Monday, February 27, 2012
What's In My Hockey Bag?


By Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing

Today I'm writing something a little bit different. Instead of doing a review, I decided to make this post a little bit interactive and hopefully you guys will jump in and participate. I love the fact that you guys read these posts and hope you have as much fun reading them as I do writing about gear. Being such an equipment guy, everything in my bag has some special meaning to me and most of it has been in there for a while. You all know the old question about how if the house were burning down, what would you go grab? Well, my first trip in is to get my hockey bag and the second would be to grab my golf clubs – my girlfriend is a pretty smart chick, I’m confident she could find her way out....but please, nobody tell her I wrote that!
 
So what's in my bag?
 
Skates:  Easton Stealth S-17 Custom
As I wrote in another post, I love these skates. I’m currently on my second pair. They are comfortable and perform as well, if not better, than anything I’ve ever worn. They are very light and look great. No complaints about them in three years. 











Helmet:  Easton E-700 w/Oakley Pro Straight Visor
Another product that I have written a previous review for. What I will say is I wrote that review a month ago and thought that after writing it, I would go back to my old helmet. But guess what? I am still wearing it. I never thought I would seriously consider changing helmets, but the E-700 has me considering it. 

 

















Usual Helmet: Bauer 4500 w/ Oakley Pro Straight Visor
I have been wearing the 4500 since it was a Nike, I was in 8th grade when I got it and I have gone through about 6 of them for various teams. It is comfortable and looks great. Like any helmet, when worn right, it is protective. This is my favorite helmet ever made and I never thought I would change it. I haven’t worn anything since 8th grade, besides a few demos.
 
Gloves: Easton Synergy Custom Pro (BU and NYI)
Here’s another product that I have been wearing for quite some time. I was wearing them in high school, and was lucky enough to have them be one of my options to choose when I got to the Boston University club team. My BU gloves are now closer to the end of their lives then to the beginning and after much searching, I found a pair that were the same specs, so I bought them instantly - hence the ugly Islanders colors! The reason I like these gloves so much is the huge range of motion - I have always been a fan a nonrestrictive glove. These are really easy to move around in, soft palms, great feel on the stick and are really protective. 


 
















Elbow Pads: Jofa 9025
These things are classic! I’ve had them forever, to the point that I need to tape them on because the straps are so stretched out. I have tried to replace them and the replacements didn’t last a month. They have almost nothing to them – no bicep pad, no fancy material – just some hard plastic and a forearm wrap. They aren’t the most protective things in the world and - cards on the table - I've hit bare elbows when they move during a fall and I’ve also  taken a couple slashes that they didn’t really help me out on, but I wouldn’t trade the mobility they offer for anything. 

 


















Pants: Nike Pro BU 
Until I got to BU, I had worn only Tackla girdles from 7th grade through High School. I hadn’t considered going back to pants, until about halfway through freshman season when I made the switch. These Nikes are just stripped down, again no bells and whistles, just padding and some breathable inside material. Incase you haven’t caught on to how I generally pick my equipment; mobility is the first thing I look for. These have a lot of it.  They are a really simple two-piece pant, like most pro pants, the upper and lower are two totally separate pieces, which is why you see a lot of NHL guys with totally different color kidney pads from the rest of the pant - its usually not a shell. It is kind of a shell, the difference is the pads are in it and the whole thing snaps into the upper piece. 


 
 




























Shin Pads: Easton S-19 Shin
This is the piece of equipment that it has taken me the longest to finally replace. Up until my Junior year of college, I wore 13” Bauer Vapor 10 Shin pads. Not the lower model, the actual pad (which I got in 8th grade) from when Vapors only went up to the number 10. I tried on everything, but I could never find a pair of shins that my leg sat deep enough in and nothing contoured to my leg right. I finally tried the S19 and they sat like I wanted them to, felt comfortable and didn’t move around on my legs as I skated. The S19’s are really comfortable and a lot more protective than my Vapor 10’s. The only issue I have with these is the hard plastic calf wrap, which occasionally catches on the tendon guard of my skate. Other than that, they are great pads.



