The Difference Between Pro Stock and Retail Hockey Sticks


Many high level players prefer a Pro Stock Stick, find out why and how it differs from one that you would purchase in a store.   
 
A Pro Stock model stick is a custom built composite made specifically for a certain professional player (also made for College, Major Junior players).   In most cases this refers to the curve, flex profile, and length, but can affect things like weight distribution and lie angle. There is no doubt that they can be a great purchase, if you can find one that is the right curve and flex.  
 
I get a lot of questions from customers, so here is an outline of the major differences between pro stock and retail:

 Liveliness/Responsiveness 
 
The liveliness or responsiveness of a stick, and how long it stays that way will alter dramatically between a cheap vs. expensive stick.  The same can be said for a pro stock in relation to retail,  it is not as dramatic a difference  but nevertheless a Pro stock will typically remain responsive for longer.  This is accomplished by either using more or slightly different composite material to increase the performance of the professional model stick. 
 
Durability 
 
  • In this picture (Left) take a look at the difference between the Hosel thickness of the Pro Stock vs. the same stick in a retail model 
  • Important consideration for centerman (Face-Offs are one piece killers)

 

  • In this picture (Left) take a look at the difference shaft wall thickness between the Pro Stock stick on the left and the exact stick in a retail model on the right. 
  • Important for people who break lots of sticks in the shaft. 

Professional players need a stick that can withstand abuse and the demands of the elite level game.  How many times have we seen a broken stick ruin or create a scoring opportunity?  I have heard several claims that a Pro Stock is 40% more reinforced, but I don't think it can be quantified in a percentage. I do however believe that it is clearly evident that a majority of Pro Stock sticks are built to be more durable then their retail counterpart. 

Consistency 

Retail sticks come with a stock curve pattern, flex, and length so that you know what you are getting.  In the past they were all defined by players, but players change brands and become less relevant over time and people tend to want a similar pattern to what's working for them, so they designated pattern numbers as well (Ex. Bauer uses P92, P88, etc.)

Custom built pro stocks come in all sorts of patterns, flex, and length.  The good thing for Pro Stock buyers is that most players, especially at the lower levels still use stock models and the pattern number and flex comes printed on the stick. (Note: we designed a pattern classification system to categorize different blade types - which works for Retail and Pro Models)   

Despite the fact that retail sticks are more consistent customers enjoy the longer sticks, higher flexes, new pattern styles, and sometime even the associated name printed on the stick (we have numerous NHL level players sticks).  

Weight

The increased material in the Pro Stock sticks do tend to make them slightly heavier than the retail models.  However it is a balanced weight so the sticks still feel great (most players wouldn’t notice the difference).   

Warranty 

The biggest advantage of a retail stick is that it generally comes with a 30 day manufactures warranty. The problem is how often does your stick break within the first 30 days?  Also, many hockey stick customers complain about the current warranty process. No longer can you take it back to the store but rather must pay a shipping fee for the stick to send it to the manufacturer, and have to wait on the stick (I personally have had numerous customers just come into our shop and get it repaired instead, as they don’t have time to wait).  
 
Also if it’s a hot new stick it might be on backorder, therefore you don’t get the stick until it comes in, or they are no longer making that stick and they have to send you something else.  Having said that these companies do work with you to ensure you get a suitable replacement and sometimes they even send you an upgrade.     

So as you can see there are some clear advantage and disadvantages of both.  

My recommendation to customers is if they can find a good deal on Pro Stock sticks to buy multiples of the same stick.  This way they are playing with the best possible stick, it’s less likely to break and if it does I have a replacement right away. By purchasing a number of them at the reduced rate you have effectively created your own warranty replacement should one break, and don’t have to get used to a new make/model each time you get a new stick.  Now this is pretty easy for me to say, I sell them! But good advise all the same. 

As always feel free to comment below or send me an email at directly at joey@hockeystickman.com. 

Joey Walsh
Joey Walsh

Author

I have worked with Hockey Canada, the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and Brock University. But now I'm all about hockey sticks. A passion and love for sticks as a child has blossomed into a full on obsession as an adult (if you can call me that).



3 Responses

Cesar Aguirre
Cesar Aguirre

October 07, 2016

Hi Joe,

Im curious what process you use to refurbish your sticks. Does the shaft remain hollow? If there extra weight added? Does it impact the flex?

Thank you!

Les McFarlane
Les McFarlane

September 26, 2016

Joey, how would I order the new1X pro stock for my 17 year old grandson. He likes the P92, flex 77, with grip. He shoots right. Thanks. Les

Rob Griffatong
Rob Griffatong

September 03, 2016

Hi Joey,

Would you be able to tell me if any of the pro stock sticks have been used in a practice or game.
Or do they sell as brand new condition?

Thanks,
Rob 905-626-4477

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