Hockey sticks over the past year or two are starting to make significant leaps and bounds. From holes in blades for better pop to bends in sticks for an improved flex. We put so much importance on these carbon tubes because they are the most fundamental part of the game aside from skates and the padded wall in front of the net. At Centre Ice we have detailed our favourite sticks of all time, how they have changed, the improvements sticks have made along the way and all the good and challenging parts observed in them from Darren (former Ice Black captain), Fraser (Auckland – Senior Non-Check) and Sophie (Ice Fern).
From Darren Blong owner of Centre Ice and former Ice Black captain.
2001 Game Changer – The Easton Silver Synergy – with the massive reduction in weight and a significant improvement in flex, shot release, and velocity compared to wooden sticks, roughly 90% of all NHL players were using carbon fibre stick technology by 2004. The stick weighing in at 450-460 grams, typically an extremely heavy stick by today’s standards. At the time this stick was a game changer, making the game faster and for goalies, a nightmare. While the Synergy eventuated into a one-piece stick, early models were really a tapered shaft/blade combo that was cosmetically altered to look like a one-piece stick.
Jarome Iginla | NHL All-Star Game 2002 – Easton Silver Synergy Stick
What Darren liked most about the stick was its great pop, with 10-15% better shot consistently off the stick compared to wooden sticks this was a huge improvement. Consistent flex in sticks made it easy to get used to and they were a lot of fun to zip shots at goalies, goalies hated them. Carbon was a new development in stick technology, so as you can imagine they weren’t all that durable and only lasted around four weeks. Coming with an expensive price tag these sticks were really only suitable for pro level players at the time. A few things that Darren didn’t like was the composite blade didn’t have the feel and damping that wooden sticks had, and the shaft needed to be at room temperate to have maximum snap/pop off the blade.
Fast forward several years, 2005 saw Easton’s CNT Stealth come onto the hockey scene and quickly became one the most loved sticks of all time.
Left: Darren Blong | West Auckland Admirals vs Swarm 2005 – Easton CNT Stealth Stick Right: Mike Green | Washington Capitals 2015.
Featuring a new Corner Reinforcement Technology (CRT) with Kevlar for increased durability meant taking a slash didn’t damage the shaft. The blade was constructed of CNT molecular level strengthening to keep it stiff and durable and new raised corner shape provides greater control. An improved weight of 425 grams and a low kick point made the stick deadly accurate with an improved quick release. The lightweight stick was great for offensive minded players and for Darren the CNT Stealth is his favourite stick of all time.
His only dislike about the stick was that they stopped making them.
Come to the present-day hockey brands have been narrowed down to just a handful, with the larger brands like Bauer and CCM swallowing the likes of Easton and Reebok. 2019 saw the introduction of Easton technology into the Bauer stick range with the use of the carbon layering and taper features, seen in first the Vapor Flylite followed by the Supreme Ultrasonic and then the Nexus Geo. Darren has been using Bauer Supreme sticks for the last 7-8 years and is currently loving the Ultrasonic.
Jack Eichel | Buffalo Sabres – Bauer Supreme Ultrasonic Stick
A massive weight reduction in Bauer’s top of the line sticks, with the Flylite, Ultrasonic and Geo all sitting at 390 grams, providing an extremely lightweight stick. The new advances in the blade and shaft have made this stick noticeably different for Darren. The blade has a new lightweight blade core with two different foams fused together which improves puck feel and acceleration which Darren has likened to the damping feel of a wooden blade. The pop off the blade has also been a real difference maker compared to the last few Supreme sticks. This has been a key change to the Supreme stick with the addition of the Sonic Taper which has removed excess carbon fiber layers to reduce the weight and improve blade stability and allowing energy to transfer from the shaft into the blade with maximum force and control for all shot types. While this has been a great improvement, a downside Darren has found from this stick is the extra corners lower down of the shaft has made it harder to tip pucks in front of the net.
While Darren has been playing the game for the majority of his life, he has used a fair few sticks, with many more favourites not included on this list pre-dating carbon fibre hockey sticks. But now finding the Ultrasonic, his weapon of choice.
Having favourite sticks come and go, like Darren and for many of us – you move on (sadly) and find a new twig that suits you and your wallet. Today sticks have options at the top, middle and low end that rival high end sticks from 5 years ago, to say the least. Stay tuned for Part 2 of “Our Favourite Sticks” to hear more including our best sellers and best value on the shelf today.