 




























Shoulder Pads: Farrell H600
I have now moved on to the ranks of men’s leagues and have abandoned shoulder pads, but when I was playing contact, I was wearing the Farrell H600’s. Great pads all around, completely nonrestrictive, light and extremely protective. A great pad all around. 
 
Two other things I want to write about are some equipment that I want. The first is the piece of current equipment I would try if money was no object. If that were the case, I would definitely want to try The Warrior Franchise gloves. I have loved those since they came out and have always wanted a pair. 
 
The last thing is what one piece of equipment that I have had but no longer do – lost it, outgrew it, broke it – that I wish I could have back in new condition. The first thing that comes to mind is the Warrior Mac Daddy sticks. I loved those things. They lasted forever and performed great. The color was pretty outrageous, but they were one of the best looking sticks for spray painting the bottom black. 
 
So here’s where it gets interactive - I love that you guys take the time to read my posts, and I want to hear from you. Respond either in the comments section below or to the Pure Hockey Facebook page. I will post these three questions to you:
 
1) What’s currently in your bag? (no need to elaborate, just a list)
2) Disregarding price, what is the one thing you would want to have in your bag?
3) What is the one thing you used to have, that you would want back if you could get it in new condition?
 
Let’s hear it!!!!!


4 Comments Posted at 02:00PM on 02/27/2012

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Thursday, February 23, 2012
Game Time Review - Easton S17 Skates (Long Term)

By Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing

S-17 Long Term Review

Models I use:-
1)  S-17 Black Custom, size 9.5, regular stiffness boot, Tuuk LS2 Holder (LS2 then LS3 Steel, 9 Ft Forward Radius), extra-long felt tongue, Vibram Rubber Toe Cap

2)    S-17 Black Custom, size 9.25, extra stiff, double composite wrap boot, Tuuk LS2 Holder (LS3 Steel, 9 Ft Forward Radius), extra-long felt tongue, uncovered composite toe-cap



I first got the opportunity to skate in the Easton S-17 Skates in June of 2009 during a demo skate put on by Easton. As you guys have probably caught on from reading these reviews, I’m a bit of an equipment nut and June 2009 was a pretty good month for me as I happened to be looking for new skates and I got to demo Bauer, Reebok/CCM and Easton within a few weeks of each other.

In that month I got to skate in the then-new Bauer Vapor X:60, CCM U+ Reloaded, and Easton S-17.  At the time I was playing in Bauer Vapor XXXX’s and was so pumped up to try out the X:60.  While the X:60 was comfortable and performed well, a couple  of weeks later I was blown away after skating in the S-17. Before skating in them, I would have never even considered buying a pair of Easton Skates, as they had a reputation for breaking down quickly and the few pairs I had had on my feet  (including a pair put on my opposite feet by a friend during a training session, that’s a story for another day though) didn’t feel very comfortable. The Easton rep at the time told me that improving the durability was a huge goal for them in designing the S-17, and after a few minutes on the ice, my mind was totally changed.

I immediately couldn’t believe how comfortable the skate was. I could feel the padding around my ankle a lot more than with the Vapor XXXX’s and my heel felt very locked in to the back of the skate. Out on the ice, I couldn’t believe the performance, the stiffness that I always look for in a skate and the great responsiveness. The thing that struck me as impressive wasn’t the performance – my XXXX’s performed well too, as did the X:60 – it was that performance paired with great comfort. It is rare to find that combination - my Graf's were comfortable, but not very responsive. The Vapor XXXX’s were stiff and responsive, but not comfortable. The S-17 was both.

