If you are in the market for a new twig, you want to find the best fit for you. You may have seen some sticks online or in store that are branded as Pro Stock. Let’s take a look at what that means and give you an idea for what to look for.
The most obvious way to tell if a stick is pro stock has to be the fact that they are labeled as such. Each stick will have “pro stock” written somewhere on the shaft. If you are buying a stick online, such as on ebay (see my guide to that here…) make sure that you verify the stick has those words on the shaft. I have seen many retail sticks on ebay passed off as pro stock and sold for more money than it is worth. Most brands will have it written on the under end of the shaft, see below.
One of the most interesting and important difference between pro stock and retail sticks is the fact that pro stock hockey sticks can be customized to fit that pros preferences. For instance, I bought two Reebok Ai9s that were Alex Tanguay pro stock. These Ai9s where nothing like the retail versions. I don’t think I’ve ever held a lighter stick in my life. With that though, came a miserable durability factor. I broke both within a month of purchase. Pros more or less have an unlimited supply of sticks, so they can sacrifice durability for performance, even if it means the life of the stick is shorted dramatically. That brings another factor to the table, warranty.
When you buy a retail stick form your local hockey shop or online, it will usually come with some sort of warranty in case you break it immediately, or the stick was faulty. This is non-existent with pro stock sticks. What you get is what you get, and if you break it, you can’t mail it in and get a new one. This doesn’t bother me personally because most of the pro stock sticks I have purchased gave me a good run. It’s still frustrating to break a new twig just a few games after you get it.
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The retail versions of sticks offer a range of flexes and curves. Pro stock sticks are made for a certain player, and a majority of players don’t have their curve named after them. A lot of players use curves close to the retail version with some modifications. Brad Marchand for instance, uses a curve that is close to a generic p92, with similar lie. His sticks are also about 2’’ longer that the usual stock length. Interesting choice for a shorter player. The only real way to see if you would like a stick like this would be to try it out. With a retail stick, you know what you are getting, and if buying in store, its available to hold and get a feel for.
The above are just some of the differences between these two kinds of hockey sticks. Ever since I’ve been using full length Sr sticks, I’ve been a pro stock guy. there is nothing wrong with buying retail, I am just usually able to find deals online and I like the overall feel of a pro stock better. It’s all about preference.