Archive for the ‘Gear’ Category

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honda copy

It was November 25th, 1989, six months after my Dad had retired from the Los Angeles Kings and moved the family to Kelowna, BC. He decided to make the drive to Vancouver with my brother and I to see a Kings/Canucks game. I was granted the privilege of taping Luc Robataille’s stick before the game (I’m sure he re-taped it) on a night he recorded a hat-trick. After the final buzzer, we popped back into the Kings room for Dad to say his see-ya-laters, and he introduced us to his old Canada Cup teammate Wayne Gretzky. That day is one of my best childhood hockey memories.

Gretzky used the stick you see above that night, took the tape off and signed it. Look at that thing! Pre-made foam grip? Shiny as all get-out? NOT WOOD? How cool is that thing?

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The first time I used an Easton Synergy one-piece hockey stick, I was playing Junior B for the Osoyoos Heat of the KIJHL (Kootney International Junior Hockey League, out of BC). At that level you still paid for your own sticks, so I had to go full puppy dog eyes on Mom and Dad for weeks to finally convince them to drop the dough. There was a cool new toy on the market, and I needed it to succeed.

At $200-plus a pop, it wasn’t a small investment, and I wanted to have it forever. I was terrified to take a slapshot with it for fear it would break, which is sort of ironic – “Mom, Dad, I need this great new tool that will completely minimize my arsenal of shot options, y’know, to get better at hockey.” First generation Synergys were nearly unusable tools, comprised of a substance that I believe was mostly hardened sugar (I mean, they had to have been). Two shifts into my second game with it, there I was, using my old Easton Aluminum Silver Tip (convex) just like I had been a few days before. My Synergy was in two tidy pieces after it failed to withstand a puck battle that involved someone breathing on it (30 day warranty though!).

Eventually, Easton – a former employer of mine, full disclosure – found their stride, in a big way. They make arguably the best sticks in hockey today. But prior to their takeover, there were a ton of companies vying for the “Mommy and Daddy will pay too much for junior’s sporting equipment because they think he’s the next Sidney Crosby” market. And that’s one lucrative market.

I’m going to say the true Easton Synergy matte silver one-piece became truly popular and relevant around 2001-2002, and they changed the game. The one-piece revolution was on. Prior to that and in the transition years, there were some neat twigs, which we’ll reminisce about below. Hell, I once tried a triangular-shafted twig called the “Trilage” at one point; companies were trying everything and anything. Wood sticks took major strides around this time too (they had to), while non-wood sticks got more creative. It really was the glory days for gear fiends.

The 10 Best Pre-Synergy Hockey Sticks

Sherwood PMP 5030 (Coffey curve mandatory) Read the rest of this entry »

Really no reason pads need to extend that high.

Really no reason pads need to extend that high.

The next time the NHL’s competition committee meets, they will once again be talking about scaling back the size of goalie equipment. And as long as they can keep goaltenders safe, I’m fully on-board.

It seems like what they’re talking about is shortening the length at the top of the pad, which would allow for a bigger five-hole, which means more leg-squeeze, which means more room on the sides. What it seems like, is a plan that would create a few more goals that wouldn’t take away from goaltender safety. Tough to complain about that.

Kevin Woodley of InGoal Magazine met with Cory Schneider, the lone goalie representing the players, who will be at the meetings. In that post, he talks about the proposed changes, which include: Read the rest of this entry »

Shown: the glove of Columbus rookie Cody Goloubef

Shown: the glove of Columbus rookie Cody Goloubef

I last played pro hockey during the 2008-2009 season, and had only started seeing some real safety innovations over the last year or two of my playing days. Kevlar socks were just starting to surface, and some players (hi) were wearing slash guards (as an oft-chopped offensive player, they were a godsend), and some others were starting to wear extra caps on their skates to make shot blocking less painful.

Steps were just generally being taken to prevent the loss of games due to injuries.

Well last night a Twitter conversation with @RedditCBJ@PhotogBlake and @JoshSmith29 led me to something I hadn’t seen before: an additional pad added to gloves to protect your paw when you’re blocking shots. The image you see above is a zoomed-in shot from @PhotoBlake, who took that picture of Columbus defenseman Cody Goloubef’s glove last night. The picture below is Derek Stepan, who also uses it (as a number of Rangers apparently do). Read the rest of this entry »

Above are the new pads of the Chicago Wolves goaltender (and potentially Canucks back-up, if that Luongo guy ever gets dealt), which are the latest “Brian’s”-made pillows to stand out from the crowd in the field of awesome. United, they make the Wolves logo…which you may have noticed.

Brian’s is carving out a nice little niche for itself. It was about two years ago when I was at the “Gear Expo” at the Minnesota State High School Hockey tournament when I came across the now-famous Heineken ones below: Read the rest of this entry »

Aside from Backhand Shelf, I also do some work for Easton, so occasionally I’m privy to a few sneak-peeks that I find to be pretty cool. The gloves above are, obviously, Zach Parise’s new Minnesota Wild mitts that Easton will be giving him on Monday.

As much as I’m not a fan of the Christmas tree jerseys, even I have to admit – those are pretty darn sweet.