I ended up ordering a custom pair a couple weeks later, and got them just before the season in the fall. I had a few of my own little customizations, longer tongue for comfort and a nice flop. I had TUUK LS2 holders put on because I am most comfortable with them. The steel on Easton’s Razor Bladz holder is slightly narrower and, to me, it is noticeable and feels a less stable, so I went with the LS2. I eventually got the opportunity to use the LS3 steel, which I have been using ever since. It’s a taller steel – more sharpening life and room for custom profiling and it also has a more aggressive pitch to it, something I really look for.

When the skates came in, they were shipped to our Danvers, MA store and on the drive up I was giddy as a kid going to sleep on Christmas Eve. I knew when I got to the store there was something special waiting for me. I was skating that night, and I didn’t even heat mold the skates, that’s how comfortable they were. I sharpened them up and went to practice and these things were game-ready from the get go. I did eventually heat them after a few skates.

The thing I noticed in the first few weeks of skating in them was the comfort closely followed by the energy transfer. No lace bite, no cuts on the outsides of my ankles and my ankle genuinely felt padded and surrounded. What I mean by energy transfer is the noticeable difference in how quickly and powerfully I could change direction and I could really feel the skate reload as I stopped and started.

Since then, both pairs of S-17’s that I have had have been extremely dependable. I was a bit nervous before getting them with the horror stories I had heard about Easton skates that they breakdown quickly and fail often. I had seen my friends S-15 that literally had a hole that you could touch his foot through. So I was a bit nervous about how they would hold up. And I can say that I have had no complaints, they have actually held up slightly better than my Vapor XXXX’s. They have some minor cuts and scrapes but nothing out of the realm of normal wear and tear.

I really have had no complaints about the S-17’s – probably the reason I bought a second pair even after trying out several other newer models. The great part of the S-17 is that I always know what I’m going to get from them. Excellent response, great stiffness and very comfortable, there’s not much more to ask for in a pair of skates. My personal pairs have a few modifications that add some weight versus the retail model, but they are still extremely light.

Overall the S-17’s are the best skate I have owned in a long time and they are what I’ll be skating in for the foreseeable future.



1 Comments Posted at 01:30PM on 02/23/2012

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Friday, February 17, 2012
PureGoalie.com is Here!

Well, first we launched our Commonwealth Lacrosse website back in January 2011. Then in May, we put PureHockey.com on the bus and waved as it sped off into the internet ecosystem. Now, we are very excited and proud to announce the launch of PureGoalie.com! Whooooo -- cue the in-arena goal sirens...or maybe not, goalies, as we know that sound ain't your favorite one, is it?

Anyway, having opened our Pure Goalie stores in Braintree and Berlin (and as support for our other four goalie stores in Dover NH, Warwick RI, Norwalk CT and Fairfield NJ), it made perfect sense to give our dedicated base of goalie shoppers their own online destination, dedicated to just goalies - and so we've done it. The brand new, shiny PureGoalie.com offers all the same features and functionality of PureHockey.com, including guidance sections for tips, drills, fitting and product reviews, among many other educational, informative things. We are here to help YOU make the right decisions, goalies - from gear to on-ice.

So dig in here, and as always, please do not hesitate to reach out to us anytime with comments, suggestions, gripes and praise. We love hearing from you! Here's the press release with more detail:
 

