New model hockey sticks are being released faster than ever these days. Most major manufacturers run 2-3 lines of sticks, and most sticks hardly last more than a year before they are being phased out for the new, latest, greatest model.
If it seems like it's hard to keep up with, that's because it is. Just when we start getting used to a new stick, whispers of an even newer one seem to start popping up. It's not hard to see why you'd like this cycle if you're Bauer or CCM. New sticks get people excited, and its easy to get stuck in the mindset that if you don't have the latest release, you're somehow missing out or not giving yourself the best chance to succeed on the ice.
As new technology gets released and sticks get updated, you'd expect the best players in the world to be quick on the uptake. While that is true in many cases, and we often see pros using unreleased sticks, there is also a huge portion of players who would rather stick with what they know.
One major factor in this is simply familiarity. Sidney Crosby has been using a Ribcor Reckoner for years, which was originally released in 2015. Seven new Ribcor sticks have been released since the Reckoner first debuted, and without a doubt the build of the sticks has come a long way, in weight, materials, and more. But hey, who can argue with the results?
Crosby is something of an extreme example, but there are many more to choose from. Even some younger players like Jack Eichel have simply found a stick they like and stuck with it - in Eichel's case the Supreme 1S. Updates to stick technology can lean towards gimmicky sometimes, and the Supreme line now features a taper considerably different than your traditional 4-sided shaft the 1S had. A traditionalist (or a cynic) might prefer a no-nonsense hockey stick, as seems to be the case here with Eichel.
In addition to familiarity, the other factor (especially when it comes to non-professionals) when considering a this year's stick vs last year's, is how much really changed? Sure the graphics are updated and it may be a few grams lighter, but significant changes to sticks are few & far between - maybe once every few generations for a given model. For a pro this might be worth making the switch, but for the average player last year's model will almost certainly serve you just as well, and at a price that works too.
Recent models have even seen a regression in weight, as brands that previously tried plunging weights down to well below 400g now seem to be settling in and around that range. It seems like a consensus is starting to be reached in terms of how light a stick can really get before it starts getting "too" light at the expense of durability, performance, or just good old-fashioned cost. It's not a coincidence that 400g is the weight of our Pro Blackout Extra Lite stick.
At the end of the day, there will always be players who want the new release stick, and why not? They perform well, are light, look flashy, and if you can afford it, you can afford it. However, that doesn't change that every time we go into an NHL dressing rooms, most of the sticks we see are older models, or older model sticks "painted" to look like the new release for marketing purposes.
HockeyStickMan is a hot spot for older model sticks you can't find anywhere else. If it's good enough for Sidney Crosby or Jack Eichel, is it good enough for you? Now we're not saying your dad's right when he says you should just use his old wooden stick, but something to consider the next time you go shopping for a new twig.
Here are some more examples of NHLers using "older model" sticks during the opening week of the 2022 NHL season.