A little background on this post. Certain great NHL players have deals with gear manufacturers to use their stuff exclusively. Check out “Team Easton” and the Bauer Athletes. They parade around in their gear and promote their stuff not only on the ice but in marketing. Because of their deals, the players are limited to using only what the manufacturer offers–which shouldn’t be a problem if the players love the brand and their equipment.
I remember reading earlier this summer that Ovechkin decided not to renew his contract with CCM and this morning I read he’s signed a deal with Bauer! From that, I’ve read some articles about how Ovie has favored Bauer sticks over CCM ones for a while now–some articles even draw parallels from more successful seasons to the seasons he used Bauer sticks!
Of course there are many more factors into Ovie’s point production than simply his choice of stick, but as a hockey player I can say that besides your skates, your choice of stick is the other piece of equipment that impacts your game the most in that it has a direct impact on your shot, passing, and puck-handling. I’m guessing that Ovechkin is more most with his shot in his choice of stick.
Personally, I’m a big fan of Bauer gear–most of my hockey equipment is made by Bauer and Reebok. I do have to agree with Ovie on his choice of stick brand though. I noticed a huge difference in my shots when going from a very old, very stiff aluminum Easton from 10 years ago to a modern Bauer Vapor X:20. I felt the whip from the low kick-point as soon as I was in the middle of taking my first shot with my new stick. The shot definitely had more zip to it and the sensation of a new composite stick flexing that much when taking my shot was very weird.
And the X:20 is by no means a great stick–it is close to Bauer’s bottom-of-the-barrel in it’s available line of hockey sticks. I can only dream about using one of those ultra-light, super-expensive APX sticks but I imagine the differences between a $50 stick and a $250 one are pretty big.
Hockey is a very gear-heavy sport. If you’re a great player like Ovechkin then it probably doesn’t matter what brand equipment you’re using, but like we see with professional athletes of every sport, they look for every edge over their competition, no matter how slim.