FRANKLIN, MA  -- Pure Goalie, one of the largest retailers in the United States of ice hockey goalie equipment, today announced that it has launched its new website, at http://www.PureGoalie.com.  The new website provides a full e-commerce experience and dynamic online tools to help hockey goalie consumers purchase, learn and get equipment guidance from goaltending experts - and to see all the latest and greatest hockey goalie gear at the best prices.
Pure Goalie has also added video for many products to help shoppers get more information and become more familiar with the products which they are considering for purchase. Product descriptions are not standard descriptions from vendors – Pure Goalie has enlisted hockey goalie experts to re-write product descriptions in their entirety – and all descriptions are written by Pure Goalie employees, particularly store managers who live and breathe the life of the hockey goaltender.
Other features include the following:
•    Store location pages: shoppers now have easy access to store hours, maps, directions, manager bios/photos & video tours for each Pure Goalie store.
•    Easy to find specific hockey goalie product using the dynamic navigation tool. Dynamically narrow down to brand, price, size and color with the click of a mouse.
•    The traditional search box helps users find what they need in a quicker fashion.
•    Customers can mouse over on the shopping cart icon on ANY page on the site to get a quick glimpse of what is in their cart.
•    An online customizer which lets goalies build their own gear, in their own colors, featuring dynamic, on-the-fly color changes and extensive customization options.
•    Pure Goalie offers select goalie gear to be viewed in 360-degree angles by using a mouse to spin the product around.

David Nectow, President of Pure Goalie parent company TSG Enterprises, LLC., commented, “We are very excited to launch our new Pure Goalie website, which we truly believe to be the simplest and most informative e-commerce site on the internet for hockey goalies. Not only do our customers continue to have access to all the goalie gear at the best prices, but they now have a forum to learn, watch videos and have the best goalie experience overall on the web. We look forward to launching even more features online in 2012 and serving our online customers better than anyone else who sells goalie equipment.”

Pure Goalie sells major hockey goalie equipment brands such as Vaughn, Bauer, Brians, Warrior, Reebok and many more. Pure Goalie has six retail locations including Berlin MA, Braintree MA, Dover NH, Warwick RI, Norwalk, CT, Fairfield, NJ and upcoming Pure Goalie openings in Pittsburgh, PA in the Spring of 2012.

SOURCE: TSG Enterprises, LLC., 2/15/2012
CONTACT: Jeff Copetas of TSG Enterprises, LLC., +1-508-541-6100 x10
Web site: http://www.PureGoalie.com/


0 Comments Posted at 11:00AM on 02/17/2012

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Monday, February 13, 2012
Game Time Review: Warrior Dolomite Stick

By Kyle Stevenson, Marketing

I have been using the Warrior Dolomite for about four years now (through several models, the HD, DD, Spyne, etc). I have to give major credit to Warrior over the years for creating a great stick and incredible consistency with the Dolomite; this stick has remained fundamentally the same for the majority of the time it has been out. How much do you hate it when you fall in love with a stick and by the start of the next season, the newest model is out and suddenly your favorite is gone? Well, its happened to me quite a bit and I hate getting used to new sticks! When I step on the ice, I want to know how the stick is going to feel from the first shot.  Warrior has allowed me to do that, with the Dolomite, adding a few minor tweaks along the way. Every time I pick up a Dolomite, I know just about exactly how it’s going to feel - and that is a great feeling.

Admittedly, there are newer sticks that have a quicker release or a slightly softer feeling blade than the Dolomite, but the difference is so small that I side with the consistency and the stick that I know. It always feels good shooting and handling the puck.

As far as the shaft goes, it is one of the more comfortable ones I have ever had in my hands. I remember telling an old coach of mine about how a store didn't have my curve, how I had to buy the stick in a bind - and how annoying it was. He promised me that all I needed to do was to find a shaft that felt comfortable for me and I would get used to whatever curve was on the end. When he told me that, I was about 12, using a classic Sherwood 5030! Looking back now, he couldn’t have been more right. Switching curves takes a bit of getting used to, but after a couple of practices, you’re there. I guarantee it will take a lot longer to really feel comfortable with a new shaft with a different flex, shape and kick-point!

Guys in the locker room often look at my curve and ask me how in the hell I ever hit the net, never mind how do I put the puck where I want it. My answer is simple: I use that big toe curve to my advantage. It's much quicker to get off a snapshot when its coming from the toe and only having to go a couple inches versus the puck moving from the heel all the way to the toe. The toe curve allows me to corral the puck on shots and get it off accurately with less wind up. The curve definitely took some getting used to on the first handful of shots, but the advantage controlling the puck is huge. I feel much more comfortable with the puck in tight to my skates. It also lets me make a quick toe-drag without too much movement to let the D-man read it.

