About a month ago I met with the guys from Colt Hockey to take a look at the new Colt Hockey stick. This is the stick that has been dubbed “unbreakable” (more on the later) so naturally I was very interested in doing a review! I drove to their factory in Toronto with a handful of questions and the feeling I’m sure would be similar to a kid going to a candy factory. All my questions were answered honestly, and I left with one brand new Colt Stick. I will be using this stick in nearly every video from here on out, so stay tuned for updates on it’s performance and durability.
In case you haven’t heard about the Colt Stick
Why is it so special? – It’s a one piece composite stick, with a twist. The bottom half of the stick is dipped in nano-steel – very light, yet very strong metal – which should make this stick very, very durable.
Is the Colt Stick heavy? – In relation to other sticks it’s somewhere in the middle. Their website boasts a weight of 465 grams, however on my kitchen scale at home it weighed in at 495. Most top end sticks weigh in at under 475, which puts the Colt stick in the same category as sticks in the $150-$200 price point. Colt is working to deliver a sub 460 gram stick.
What is the Balance like on the Colt? – This was a big concern to me, I thought that with the metal coating it would mess with the balance of the stick. What Colt has done is used less composite material for the bottom of the stick, and used it to reinforce the top portion, then when it is dipped the stick is balanced. I tested it at home and it has the same balance point as the Graf I used to use.
Will the Colt Hockey Stick Break?
Yes it will, it is not “unbreakable” and for good reason, that would not be safe, however it is designed to be much more durable than any other stick on the market. Check out my two reviews below for more information.
Some Detailed Info about the Colt In this video I pass on some information I got while visiting the guys at the factory.
On Ice Colt Stick Review
In this review of the Colt stick I test out the stick on the ice and give you my overall opinion of it. I have some cool slow-mo shots and comparisons
Where to Buy the Colt
Right now it’s only available on the Colt Hockey website. If you use coupon code: HOWTOHOCKEY you will save $10!
My Overall Thoughts on the Colt Stick
Overall I liked the stick, and it will actually change the way I play now. I’m pretty frugal and usually spend less than $100 on a stick, even then I don’t like breaking them. Normally I like to get in front of the net and cause trouble, however the other team does not like this and I get too many hacks to my stick, so being frugal I tend to float around the perimeter. I can’t afford having some tool chop my stick in half! Well, that’s going to change. I’m going to try to get these guys to slash my stick, and then laugh when theirs explodes!
Colt Hockey Stick Specs and my opinion on the feel
Performance – The performance of the stick is good, but not outstanding. I would relate it to the feel of a mid-level stick.
Flex – I got the 75 flex stick, and I’m glad I did. On the ice it felt more like an 85. Testing with slow-mo revealed similar flex to my 85 flex stick, so if you like a really whippy stick you might have to wait until the next gen Colt.
Weight – The weight of my stick was 495 grams. It’s light, but obviously not the lightest on the market.
Curve – I got the Sakic style curve and liked it, my accuracy and shots were spot on.
Balance – The balance of the stick was great, mentally you expect the stick to be blade heavy, however with my tests it was the same balance as my regular sticks
Durability – While this is something I can only test with time, this is where the Colt should be leaps and bounds ahead of every other stick. I will report back later.
Price – The Colt is not cheap, but also not the most expensive twig on the market. It currently retails for $269 but with Colt Hockey coupon code HOWTOHOCKEY you will save $10
Recommendations – I would recommend the stick to guys who take a lot of slashes, like to play in the corners and in front of the net, and want a stick that will last.
While browsing the hockey stick section at my local Source for Sports store I came across a stick that really caught my attention.The stick was not too expensive, but also not the bottom of the barrel, it was light, had a great feel to it, and was a Bauer (my brand of choice when the price is right). The stick was called the Bauer Supreme One Matrix, I had never heard of it before so I decided to send an email to Bauer and inquire about it before purchasing. It turns out that this is a special stick made specifically for the Source for sports stores (don’t worry you can buy it online), I loved the stick and had to do a review of it on this site, so lets get to it.
Supreme Matrix Stick Details
Retail Price $149.99
Premium carbon composite construction – Making the stick durable
RE-AKT technology with TOE-DRAG tactile – A cool grip texture on the blade that should help improve the toe drags
Pure shot blade profile – I suppose this helps improve your shot, but nothing beats shooting 100 pucks a day!
