The majority of people see a hockey stick and they see exactly that - a hockey stick, a piece of wood, with a weird curve on the end, inexplicably wrapped in tape and seemingly more of a blunt striking object than anything else.
To the average hockey player, though, a stick - or a twig - is more than just a piece crafted from wood or composite; it is the bow to the violin, the pick to the guitar string. It's the wand used by magicians to weave magic all over the ice. Without the right length, the right curve, and the right the perfect tape-job, it is nothing more than an irregularly shaped branch off a tree.
Like anything is else in sport, the hockey stick has evolved from nothing more than the aforementioned "piece of wood" to a highly-specialized scoring weapon, modified down to the last detail to give National Hockey League snipers optimal power, quickness and accuracy with each shot they take. It's gotten to the point where the stick almost does the work for you - just lean on the kick-zone and watch the puck fly off the blade, almost effortlessly.
Granted, it's not that simple, but the improvements made to sticks (combined with the shift to composite and carbon shafts) have certainly made hockey sticks much more sophisticated and effective. Over the years, players of all levels have had a multitude of choices when it comes to what brand of stick they want to use, but only a select few will go down in hockey lore as the greatest twigs of all-time.
15 The Two-Piecer
The "two-piece" stick was kind of the like the puberty stage in the history of hockey sticks. After all those years of all-wood sticks, suddenly things began to change - a mix of old standards and new technologies. It took us all a while to get the hang of it; there were awkward, uncomfortable moments - the strange feel of an aluminum shaft, the weight difference, and the out-of-place looking blade that stuck out like a sore thumb.
14 Warrior Covert
The Warrior brand is a strange one - either you love it, or you absolutely hate it. The Warrior brand of sticks is the "hipster" hockey brand; the sticks are stylish and look good, cost as much as all the other sticks (if not more), but when push comes to shove you're only using it to be "different."
13 Reebok SicKick
The SicKick has a couple of things going for it - notably, it has a "sick" name, looks "sick," and has had Sidney Crosby associated with it for years.
12 Koho Fiberglass
If the two-piece sticks were the "puberty" stage of the hockey sticks development, fiberglass is the age where boys spend half of their time running away from girls with "cooties" while secretly in love with the girl of their dreams.
11 Bauer Supreme Total One
If you ever wondered how Steven Stamkos manages to get so much force behind his wicked slapper from a standing still position, you can give part of the credit to his Bauer sticks. Bauer has become a force in the hockey stick landscape over the past decade, and have produced some of the most popular sticks in the world - many used religiously by some of the NHL's best players.
10 Bauer Nexus
9 CCM RBZ
8 CCM Tacks
A blast from the past - sort of. "Tacks" is a brand synonymous with hockey, so CCM decided to bring back an old school look to a new school product. The CCM Tacks sticks have been on the shelf for less than a year but are already all the rage - in the NHL and elsewhere. The Tacks sticks main selling points are its grip and its ability to help shooters pick the corners - with "some pop" on your shots.
7 Bauer Vapor XXX
A lot of what goes into choosing a stick is the feel and the benefits of any particular stick, but you also want it to look good. The Bauer Vapor XXX did both - and had the Nike logo attached to it to boot. It's an all-around scoring weapon that was light, durable, well-rounded and flashy, and it made players look flashy all over the ice, too.
6 TPS Response
5 Koho Revolution
4 The Wooden Twig
There's nothing like a classic.
3 CCM Vector
2 Easton Synergy
The Easton Synergy might deserve the first spot on this list, but it'll make sense once you scroll down. The Synergy is still one of the most popular stick brands across the hockey world, despite all the modifications made since it's "humble" beginnings around 2000. Big names like Joe Sakic and Paul Kariya were some of the first to pick up the one piece composite twig, to the ire of goalies everywhere.
1 Easton HXP (Aluminum)
So, why isn't the Synergy at the top of this list?
Because The Great One said so.
Granted, Gretzky retired just before the advent of the composite stick, but he was right in the middle (and directly responsible) for the rise of the aluminum shaft. If the greatest scorer in the history of the sport says that the Easton HXP was the greatest stick he'd ever used, who are we to argue with him (or the 80 or so NHLers who picked one up the second the words came out of The Great One's mouth)?
Here's exactly what Gretzky said about the HXP back then, according to The Toronto Star: "After using it, I'm convinced that it’s the best stick made,” Gretzky says at a news conference. “It is absolutely perfect for my needs — stiff shaft and yet extremely light."
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!