We recently sat down with the Hockey Stick Man to talk about sticks. Here’s what happened:
The Hockey Stick Man is a website where you can have your hockey stick repaired, buy repaired pro sticks, buy new sticks as well as plenty of other gear.
Thanks for sitting down with us. So how did you get into doing stick repairs?
There was a huge need for it and we had the connections to do it. Started off slow, but demand has grown our business season after season.
Where do you source your sticks? You seem to get a consistent stream of high-end twigs, Are you affiliated with any NHL or professional teams?
Yes, we collect from over 100 Pro, College, and Junior level teams on a regular basis. We have been doing it since 2010, so we have good working relationships with many of them for the past 5-9 years. We buy all the clubs new, used, and broken sticks, as well as some equipment and apparel as well.
How did you go about asking teams for sticks? Do you know what they did with the sticks before they give them to you?
It all happened pretty organically at first. Back in 2010 no-one had ever heard of a stick being repaired. All broken sticks were simply going in the garbage. So when word got out that someone was paying for them to be collected, it was pretty easy. Now-a-days teams get calls from all sorts of people requesting to buy their broken sticks.
What is your method for repairing sticks? I’m familiar with the SRS method, I’ve had a few of my sticks repaired that way. Is it similar?
We use a version of SRS. Of course, we have been doing it so long that our repairs are a bit updated from that methodology, part of which is considered proprietary. But we thinks ours is better.
What makes your method the best? (If you can say)
In my opinion there are two things that make us “the best”
- We have the best sticks because we source them from Pro Teams. They use the top of the line models, and are often in otherwise perfect condition when they snap.
- We use an internal system that enables the stick to return to the same flex. When done by us they are either done right or not sold, and we guarantee the product.
Do you ever turn away sticks? For Example, if it wont come out good. Or you fix them all?
We act as a resource to the teams, so we don’t turn down sticks from any teams. However, our 5 step review process does exclude approx. 75% of broken sticks, only about 25 percent of what we collect from pro teams are ever repaired and sold.
We put customers sticks through the same review process, and I would suggest that over half of the time we find micro fractures or other issues in the stick, we point it out to them and in those cases they typically just buy [a new] one off the shelf.
Does your repair method ruin the feel or flex too much?
Our refurbs have been meticulously tested on-ice and in the lab over the course of almost 10 years now. It ads some weight but does not increase the flex or mess-up the flex profile of the stick. It is simply a carbon insert that flexes with the stick to ensure that performance.
Speaking of broken sticks, have you noticed a trend of increasing the number of broken sticks in the NHL. I know the players have voiced their concern. What are you thoughts?
It’s important that customers understand that high performance hockey sticks are now less than 1lbs. At this weight even the best composite material in the world is going to have a difficult time standing up to the tests of the NHL game. Sticks continue to be a major source of NHL team budgets, and cost is a growing concern for these teams. However, performance is incredible. Tough to see anything changing.
What do you think teams will do about this? Ask the manufacturers to make more durable sticks? Who do you think has the upper hand, the teams wanting to keep costs down or the players wanting more performance?
Hockey is a game of tradition. The team provides the players with all equipment needed. I believe the players in the NHL will always get what they want from the team and the team will pay for it.
How do you feel personally about the current sticks? In terms of increasing prices vs durability?
Again, important for players/parents to have the right expectations. We try to educate our customers that the increased price is for performance not durability. We understand that players want the top end sticks and our business is formed around finding various options for families to source high performance sticks for less money. Refurbished sticks are the most inexpensive option to get an elite stick for the best possible price, and many of our customers buy exclusively refurbished sticks. However, we also source a lot of new sticks as well. Some families choose to have their new stick for games and use a refurb for practices. This is a very smart option; sticks see a lot more use in practice than a game.
Are there any brands or models that you find breaks most often? How about the least?
I have a lot of customers that don’t want to use a certain brand or stick because of breakage issues. I understand that if someone has a bad experience with one stick than they would want to stay away in the future. In 2019 nothing has stood out to me.
Have you ever had any professional player use your sticks?
Many players have used our sticks and gone on to play pro, as well as lots of pros use our sticks when they finish up playing. I know of at least a dozen former NHL players that have bought refurbished hockey sticks off us.
What is your favorite stick of all time? Current favorite?
When I was 8 years old at Christmas my cousin bought me an Easton Aluminum, along with a framed picture of Wayne Gretzky using it. The Easton aluminum was just released onto the market and at the time was a big deal! I used that stick for years, then past it down to my brothers, who both used it for multiple seasons of their young hockey careers. Now, my brothers and I all use the Pro Blackout sticks that we have been able to source.
What’s the weirdest, coolest and/ or most interesting stick you’ve received? Or the most interesting modification you’ve seen?
Weirdest – I played in a tournament a few years ago with Scott Harrington and he was using the old Gretzky setback blade style on a one piece. I have since seen some of Scott’s sticks and it doesn’t look like he is using it in Columbus right now.
Coolest – I bought out a bunch of blades and shafts from the pro stock factory in Quebec when it closed a few years ago. In amongst the thousands of blades were templates for a lot of players, so I got to see a lot of pro patterns. The best take away was that the biggest curve I saw was Ovechkin and the smallest curve was Crosby. At the time these were the two best players in the world, it reinforced my belief that a stick can be a lot about personal preference.
Any other fun things you want to share?
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Thank you so much for your time. If you want to learn more about the hockey stick man check them out here. Or click on the logo below