Thursday, March 26, 2009

Toast! To A Hockey Day Host

After watching the 8th annual Hockey Day in Canada in Campbellton, N.B. on CBC I couldn’t help but notice one trendsetting host in particular. Not the flashy fedora’s or the pink and plaid suits that Don Cherry is renown for, rather it’s his down to earth partner Ron MacLean that seems to unearth the latest trends in equipment. The annual celebration of our game gives us Canadians an opportunity to see our favourite hockey faces hit the ice during the 12 hour broadcast.

In 2004, MacLean tore up the frozen rinks of Shaunavon, Saskatchewan with a new phenomenon called ‘T-blades’; a disposable blade runner that does not need sharpening. T-Blades were designed to give users a consistent edge every time and allow for seamless interchanging with an easy six screw system. Players can customize their radius and hollow to suit their game. The idea was popular enough that Graf Canada made the blades stock on their higher end boots that season. Eventually the price and durability of the blades forced them out of favour, but you can still catch them on MacLean. The next revelation came in the spring of 2006, during the Stanley Cup playoffs where MacLean endorsed BladeTape on the air. BladeTape is a stick tape replacement with a rubber strip that adheres to both sides of your blade adding better feel and durability. The Canadian owned BladeTape saw sales soar after the airtime, which helped popularize the product across the nation. MacLean has been using the stick tape replacement since the 2007 instalment of Hockey Day in Canada in Nelson, B.C.

It seems MacLean has taken pride (or money) in supporting Canadian companies and businessmen alike while this years’ edition from Campbellton, N.B, MacLean was seen yielding a matching set of Ballastik gloves and one-piece stick. Ballastik hockey is an Ottawa based company producing all its products on home soil, right here in Canada.

Manufacturing composite sticks since 1992, it wasn’t until 2001 when Ballastik decided to produce under their own name and avoid overseas production. Previously, Ballastik had been producing sticks for popular brands like Bauer, TPS, Mission and Hespeler to name a few.

Ballastik offers a full line of equipment with everything from gloves to composite sticks, and a wide range of goal pads. MacLean auditioned the 52 .cal high end one-piece stick and pro level gloves from their cx series.

And for next years’ Hockey Day in Canada, if you can look past Cherry’s wacky wardrobe then be sure to check out the oft mundane MacLean for the latest innovation to hit the ice.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Warrior Hockey: 007

A relative new-comer to the hockey equipment scene, Warrior hockey has been quickly turning heads with their products and much more. Despite success with the pros, their popularity among the hockey community can be largely attributed to their catchy slogans and 'out there' advertising. Whether it's the Johnson stick or Nut Hutt jock, Warrior is adding a little colour to the industry. For their latest check it out.

Monday, March 16, 2009

X 60 Sightings!

Although the new Bauer X 60 skates won’t be released for retail until late spring the latest in their high end Vapor line has recently found its way onto the feet of several pros. And yes it’s Bauer, the ‘Nike’ that superseded Bauer has now been lifted from the name since they sold their share of the company last summer. The much anticipated release of Bauer’s latest skate has been amid controversy when this fall a long time Bauer employee was fired after leaking a cell phone picture of the prototype X 60 onto the internet. Needless to say, Bauer keeps a tight leash on their latest designs making the recent sightings at the NHL level big news to the hockey community.

The flashy wheels were first donned by Flyers forward Mike Richards on March 15 against the Rangers. Bruins forward Marc Savard was spotted sporting the highly anticipated model later that day along with Blackhawks defencemen Brent Seabrook.

The evolution from the Vapor XXXX’s are rumoured to be similar to their predecessors while having made slight improvements. The fit is said to be closer to the Vapor XXX’s of a few years back, having a slightly more open heel to accommodate more players while emphasizing that foot ‘wrapping’ feel to reduce negative energy.

Stay tuned for a full product review once these rockets are released, but for now enjoy the X 60 paparazzi’s at work.