stick’s flex. Combining with the natural flex and kick of the stick, the AXYSYM fibers stretch and compress as you shoot and are designed to put more power behind each shot.
The AX1 also utilizes the countless blade innovations that Warrior has created. The Aramid Sole and Carbonized finish add ridged strength to vital portions of the blade to ensure longevity and performance for the user. Warrior’s Twin Spar support system provides additional internal structure to the blade to resist bending while the Hardcore X maintains overall strength while reducing weight.
While the entire Dynasty line is designed with a mid kickpoint, the AX1 features a number of other features that aren’t found in each and every model. The AX1 is built with a high fusion point that moves the primary fusion point away from the blade and further up the shaft of the stick. In addition, Warrior has introduced the Strong Arm reinforcement that adds additional structure on the lower portion of the shaft.
As someone who has lost a majority of my sticks to breaks at or near the fuse point at the bottom of the shaft, I can say the HiFused and Strong Arm features are a welcome addition. Both aren’t noticeable the first time you pull a stick off the rack but one your stick starts taking the beating it incurs on a game-to-game basis.
Out of the Box
The first “out of the box” impression this stick makes is with the eye test. The AX1 has a sleek black and sliver finish that has a very professional look with a clear, uncluttered design. The basic design is amplified by the Slick Grip and Velvet Touch finish that my particular twig has. This finish is a two-fold feature that is the exact opposite of the typical grip finishes you get with other manufaturers.
What really stands out is the Velvet Touch. Quite literally the stick feels like velvet in your hands. An almost grimy feel at first, after you adjust the Velvet Touch is not only appealing but preferable –this is coming from a guy who likes a traditional grip finish, too. The velvet touch isn’t as noticeable with gloves on but the overall feel was solid when I did some stickhandling with gloves on.
Other immediate impressions that I found were with the mid kickpoint and the weight of the stick. I have previously used the Stealth RS, Total One, S19 and other extremely light one-piece sticks and this is right up there in terms of weight. The balance is also impressive as it maintained the same feel with tape as it did before I cut it down. Credit that to the HiFused fuse point and the mid kickpoint keeping the center of gravity in the center of the shaft.
My particular model is a 85 flex Zetterberg pattern. It is a nice mid curve with a slightly open toe and rounded toe. It’s the type of curve I prefer, but as you’re well aware, picking a curve and flex is up to the player and what they’re comfortable with.
Bottom Line: This is one of those sticks that makes you want to pull three off the rack, tape them up and hit the ice. It looks great and feels phenomenal the first time you hold it. The AX2 has a number of the features found on the AX1 at a slightly lower price point while the AX3, AX4 and AX5 models are all great sticks that offer terrific value while. However, the AX1 is truly the gem of the Dynasty line and it shows that at every turn.
On the Ice
An unfortunate scheduling situation forced me to wait nearly 14 full days before getting this stick on the ice. It was well worth the wait, in the end.
The first thing you notice about the stick is the Velvet Grip. Just like when pulling it off the rack, the Velvet Grip feels interesting when wearing your gloves. Personally I thought it was nothing short of perfect. It provides a tacky finish but isn’t even close to what a traditional grip finish feels like. A good way to describe it would be to say that it provides friction but not grip when you’re playing.
My biggest adjustment to the twig wasn’t the grip nor the incredible balance, but the blade. The past few sticks I’ve used have had a far thicker blade than the Dynasty and the feel for the puck with this blade was much different than the pro stock Total One I had been using previously. This isn’t necessarily a detraction so much as something I’ll need to adjust to.
All of the technology that Warrior poured into the blade is evident when you’re stickhandling, passing and shooting. The Twin Spar and Hardcore X features do their job well in allowing Warrior to pare down the profile of the blade while maintaining strength and rigidity. I noticed that my passing – particularly on the backhand – was much more crisp and my control of the puck was equally improved. Firing shots is where the thin blade threw me off as I spent most of the warm up adjusting to the feel of shooting with the stick.
Once the game started I was able to settle in and play my game. Shooting still wasn’t fully comfortable, but I was able to get off two acceptable attempts on net. My passing was great though. Aside from one that rolled off my blade, I saw marked improvement in moving the puck that I’m confident will translate to shooting the puck after another ice time or two.
