A company out of Toronto has developed what they are calling the virtually unbreakable hockey stick, THE COLT! Obviously I needed to find out what this was all about and share with you!
So I contacted them, and to my delight they already knew about HockeyStickMan and wanted to have a sit down meeting. When I arrived at the lobby of their office I see a ping pong ball, coated with a Nanocrystalline "Nanovate" Metal and balancing 250lbs of weight on top of it. Impressive.
The engineer on this particular project welcomes me, shows me through the large office, and into the manufacturing area where he introduces the product. Nano-Nickel, possibly the future of hockey sticks?
I won't go into the details on why Nano-Nickel is so cool, all you really need to know is that it's an extremely small metallic component that is applied to the blade and the bottom quarter of a composite hockey stick. The thickness of the Nano-Nickel isn't much more than a coat of paint, it is very strong and lightweight.
Hockey sticks are only the most recent application of these different kinds of Nanovate materials. Integran Tech Inc. have been creating all different types of pieces, products, and patents currently used by the US and Canadian Military, Aerospace technology, and even on guitar strings!
After my tour, I met with the senior managers of the company and they explained things in more detail. What felt like a few minutes of shooting the breeze was in fact about a two hour passionate discussion about hockey sticks, it was like talking to a group of guys in a dressing room. I hadn't even taken a shot with it yet, but already I knew its huge potential!
Although it is still in the prototype stage they asked me for my stick specification and gave me one to try. I have played with the stick, taken a number of shots, and shown to a bunch of other hockey players, collectively here are our thoughts;
How can they create a top end composite stick that feels and performs as well as some of the biggest sport equipment manufacturers in the world?
They source this out to a company that specializes in composite materials and already create hockey sticks for some of the major brands. Therefore the product is being built using leading edge composite hockey stick technology, then passed along to a company that is the worldwide leader in Nanovate technology.
So it's a regular composite hockey stick with an added application of a metallic coating?
No, these two companies are working back and forth to create a stick that is as durable as possible. As such they have increased the thickness of the shaft (as they do with Pro Stocks) and have been trying different things with the blade throughout the prototype stage. The Nano-Nickel coating is only one of the things they are doing to create a stick that can withstand the pressures of the high performance game.
So the stick will not break?
While it is without a doubt much more durable than what is currently on the market, for safety reasons there still needs to be a break point in the stick. I can't comment on how durable it will be as I just got mine, but can say that it withheld pressures that would normally snap a stick in two.
How heavy is it?
The prototype that I was given is very light. It isn't quite as light as some of the sticks I have, but that's no different than a retail vs. pro-stock. The stronger and thicker material tends to add a little weight, certainly worth it in most peoples books! The Nano-Nickel application wouldn't weight any more than the tape.
Is it a bit bottom heavy?
Most people that pick up the stick for the first time (myself included) thought that it felt a bit bottom heavy. However, they assured me that the balance point in the stick is exactly where you want it to be (in comparison with other brands). I tried to balance it alongside some other sticks and found that its balance was similar. Now that I have played with the stick the feeling has completely gone away, it was just in my head.
Does it change the feeling of the puck on your blade?
A good question, but also very interpretive in nature. The major stick manufactures continue to try new things (including foam, and hollow middles) in an attempt to cushion the puck when taking a pass or 'feeling' the puck on the blade. The blade is designed to be stiff and to last, therefore you wont have to worry about all those scuffed heels and delaminated toes. The tape softened it up enough for me.
Does it affect the flex and kick point? Learn about flex
The everyday hockey player/parent often overlooks the importance of flex and kick point. However, if the Nano-Nickel application were to impede the sticks ability to flex properly then it could never be a high end product. You can view the pictures above (although it's difficult to determine with a picture) to see that the stick does in fact flex fluidly throughout. Furthermore, it has been created using new technology (recently released in the Taylor Made CCM RBZ) where the kick point changes along the stick based on where you hold your hands.
A few other thoughts
This is perfect for centerman who take lots of draws. The Nano-nickel will protect the integrity of the blade/shaft.
Consider what this does for gameplay at the higher levels. Suppose this stick doesn't break when your killing a penalty, on a power play, taking a shootout, or in the Stanley cup finals? These guys can shoot with anything, enhanced durability could be a huge factor.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
Check out a few videos:
Learn about the COLT
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