Overall, I still love the Warrior Dolomite, its going into my stick Hall of Fame someday along with that old 5030 and the Bauer Vapor XXX. Warrior was smart enough to build a great stick and stick with it. If its not broke, don’t fix it! And just let me keep using the damn thing!

 



0 Comments Posted at 11:00AM on 02/13/2012

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012
Game Time Review: Easton Stealth RS Stick

By Kyle Stevenson, Marketing

After a couple months and finally having a chance to use it on a consistent basis, I have my decision on the Easton Stealth RS stick: unbelievable!
 







I have used the Stealth line since Easton came out with the elliptical taper on the S-17's. The last five years I have almost exclusively used two stick lines, Easton Stealth (S-17, S-19, RS) and Warrior Dolomites. This review is going to be a little bit about using the newest Stealth released back in the fall, the RS.

When I used the S-17, I picked it up and loved it. The S-19 - same thing - one shot and I was in heaven. The RS however, I almost considered putting away after the first skate, where I used it in warm-ups and then benched it. It rode the pine in favor of the Dolomite for the game, but at the end I decided to give it another try and I ended up loving it. It just took a little more time to get used to than its predecessors.

The model I use is the RS Hall Curve (think Sakic, P92, Draper) 85 Flex, non-grip. Upon taking the first shot, I immediately noticed two things, it has a much different kick-point than I expected (based on using the other two) and it's a very whippy stick. Leaning into shots, it felt much softer than an 85 Flex, and the stick was noticeably flexing forward on my release and follow-through. As I figured out how the stick was going to react, I couldn’t believe how smooth the puck was coming off the blade. Without exaggeration, snapshots felt like they were coming off as smooth as a saucer pass, just rolling off the blade. On top of the great feel, I was putting the puck where I wanted. A symphony of pipes in warm-ups.

There is nothing like the release on this stick, I haven’t ever used anything that came close. Just lightning fast. I lean into a snapshot and its gone. It creates and incredible advantage if you find yourself with an open shot and only need to beat the 'tendy. As soon as you see the goalie shuffle across and it flashes in your mind “shoot now” before he sets, its gone. You can go from thinking shoot to release so quick that it’s mind-blowing. The advantage of being able to release so quick is so important in today’s game - goalies are big, but still quick - so being able to place it where you want when you need to is crucial, and the RS allows you to do it.

The most noticeable improvement I see from the S-19 is the feel of the blade. Again, when I first touched the puck with it I thought it had absolutely zero feel and it felt like a hard blade. As I got used to it, I liked the feel a lot more. I realized it didn’t feel like no feel, it was just a much different feel. Playing with it now, I can really feel the puck a lot more so than I did with the S-19. A month later now, I can tell you I think that great feel comes at a cost, the heel and toe of this stick have worn out a little and chipped and splintered quicker than most sticks I have used. I can’t say for certain why, but the RS blade does not seem to have great durability.

On the other side of the durability discussion, I think the RS shaft feels a lot sturdier than the previous Stealths. The problem I have with the shaft is the grip. As I mentioned I use the non-grip, and as sweet as that matte black looks, I think it makes the stick a bit slicker. I haven’t used one, but I have held the grip version and I can instantly tell you it is way to sticky for me. I’m particular, and need a bit of grip without going overboard; the RS doesn’t really have that option. Its none or too much in my eyes. With the non-grip, I felt I needed more shaft tape than I would normally put on. I found myself looking for something in between the clear and grip shafts.

Overall the Easton RS is an amazing twig. Easton never ceases to astonish me with their innovations. Since the S17 came out, I have found that here is nothing like the first snapshot with a newly released Stealth model.



0 Comments Posted at 10:00AM on 02/07/2012

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