This stick gets full marks from me. Any new piece of equipment comes with an adjustment period and sticks are no different. This is an incredibly light, responsive twig that feels great when you take it off the rack and once you get it on the ice. Four-and-a-half out of five stars for me.
Warrior’s introduction to the hockey world has been far from ordinary. After building a strong niche with their stick and glove designs; the company recently ventured into the realm of goal equipment. Warrior pulled pad guru Pete Smith to head the design group building their goal equipment.
This isn’t a new strategy for Warrior, as they also pulled experts from other companies such and Innovative and MIA for their stick and glove departments in the past. For goaltending the company has really begun to push the envelope with their new line of chest protectors.
The new Ritual line has unveiled a number of new features that will easily set their equipment apart from traditional powers. For 2013, the Ritual Pro will have all of the new bells and whistles that include a few additions that haven’t been considered in chest pad design.
The most obvious of these changes is the Shockshield feature on the arms of the unit. This is a hard plastic cap that is designed to disperse the impact of the puck while increasing protection over the typical soft pad. The Shockshield is designed to float just above the rest of the arm guard to offer additional protection.
While this certainly seems like an interesting addition that will surely increase protection, one worry has to be the chance of rebounds coming off the arms harder than they usually would with a softer design. Even though the number of pucks bound to hit your arms on a game-to-game basis might be low, the difficulty of trapping a puck between your arm and chest could certainly be difficult should the plastic Shockshield kick pucks out.
Warrior also built the Shockshield to function in unison with the Axyflex system that is designed to maintain maximum protection while increasing comfort and flexibility of a goaltender’s arm. Much like a sliding toe bridge allows for your skate to be at a better angle of attack, the Axyflex has a similar feature on the outside of the elbow that slides in and out with the arm guard as you bend your elbow. Quite literally, the Axyflex is a mechanical hinge that will increase flexibility at what has traditionally been an awkward and bulky area of a chest protector.
Introducing the Axyflex and Shockshield designs are two very interesting steps for Warrior to take simply because they are truly groundbreaking additions. While the Ritual Pro has many features found with other manufacturers units, these two additions set the equipment apart for a very good reason.
The rest of the build is fairly traditional. The Ritual has more of a tapered fit as opposed to a bulky, boxy fit that should maximize mobility for the wearer. This is a design feature that is reflected throughout the line with the Ritual senior, intermediate and junior models.
The remainder of the line reflects many of the major design features seen on the pro model just without the two new innovations – Shockshield and Axyflex. This means that the rest of the line is a far more traditional looking and feeling chest protector that maintains the protective and mobility that Warrior has built in the past and has improved upon this year.
One feature that the entire line does have is the Adjustable Chest Height system. This is nothing more than a Velcro strapping system that will tighten or loosen the fit of the chest pad depending on how high a goaltender wishes to wear the unit. What is so interesting about this is that it eliminates the annoying nylon straps adjusted with various plastic pulleys that are the norm on nearly every other chest protector ever manufactured. The Ritual’s system makes adjustments incredibly quick, easy and comfortable as there is little guess work as to where the most comfortable setting will be found.
Warrior’s new Ritual chest protector line will be hitting stores soon and the impressive new designs will be available to the public before you know it. For those considering a new chest pad purchase this year, be sure to consult with a Great Skate associate once the Ritual is in stores.
Wandering through Great Skate’s stick section provides players with a plethora of options from manufacturers like Bauer, CCM, Reebok, Warrior and many others. Picking the right stick for you is determined by many factors that ultimately will help find the right stick for your game.
The right look, feel, weight, curve and flex of a stick are all determining factors for a player making this choice. Determining the right curve and weight is often something that has developed over a number of years and that has been determined by the style of game you play. In many ways the flex of any stick you buy will be determined in the same manner. However, how do you know which flex suits you best?
There are a number of different flexes available for players to choose from the range upwards to 110 (very stiff) to 40 (junior flex). It is important that the flex used by a player meets their specific strength and skill level.
In the case of young players who are still perfecting stickhandling and shooting, ensuring that the flex of your stick is adequate for your physical strength is just about all that needs to be considered. For those players who are stronger and more developed, finding an adequate flex will be more important.