Aero Foam II blade core – This is a nice feature that softens the feel of receiving passes, usually only found in the more expensive sticks
Mid Kick point
SURPREME power dual taper sqare double concave shaft dimensions – That’s a lot of words to describe the shape of the shaft
Ergonimcally designed – For a nice feel
TAC-SPIRAL texture – These are the little bumps on the stick, I personally like this better than the sticky grip
GRIPTAC texture – This IS the sticky grip, which I hate HOWEVER they only put it on the bottom half of the stick, which I happen to love! (more on that later)
What I like about this stick
Look – The first thing that drew my attention to the stick was the look of it. I’m not a big fan of flashy graphics and shiny stuff all over the stick, in the end I’ll use anything that’s affordable and feels right, but I tend to lean towards sticks that don’t have crazy graphics all over them
Feel – When I picked up the stick it was nice and light and had a good balance to it. The stick felt nice in my hands, and I noticed the grip instantly.
Grip – I am not a fan of sticky grip on sticks because I like my bottom hand to be able to slide up and down the stick while I stickhandle. I usually go for sticks that have a sandpaper type feel to them. The Bauer Supreme Matrix actually has BOTH types of grip which I have never seen before. The entire stick has the tac spiral (which is just bumps along the shaft of the stick) but the bottom half has the sticky Griptac (sticky grip). I like this idea because when you tee up a slapshot, or want to really lean on a snap shot you will have grip right where you need it, but your bottom hand can still slide while stickhandling (smart move Bauer!)
Toe-drag Tactile – I think this is a cool idea and it was something I had been adding to my sticks with the 3M liquid tape (taping the blade, painting the toe). It’s a great idea as the toe drag is becoming a commonly used moved in the sport now.
Price – I’m cheap, I don’t like to spend over $100 on a hockey stick, that being said if there is a stick that really speaks to me I will buy it, and this was one of those sticks. The retail price is $149.99 (although it’s on sale right now for $30 off online; lefties only though). I like the price because it has a lot of the features of a high end stick (foam core in the blade, toe-drag grip, premium composite, etc) but it weighs in at under $150.
Video Review with on-ice footage
Where to buy the Supreme One Matrix stick
The stick is a special model and is only available at Source for Sports stores in Canada, you can order it online from The Hockey Shop (currently $30 off!), I’ve linked right to the page for the senior model, they also have intermediate and junior available.
Recently I was browsing the stick selection at Source for Sports and I noticed a cool looking stick. I picked it up and immediately noticed how nice it felt, and how light it was. I checked the price tag and was fully expecting to see a $175, to my surprise it was only $99! I compared this to EVERY other stick at this price and none of them compared. I thought this would be a great hockey stick to review for the fans of How To Hockey because I know a lot of you are looking for a high-end stick, without the high price.
I figured since the first thing you notice about a stick is the way it looks, the first thing I will cover in this review is the look of the stick. I’m not one to care about looks, if it’s a good stick I will buy it, although it never hurts to have a cool looking stick, and I think the GX8 is pretty nifty looking. It’s not too flashy like a lot of the sticks, it kind of has a “stealth” look going on, which I dig. You get cool chrome lettering over a big-weave graphite design. Take a look at the video for a close-up look.
They re-did the graphics on the sticks for 2011 so you might see something a bit flashier in the stores. You can see the pictures on the Winnwell site by visiting the Winnwell GX8 page.
Feel of the Stick – Grip and Weight
When I picked the stick up I immediately liked the feel of it. I’m not a fan of the rubber-like feel that a lot of sticks come with. The GX8 had a cool matte finish, there is still some grip but it doesn’t have that clingy feeling.
The stick only weighs 480 grams, which is much lighter than any other hockey stick under $100
Construction of the stick
The stick is 100% graphite which allows them to keep it under 500 grams. The cheaper sticks on the market usually use a mix of graphite and fiberglass, which makes them heavier, but a bit more durable.
Flexes and Curves
The sticks come in stiff, and regular and whip, although in the store I only saw whip flex in intermediate. For the curves they have two patterns (161-Nash–more subtle Sakic, 119-Sakic).
