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Who Are The Top Hockey Stick Manufacturers?

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The hockey equipment market is dominated by Bauer Hockey.

The venerable brand, founded in 1927 in Kitchener, Canada, has owned a market share upward of 50 percent for years. It has continued to do so despite multiple ownerships and the financial struggles of its recently departed parent company.

So, by the measure of units moved, Bauer is certainly the top hockey stick manufacturer.

But there is another way to ask — and many ways to answer — the question.

Who Makes the Best Hockey Sticks?

Bauer, Easton, Warrior, CCM and Sher-Wood would all argue for their own sticks — as would many other, smaller brands.

They might all be equally right, as “best” is a subjective measure dependent on the preference, play and pocketbook of the purchaser.

They might all be equally crazy, as hockey stick manufacturing is not a business for the faint of heart. In 2017 alone, Bauer and Easton were bought out of the bankruptcy of their parent company, and CCM — which was founded in 1899 — was sold by adidas for $110 million, 13 years after current adidas subsidiary Reebok bought the Canadian company for nearly $400 million.

But you probably aren’t as interested in performance on the bottom line as performance at the blue line. So …

What to Spend?

Unless you’re shopping for a wood stick to play in your turn-back-the-clock league, figure on spending least $50. There are a few acceptable, entry-level composite sticks in the $50-$60 range. Younger players who will outgrow their sticks quickly will probably want to shop at this price point.

If you’re going with retail, mid-range sticks are in the $120 to $180 bracket. Competitive junior players, concerned with both outgrowing sticks and their parents’ largesse, would do well here.

Pro-level sticks, at retail, can be found above $200 and the latest models can even be north of $300!

Speaking of Pro-Level Sticks

At prostockhockey.com, we pay careful attention to who’s using what in the National Hockey League.

Far and away the most popular stick for NHL players is the Bauer Nexus 1N. Used by 90 players in the 2016-17 season, it is a stick that favors neither brute force nor slickness. It has a mid kick point, responsive blade and large sweet spot.

Bauer also popped up at Nos. 3 and 8 on our most popular list with the Supreme 1S (used by 59 players) and the Vapor 1X (35 players). The former is Bauer’s power stick, with a high kick point and a focus on improving shot speed for players who like to load up for “heavy” shots. The latter has the opposite attributes — a low kick point and stiff blade both designed to aid a quick release.

CCM checks in at Nos. 2 and 4. The Ribcor Trigger (60 players) is designed for quick-release shots, while the Super Tacks 2.0 (50 players), with two flex zones, is considered more of an all-around stick.

Warrior occupies spots 5, 7 and 9. The Dynasty HD1 (49 players) is an all-around mid-kicker. The low-kick point Covert QRL (45 players) debuted in 2016 and quickly became popular. The Alpha QX (29 players) earned a spot on the list prior to being released on the retail market, and is, Warrior says, its strongest and lightest stick to date.

Easton isn’t the beast it was in the days Wayne Gretzky was using the company’s revolutionary aluminum stick, but they placed two twigs in our top 10. At No. 6, the Stealth CX (47 players) is noted for its extremely low kick point. At No. 10, the Synergy GX (16 players) is a mid-kick stick with the added feature of having each stick’s blade tailored to the shaft flex.