With the NHL season set to finally kick off, the best players in the world have returned to training camps and hit the ice in anticipation of a January 13th start date for the National Hockey League. Preseason is typically the time of year where we start to see pro players testing out new model sticks, and this year is no exception.
Even with so little hockey being played over the past year, the major players in the hockey stick industry haven't missed a beat and are rolling out the new models as expected. Some of these are highly anticipated, while others are surprises to see so soon.
Coming off of a stick shortage in the spring, an influx of new sticks going out to pro teams will make this an interesting year for us in terms of picking up sticks. Many teams still have fresh inventories of sticks that arrived during lockdown and never got a chance to use them before the next gen sticks arrived.
It is likely that this year we will see lots of teams stick with last year's model, both based on player comfort with a short turnaround to get used to new gear, and with budget constraints coming off an economically difficult year.
Our mission will remain the same as always - give teams fair value for their overstock gear to put money back into their budgets, and in turn have those great sticks and gear available for our customers at great prices!
True Project X
True has done a great job breaking into the market in recent years, and seem to have cemented themselves as a clear cut 4th most popular brand right now. The Project X stick has been rumoured for a long time, and True poster boy Mitch Marner has been using True's lightest ever stick in Toronto Maple Leafs training camp. The True CT has also popped up in the hands of a few players (including Zdeno Chara) but is still in the early prototype stages.
Release Date: February 5th
Our Outlook: With the official retail release just around the corner, these sticks have been popping up here and there for us over the past few months. We currently have some of both the Project X and the CT available in our Sideline Swap locker, and have a number of True AX9 sticks available on site from players who had been testing out the new Project X Blade (PXB) technology.
CCM Jetspeed FT4 Pro
The Jetspeed FT3 Pro was just released this summer, and despite little hockey being played since, we have already gotten our first look at the FT4. A number of CCM's top athletes have been spotted with the upcoming addition to the Jetspeed family, including Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid (though we all know that he will be back to his trusty SuperTacks in no time). The FT3 has been getting rave reviews so far, and so will be interesting to see how the FT4 is received while following it up so closely.
Release Date: Late June
Our Outlook: Most teams are still sitting on shipments of FT3s that have yet to see any game action due to the pandemic. Expect more variants of those available before long, but it seems likely that many players will be sticking to the AS2 Pro/Trigger 4/FT2 generation of CCM sticks, at least to start the season.
Bauer Vapor HyperLite
Nick Suzuki of the Montreal Canadiens had the honour of being the first player spotted with Bauer's latest Vapor twig. On the heels of recent Nexus Geo and Supreme Ultrasonic releases, The HyperLite will follow the very popular Vapor FlyLite as Bauer's flagship low kick stick. Not much is known about the specifics of this stick yet, but it would not be a surprise if it is the lightest stick to ever hit the market.
Release Date: Late July
Our Outlook: As this is our first look at the HyperLite, we are likely still a few months away from getting any in stock. We do have our best-ever selection of FlyLites available now, and the limited release Vapor ADV stick remains a very popular lightweight build among pro players.
Warrior Alpha LX Pro
Blake Wheeler of the Winnipeg Jets was the first player to be spotted using the LX in a team skate earlier this month. The successor to the Alpha DX, the LX is expected to be just under 400g and should follow in the footsteps of the DX as the most popular Warrior stick among NHLers - even with early criticisms of a fairly underwhelming graphic.
Release Date: Mid July
Our Outlook: There are still lots of unknowns with this stick, but we should start to see some LX sticks available over the next few months. In the meantime, we have lots of Alpha DX sticks available now, which will be the go-to for most Warrior NHLers to start the year.