Taking the Winnwell GX8 to the rink
Ken and I tested the stick out at the rink. I had the regular flex with the 119 curve and Ken got the stiff flex with the 119 curve (see the video for more). We have been using the stick for the past few months now. The first thing I noticed was how light it was, which makes me feel a bit quicker while stickhandling. I liked the curve, but it took me a few shots before I got used to it as it was a bit different from my last one. You can see us messing around with the stick in the video below
I can’t really think of anything I didn’t like about the stick. Ken always uses a fairly flat curve pattern so he mentioned it would be nice to have more pattern options.
Great overall feel
Nice and light, 480 grams – super light for it’s price
Looks cool (in my opinion)
Winnwell GX8 Video Review
Where to buy the Winnwell GX8
You can get the GX8 and other Winnwell sticks at Canadian Tire and some Source For Sports stores in Canada. You can also check their store locator for other locations in the US and Canada
Getting a new hockey stick is a big purchase now-a-days. When I started playing hockey I would buy $10 wooden kohos from Canadian Tire, now I am dropping $100 for a mid-level one piece hockey stick! Some players are spending up to $300 on a stick, that might break after a few games. If you are spending so much on a stick, you want to make sure you get the best out of it, and one of the ways to get the most out of your hockey stick is to have a good tape job!
Hockey sticks are like owning a pet, your stick is your best friend, you take a lot of time picking out a new one and when you get it the tape job is your time to bond. I always look forward to taping up my new stick. I thought it would be cool to share how I tape my hockey stick, and then get some feedback from other hockey players (like you) on how they tape their stick. Remember there really is no “right way” to tape a stick, everyone has their way, and in the videos below I share how I like to tape my hockey stick.
How to Tape the Blade of a Hockey Stick
In this video I show you how I tape the blade of my hockey stick and also mention a bunch of other options that I have seen team mates and also NHL players use. Let me know how you tape the blade of your hockey stick in the comments on this page, or with a youtube video response.
How to Tape Hockey Stick Grip
In this video I show you my favourite way to tape a hockey stick grip. I like a decent grip that I do by twirling the hockey tape so it is like a rope and twisting it around the top of my hockey stick. For the knob I use a technique that I saw a lot of NHL players using, I tried it and loved it. Watch the video to see how I tape the grip of my hockey stick, and share your method in the comments section, or with a youtube video response
I hear a lot of requests on hockey forums like modsquad hockey and the rink on hfboards.com about the curve of a hockey stick. Questions like “what is the best curve for shooting”, “what is the best curve for a toe drag”, “what curve should I use for saucer passes, or to score more goals”. I thought that it would be great to have a detailed guide to the curve, so hockey players could decide which one is best for them.
Luckily I found one published on the physics of hockey website. The Author, Alain Haché was kind enough to let me post the article here on How To Hockey.
Blade Pattern Charts
Another great resource are the blade pattern charts on Hockey Monkey. They update the charts each year with the current manufacturer blade patterns so you can better understand what you will get with each curve. Read the article below to understand what each part of the blade will do for you, and then select a pattern from the charts.
Hockey sticks: what’s in a curve?
Alain Haché, Ph.D.
Université de Moncton, Canada
Because hockey sticks come in so many shapes, it can be hard to make sense of it all. One feature of particular importance is the blade – the only point of contact between the player and the puck. Players attach a lot of importance to the way it is curved. Looking at the Koho (yes it uses older curves as examples, but it’s still relevant) sticks in the figure bellow, you see that each one carries a unique curvature pattern. There is more to a curve than left- and right-bend indeed.
Figure 1: a few sticks by Koho™
The stick blade, a curved and twisted surface, is complex enough that it can’t be precisely described in just a few words or numbers. Nonetheless, there are some key aspects that need to be considered, the first of which is the amount of curvature in the blade. The more U-shaped it is, the more pronounced the curve. Hockey leagues such as the NHL impose a limit on the amount of curvature:
The curvature of the blade of the stick shall be restricted in such a way that the distance of a perpendicular line measured from a straight line drawn from any point at the heel to the end of the blade to the point of maximum curvature shall not exceed three-quarter of an inch (¾”). NHL Rulebook 2007.
If you can’t picture this strange verbiage, the following drawing should help:
Figure 2: measurement of curve depth
The rule says that the red line should not be longer than ¾ of an inch, or 1.9 cm. Some people use the dime technique (not quite ¾”, but close) whereby the coin shouldn’t slip vertically underneath the blade when its lying against the floor, but nowadays NHL referees have fancier measuring gadgets to control illegal sticks. Note that the ¾’’ figure is an increase from ½’’ as of 2006. We will discuss the implications of that rule change later.
