Pro Stock Hockey Sticks vs. Retail Hockey Sticks
Watch the pros shoot for long enough, and you’ll see the good, the bad, and the ugly: blistering slapshots that came from decades of practice and a stick made to their exact specifications, a missed opportunity that you swear even you could
have buried, and sticks breaking at exactly the wrong time. So, what exactly is the difference between sticks that a professional player uses, and the ones that us mere mortals usually buy?
Looks are Deceiving
That Vapor stick that your favorite player is using? It’s often not a Vapor- it could be a Nexus, or a Supreme, or something that isn’t really comparable to a retail stick. Some players have been using the same stick for years, but the
manufacturer will change the graphic to make it look like they are using the latest stick in their lineup.
This is perfectly fine for the player, but if you’re looking to buy a stick for yourself, make sure you do some research before you spend your hard-earned money on a stick that isn’t the right one for you.
Options We Don't Get
A pro has access to patterns (curve, lies, etc.) and flex profiles that retail customers do not. Many players don’t use a curve that’s available at retail at all. For example, a player may use a pattern that is “similar”
to a P92, but remember that similar doesn’t mean identical. You might see a difference in the pattern that you love, but you might also hate.
In addition, even if you can find a stick that you like, it might be difficult to find the exact same stick in the future. Players sometimes have several patterns and flex profiles made every year, and what they don’t end up using can end
up for sale.
The biggest misconception we see with pro stock sticks is that they are all reinforced to last longer. As with many things related to pro stock sticks, the answer is: “sometimes, but not always.” Some pro players want the absolute lightest
stick possible, and to accomplish this, manufacturers will take as much material out of the stick as possible, and others will do the opposite. Also, keep in mind that there is no warranty on pro stock sticks.
Which to Choose?
For most players, purchasing a retail stick is a better option than pro stock for playing hockey. The combination of knowing exactly what you are purchasing with a consistent flex profile, pattern and warranty just makes sense. That doesn’t
mean pro stock sticks are a bad thing- you may want something to hang on the wall or stand in the corner of your office. If you are planning on purchasing a pro stock to play hockey with, just make sure you do a lot of research, as it’s
difficult to be 100% sure about exactly what you’re buying.