Anatomy of a Pro Stock Hockey Stick
Picture a Pro Stock Hockey Stick as a new car with aftermarket parts. Visually, you can't always see those parts but the enhancements they provide are inside. No two people generally purchase the same parts because what they are looking for is based on personal preference and needs, however the trick is figuring out, what do I need? In many ways a Pro Stock Stick will work with the same theory. What is the Position, Style, or Size of the player whose name is on it? What do I need to maximize my playing style? These are things that should be taken into consideration before picking a Pro Stock Twig.
People ask us all the time about the differences between Pro Stock Sticks and Stock Stick Models. Most commonly asked questions are what are the benefits or disadvantages of purchasing a Pro Stock Item and just what am I getting that’s better. Pro Sticks may differ vastly in specifications from the base model or sometimes not, making a definitive answer for every case near impossible. Let’s take a look at some key points you should know about when deciding to make the move to a Pro Stick. To understand this better it’s good to know some basics of Stock Sticks before making a side by side comparison.
Stock Stick Model Basics
Patterns (Blade Curve and Length) - are based on Popular Playing Styles and Position – Be it the Bauer P88 Kane or the CCM 87 Crosby almost all Stock Sticks produced by major stick companies are geared towards catering to a player with a certain stickhandling, shooting or passing preference. Since they have to limit the amount of models offered, stock patterns are something of an “averaging” of styles. Youth and Junior Stick choices are limited in terms of patterns offered in stores compared to Senior Sticks and since Pro Stock Sticks only come in Senior/Adult Sizes (the exception being intermediate 67 flex used by smaller lighter Pro Players like Calgary Flame’s Johnny Gaudreau) we will forego any chatter about Youth and Junior Models in this particular Blog.
Length - Most Senior Sticks are in the 60” Range (56” to 63” varying by Make and Model) which is generally measured from the Heel to the End of the Shaft. Everysportforless.com lists this length in the product descriptions. These lengths are perfect for most average height adults, the variance comes when the shaft is either cut down to shorten or has a composite or wooden butt end extension added to increase length. The Bruin’s Zdeno Chara was actually granted an exception by the NHL for a 65” Length Stick since NHL Rule Book max out at stick length at 63”. Remember that cutting down a stick reduces flexibility where as adding length with make the stick whippier (depending on your actual height of course).
Now that we have covered some basics of Stock Sticks let us move on to the juicy Pro Stock Info!
Patterns – The sky is the limit. Here is the real beauty of Pro Stock. Up and coming College Player, European League Superstar, AHL Jouneyman, CHL Prospect or NHL Grinder, Pro Stock Stick patterns come in all shapes and sizes, many customized to the players needs although some may also be quite close to stock with a tweak here or there. Generally you can judge the curve by defense or offensive and the style of play. The rule that shooters like a bigger curve and passers like a smaller one falls by the wayside here as at the Pro level players even 4th liners can still work magic with the craziest of banana curves. While the NHL does have stick curve rules as we’ve seen in the past the “If you’re not cheatin’ you’re not tryin’ “ rules still apply to many NHL players. It’s not uncommon for NHL players to use their big curve for the duration of the game and switch them out in the last 5 minutes or so of the 3rd period. The great news is recreational or beer leagues have no restrictions.
Durability – Generally Pro Stock Sticks must take the pounding of 6’4 230lb defensemen and vicious stick checking, slashing and heavy shots. The overall demands of the modern game dictate that the stick be durable so taking a look at a cut off Pro vs Stock Model will usually show a thicker inner sidewall. This makes a Pro Stock Model an ideal choice for a player that tends to break a lot of sticks.
Weight - Going hand in hand with durability the more built up materials inside the side wall the added weight. Usually a Pro Stock Stick is going to have a bit more heft to it, however the overall increase in weight will be so minimal that a normal human will not even feel it.
Release – Of course there will be a learning curve with an unfamiliar blade pattern. Shooting adjustments aside players will notice that the quickness a puck releases from a stick will fade over time. Pro Stock Sticks are made for players who take thousands of hard shots so you should find that the consistency of the release for a Pro Stick will last longer than a Stock one. This means the puck will snap off the blade harder and faster longer.
General Coolness – ok, lets face it, it’s kind of neat to have the name of your favorite player or even some random guy on your stick and there is a sense of satisfaction in having a stick no one else has.
Lasting Power – Durability of Shaft and Shot makes for great value.
Consistency – The added strength means slower breakdown of materials which adds up to lasting consistency in all areas.
Potential for unique qualities in between what is offered in Retail Stock Sticks - Because of the wide variety of blade pattern and stick lengths you get a more “player specific” stick.
Price – Pro Stock Sticks are priced lower than their name sake models at 2nd Time Around Sports.
Availability – You may find your ultimate stick and never find the exact one again.
Pro Stock Sticks do not have a warranty – Of course there is always a chance of breaking your stick Pro or otherwise. Pro Stock Sticks have no Manufacturers warranty, however due to their durability they generally hold up longer. This is not however, any guarantee.
If you find a Pro Stock Stick you like – Buy two or three if possible.
Know the player – Are they a puck carrying defensemen? A faceoff guy? A sniper? Chances are the stick plays the way they do.
Consider a Special Make Up (See our SMU Blog) as an alternative - If you are concerned about finding the perfect stick and then not being able to find another consider one of our Special Makeups. While some of the features of a Pro Stock Stick are not reflected in Special Make Ups you are getting added benefits that might be what you are looking for.
Save the Blade – Custom Sticks are available from many major manufacturers like Bauer, CCM, Warrior, True, Sherwood and more. While there is a minimum purchase for Custom you never know if you have teammates who love your curve. 2nd Time Around can help place custom orders so be sure to give us a call if you’re ready to go that route.
Questions? Call us! We have a number of experienced players on staff. You can be assured that many of us checkout every Pro Stock Stick (or glove for that matter) that comes through our doors so we can really get down to the nitty gritty with you.
Remember that your curve is like your fingerprint. While Hockey Companies generally only produce 4-5 patterns at the most the Pro Stock Stick is a great option for the player looking for a unique purchase featuring hidden benefits at a reasonable price that might just take your game to the next level.