Pro Stock Hockey Sticks vs. Retail Hockey Sticks
We all want to shoot like the pros with a blistering slap shot and seeing-eye wristers that sneak in from ridiculous angles. But you can’t buy a better shot, and the thrill of buying a pro stock hockey stick won’t help you play like your favorite player. In fact, buying a pro stock stick versus a retail hockey stick can result in worse performance because the list of ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ is long and troublesome.
Differences Between Pro Stock Hockey Sticks and Retail Sticks
Flex – Professional hockey players custom order the flex on their sticks to precise standards. Retail sticks come in set flex rates, for example 85,95, and 105. Those flexes will fit the majority of players.
Blade – A pro can tweak the curve, pattern, and lie of his blade until it’s exactly what he wants. The manufacturer will make a mold for him and use it only for his blades. Just because a blade is perfect for a pro doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you. If the blade curve doesn’t fit your game, you’ll be spraying pucks all over the ice and all you can do to fix the problem is buy a new stick.
Material – The quality of materials used in a retail hockey stick may not be as high-grade as materials used in a pro stick, but if you need to replace your gamer you’ll be able to get the same stick off the rack where a pro stock stick may not be available.
Customization – This is one of the biggest differences between pro stock and retail hockey sticks. Everything from the shaft length, flex, and taper, to the hosel, blade pattern, and even the materials, can be customized in a pro stock hockey stick. But let’s be honest. If we had the clapper of Chara or the ability to handle, dangle, and score like Crosby, we’d have our own stick. Short of having a stick designed just for you, using one off the rack that best fits your game is your best option.
Performance – The difference in the performance of a pro stock stick versus a retail twig can be great if all of the customizations fit your game. If they don’t, you’re stuck with a stick you can’t use efficiently, and can’t return. Off-the-shelf sticks are designed to fit a variety of players while still delivering great performance.
Durability – A pro stock stick may be more durable than a retail stick because of the higher quality materials and rigorous manufacturing standards. Or it might not be, because the pro stock may be weaker in an effort to shave weight or provide a different balance.
Price – Surprisingly, a pro stock stick will likely be less expensive than a retail stick. But those savings may cost you more in the long run because there is no warranty with pro stock sticks, and because of their customization they may not be as rugged as retail sticks.
Warranty – A pro stock stick comes with zero warranty—if something breaks or comes apart, you have no recourse. The warranty on a retail stock hockey stick is typically 30 days.
Is the Question of a Pro Stock vs. a Retail Hockey Stick a No-Brainer?
It may seem like a no-brainer—a better stick with better material made to a higher standard at a lower price? Just remember those ‘ifs’ and ‘buts,’ because they’re big: the pro stock hockey stick you buy is better on the ice than the retail stock stick, as long as you don’t buy a used stick. A used stick is a great option to hang on the wall or stand in the corner of your office. And unless you have money to burn, buying a pro stock as your only hockey stick is too big of a gamble, especially considering there is zero warranty on a pro stock hockey stick. If you’re looking to buy a stick you’ll use to light the lamp, buy the best retail stick you can afford that will benefit your game.