First off, understand that different stick manufacturers utilize different practices and construction methods. Just like Ford, Toyota and Chevy all make different four-door cars, Bauer, CCM and Warrior make different composite sticks. So you may find that the 100 flex on the new CCM RBZ will feel differently from the 100 flex on a Bauer Total One or the new Warrior Covert.
Another thing to keep in mind is that lengthening or cutting down a stick will affect the flex. Each time you cut down a stick, you add stiffness to the original flex. You can expect to increase a stick’s flex by about 10 if you take off 2-3 inches. The opposite is true if you add length to a stick as it will add whip.
When it comes down to choosing the right flex there are a number of determining factors that come into play. For players who aren’t fully developed, an intermediate flex – between 50 and 75 – is a good starting point while 90 or 100 is a good place to start for those players who are fully grown.
Going up or down in flex will be determined by a few different factors that include playing style, strength and how skilled you are. Bear in mind that a player who isn’t as skilled and is still working on developing different facets of their game will struggle with a stick with a stiff flex (anything above 100) as it will not only limit your ability taking slap shots but wrist shots too.
If you’re a player who has a heavy slap shot, a stiffer flex would be best for you. In addition, physically strong players will not only have an easier time flexing stiffer sticks, they will gain more benefit from using one. The inverse is also true. If you’re slap shot is lacking and you aren’t as physically strong as others, going with a lighter flex will allow you to fully utilize your specific skill set.
Conferring with a Great Skate sales associate will also provide expert guidance to your specific needs when shopping in the store or online.
At the end of the day, finding a proper flex is going to be based largely off personal preference. But if you find a certain area of your game lacking, consider going up or down in flex to see if there is a noticeable difference.
Interested in innovative hockey equipment? Warrior Hockey, a subsidiary of New Balance, prides itself on its sleek designs and commitment to outfitting the next generation of hockey players. If you consider yourself a committed, stylish, tough hockey player, you’ll definitely want Warrior hockey gloves and sticks! Luckily, here at Great Skate Hockey Supply Company, we carry Warrior equipment as part of our full inventory of hockey products.
Although primarily recognized for their hockey sticks, Warrior recently developed the Warrior Franchise Hockey Glove, which can be found on our website at www.greatskate.com. These gloves really set a new standard for style, offering a trendy alternative to the traditional hockey gloves. And since it’s a professional glove, it offers all of the protection and performance that the pros rely on, too.
What other features will you find in the Warrior Franchise Hockey Glove? For starters, you’ll get a soft Clarino leather palm, an exclusive Vaportec moisture wicking liner and a professional lock thumb. The glove also sports the “Warrior” logo on the cuff, so you can show everyone your style.
While you’re shopping, why not check out our Warrior hockey sticks as well? They’ll give you that added edge, enhancing your performance and taking your game to the next level. If you’d like more information on our Warrior products, please contact us at (800) 828-7496 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be happy to help you out!
For well over a decade, Warrior has been manufacturing top-of-the-line hockey equipment from its headquarters in Warren, Michigan. A subsidiary of New Balance, Warrior is very well-known for their innovative sticks, though they also manufacture bags and gloves for the game of hockey. And here at Great Skate Hockey Supply Company, you’ll find a full selection of Warrior products that will put you at the top of your game!
If you play competitive sports, you need competitive equipment. Anything less than the best will put you at a disadvantage, hurting your progress and making it difficult for you to stand out from the crowd. In addition, the right equipment will make you look like a professional–something that’s essential to your status in the sport. Perhaps most importantly, professional-quality equipment is built to last through even the hardest-hitting games.
Choose between Senior, Junior, Intermediate and Youth Warrior Hockey Sticks
Having all of the best Warrior equipment can add up, but when you shop at our website, you’ll get the very best prices on brand name sticks, masks, skates and apparel for children and adults. In fact, we guarantee the lowest prices on our hockey items or we’ll match the price of any U.S. retailer!
If the process of choosing a hockey stick is leaving you overwhelmed, feel free to call our customer service department at (800) 828-7496. Our knowledgeable employees understand Warrior hockey sticks and will help you choose the model that’s best for your ability. You can also email us at email@example.com. Start shopping now!