A second key aspect is where the curve begins on the blade. A blade can be curved like a circle, smoothly and uniformly, but sometimes it is not. Take a look at the Reebok™ and Easton™ sticks in Figure 3: the “Yzerman” stick has a curve that begins in the middle of the blade whereas the “Amonte” one starts at the heel. These are called “center” and “heel” curves, respectively. A third one is called the “toe curve” and has a bend closer to the end of the blade. While the difference between center- and heel-curves is mostly a matter of preference (hockey players can be very picky), a toe-curve makes scooping the puck away from someone else a little easier.
Figure 3: sticks by Reebok™ and Easton™
Next there is the “loft” or “face” of the blade. The loft is the tilt angle of the blade; you can see it when holding the stick normally and looking from the above. A blade that tips backward is said to be more “open faced”, very much like a 9 iron is compared to a 3 iron in golf. For example, notice in Figure 1 how the “Poti” blade has more loft than the “Jagr” blade. As in golf, the more tilt a hockey stick has, the easier it is to lift the puck up.
If blades have a heel they also have a toe. The toe is the very end of the blade, and it comes in two basic shapes: round and square, as Figure 4 shows. The difference is that a square toe offers more blocking area and the round toe gives more puck control at the tip.
Figure 4: round and square toes
Finally, the “lie” is the angle the blade makes relative to the shaft. It’s is measured as a number between 4 and 8 and printed in front of the shaft (most curves for senior sticks are between 5-6 lie). With a proper lie, the bottom of the blade is flat against the ice when the player is holding the stick normally.
How does the curve affect shooting?
It is a common misconception that curved blades became popular because they produce faster shots. The truth is, the curve is mostly about puck control, not puck speed. A curved blade makes the following three actions easier to achieve:
Consistency: the curve effectively forms a pocket at the bottom of which the puck will tend to go. When the puck leaves the stick always at the same place, the player passes and shoots more consistently.
Control: it’s easier to scoop the puck and take it quickly around an opponent with a curved blade. Other tricks are also made easier, like grabbing the puck at the tip of the blade and shooting it upward all in one move.
Puck spin: it can hardly be seen by eye, but a curve permits more puck spin
Spinning gives the puck more stability, like a football. In a “saucer pass”, spin is especially important because the puck must land flat on the ice. Although it is technically possible to spin the puck with a straight blade, it can be done better and more consistently with a curved blade. Applying cloth tape to the blade also adds adhesion and helps the puck spin.
Figure 5: spinning the puck with a curved blade
Spinning the puck is also done by goalies, and indeed most of them use slightly curved sticks for that purpose.
What about the negatives aspects of a curve? What helps the forehand shot hurts the backhander, unfortunately. Some accuracy is lost in that respect, but considering the popularity of the curved stick in the NHL, it seems that the benefits win over the drawbacks.
The reason why the NHL sets a curvature limit is probably to avoid excessive puck control. Can you imagine blades shaped like half-circles? Just grab the puck and go! Some argue that straighter blades are safer because they tend to keep the shots low. Deeper curves means easier upward shots, but the loft is probably the more important factor, especially in a slapshot where puck control is limited to a very short impact time. When the league decided in 2006 to increase the limit from ½ to ¾’’ (at par with the International Ice Hockey Federation), some goalies and defensemen expressed concerns about flying pucks. Their concerns may be justified if the new rule allows for more loft than before. However, according to the rule statement, it is not clear whether the “point of maximum curvature” is taken anywhere on the blade, not just at the bottom. If so, the new rule will allow players to put more loft (or twist) on their stick, making high shots more likely.
What curve should you choose?
Now that we understand blade curve basics, how should you decide on your next purchase? If you’re an experienced player you won’t need advice, as you already know what works best for you. High-level players select their stick based on their position (defense or forward) and on what type of curve they are accustomed to. Beginners, on the other hand, don’t need to go into the nitty-gritty and should select a curve that is neither flat nor overly bent. Buy what feels right, and as you get used to the stick, you might develop a preference for it. After all, an accurate pass, a hard slap shot and good puck control is above all a matter of practice and skills. But of course, don’t forget to blame your stick for misfires.