Earlier this week we went over the gear battle between the Bruins and the Penguins in the Eastern conference final. Your feedback was awesome, so we were inspired to head over to the Western Conference to match-up the Kings and Blackhawks. We could give you our thoughts on the actual games, but for that you’re way better off heading to some actual hockey experts - we’ll stick to what we know, which is hockey equipment.
We took a look at some major categories (gloves, sticks, skates, helmets and goalie gear) to see what all the players are wearing. Just like in the East, Bauer Hockey pretty much dominates the landscape, again coming in with 47% of the total gear worn by both teams. CCM/Reebok comes in a close second with 38%, split evenly at 19% per brand. Easton fell behind, carrying only 9% of the total gear in the Western Conference Final. Rounding out the rest was Warrior Hockey with 6%, while Winnwell and Graf represented 1% each.
Sticks: CCM took their first team lead in a category, tying Bauer hockey, who has Patrick Kane using the new APX2, as the leading stick used by the Chicago Blackhawks, with 26% per brand. That’s what happens when you release a stick as hot as the RBZ has been this season. Bauer dominated the Kings roster however, capturing 42% of the team and nearly doubling the total put up by 2 nd place Easton at 23%. Reebok finished as the middle manufacturer on both teams, managing high teen percentages on each. Warrior Hockey came in last on both teams, their Covert DT1 being slightly more popular with the Hawks. Worth noting is the spread of stick makers on either team, the Kings with a leader of 42% and last place at 4%. The Blackhawks had the same leader with Bauer, but at only 26%, with Warrior carrying the smallest share - but not terrible - behind at 13%.
Gloves: Bauer takes a dominant lead in the Kings locker room with 58%, more than tripling 2nd place Reebok at 19%. For the Hawks however, Bauer came in 3rd with 22% even with Jonathan Toews rocking the new Supreme TotalOne NXG gloves. Coming in first was Reebok at 30%, followed by Warrior with 26%. Unfortunately for CCM and Easton, they came in 4th and 5 th respectively, on both teams with under 15%.
Skates: Not surprisingly, Bauer with their three top model skates – the Vapor APX2, Supreme TotalOne NXG and the Nexus 1000 - came out way ahead. Bauer came away with a staggering 85% of the Kings in their boots, and 65% of the Blackhawks. Reebok came in second on both sides of the ice, with 8% of the Kings, and 17% of the Hawks. On the Hawks side, CCM matched its sibling Reebok and the 20K skate at 17%, while only managing one Kings player wearing skates. Graf also made an appearance, with one Kings player donning the distinctive neon yellow. Easton and their new Mako skate will not be making any appearances in the Western Conference Finals this season, even though they have some great technology to offer.
Helmets: Buckets was a very interesting category in the WCF. In the Kings room, Bauer represents half of the lids with CCM and Reebok tying for second, capturing 23% each. This is undoubtedly due to the popularity, comfort and protection of the Re-Akt and the IMS 9.0. On the other side of it, 48% of the Blackhawks are wearing CCM. The CCM V10 and V08 have one of the best looking shell designs on the market, a big selling point for NHL Pros. Reebok has 17% of the Blackhawks between their 11K and 7K helmets. Easton came in 4th with both teams, protecting 9% of the Hawks heads, and one single King. Warrior had one player on the Hawks and, ironically, zero actual Kings wearing their Krown 360 Helmet (cue the drum --- ba-dum-bum…tshh). Get it? Kings? Krown?
Goalies: On the Kings side, starter Jonathon Quick wearing Vaughn can only boost them into second place with 25% behind Back-up Jonathon Bernier’s full CCM set-up putting them at 38%. In a tie at the bottom with 13% each came Warrior, Bauer and Reebok. In the Hawks crease, Reebok dominates with 75%, blowing away the other two brands. Brian’s makes their only appearance in either conference, Ray Emery’s full set up giving them a respectable 17% showing. Warrior is the only other brand represented between the Hawks pipes with 8% of the total gear.
How we compiled this: We grabbed the rosters from each team's respective websites and then we went hunting for recent pictures. Most of the images we compiled this data from are pictures from the last week or so. If it was a player who hasn't seen playoff action, we grabbed a picture from their last NHL game or AHL game if they haven't seen any NHL action yet (reserve callups, for example). It was a good exercise and very interesting!
You can download the full size graphic right here and see it in a much larger, clearer size. Study it and share it all you want! We'd love to hear your thoughts. What surprised you? What didn't? What SHOULD players be wearing?