With all of the great sticks on the market right now, it can be difficult to even begin to decide where to start looking. It can be confusing and possibly even frustrating because the market is flooded (in a good way) with new technologies and varying kick points. The best place to start your search for a new twig is to figure out which kick point will benefit your shooting mechanics and playing style best. You can your likes and dislikes of past sticks you’ve used, but you can also base it off of the information we’ll supply you with today. This write-up is the second part of our top-end hockey stick breakdown and will be covering unique characteristics of the Warrior QR1, Sher-wood EK15, Easton V9E and the Bauer Vapor APX2. At the bottom of this blog, take our poll so we all can see which low kick stick hockey players are looking forward to most!
If you want to check out the “Mid-Kick Stick Breakdown” with the CCM Tacks Sticks, the Easton Synergy HTX Sticks, the Bauer Supreme MX3 Sticks and the Bauer Nexus 8000 Sticks; click this link!
Typically speaking, low kick’s are geared for the “finesse” shooter who generates shot power with their wrists. These low kick, finesse shooters generally look for a quick load and a release on wrist and snap shots hoping to surprise the goalie with a fast shot. These players differ from mid kick shooters who are “power shooters” that heavily lean into and load up on big booming slap shots and one-timers.
- Dagger Taper 2 – Warrior’s mission with the Covert QR1 was to create the quickest shot-releasing stick to date. With the help of a leading university, Warrior was able to fine tune the “Moment of Release” or the shot release, which is measured in milliseconds. This QR1 leads the market with 76 ms (milliseconds) “Moment of Release”, which is a big improvement over last year’s DT1 LT (81 ms) and the even older the DT1 (82 ms).
- The other change the QR1 was fitted with is the shaft construction. Warrior utilized a new precision loop layering process of the also new Etched 7-Micron Carbon Fibers. The process laser cuts the super tough fibers in layers to remove excess weight and to create an extremely consistent product. The result is a 402 gram stick (based on an 85 flex Pavelski curve) that is stronger than the previous DT1 and DT1LT’s.
- This Rekker EK15 stick is one of the lightest sticks to hit the market, coming in at 385 grams (based on A 85 Flex PP26 curve). Sherwood accomplished this by using a labor intensive, hand-crafted construction process that eliminates excess weight and produces a very refined final product.
- The EK15 also has one of their lowest kick points released, which gives players an excellent quick release. This works excellent with the lively blade feel of the VRF.2 core. Overall, the EK15 is an outstanding front runner in this category, providing a featherweight feel, optimal balance and a lightning-quick shot release.
- HyperToe Blade Construction – Although we do see this technology transpire into the mid kick Synergy HTX, I believe it’s fully utilized on this V9E. Easton has always been one to look for game-changing technology and that’s what they got with the HyperToe. As they studied some of the best shooters in the NHL, they began to realize players were getting a viciously accurate and quick shot release by sliding the puck by sliding the puck out onto the toe, rather than shooting from the heel. To fully maximize velocity, they internally stiffened the toe. This makes the blade react like a diving board, the further out on the diving board you are when you dive, the more power you get. Same with the HyperToe. The further out the puck is when you shoot, the more velocity is achieved.
- Elliptical Taper – Dating back to the days of the S17, Easton came out with a radically different approach to tapering the shaft into the blade. This exclusive and unique design gives players one of the lowest kick points on the market alongside one of the best and most direct puck feel’s too. This is a deadly weapon for the dangler who wants a quick release.
- AeroSense 3 Blade Core – According to feedback from Bauer’s customers and Pro’s, the only pressing issue that the Vapor APX2 stick truly needed was a blade overhaul. The legendary X:60 had a single density core that was a crowd favorite but the APX’s dual-density core was considerably less liked. So Bauer turned back the hands of time and reintroduced a new and improved single-density core with an all new Sense Layer. Players will notice it has the classic X:60 resemblance but with even more durability and puck feel than ever. The Sense Layer wraps both side of the blade face as well as the edges (and toe). The new material provides a slightly more dampened feel that also helps to prevent chips and cracks from happening.