Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


  photo 8Stick specifications

Flex: 75

Weight: True A6.0 400 grams, True A5.2 425 grams

Blade Pattern: TC2 (similar to Nugent-Hopkins, Backstrom, Hall and/or Kopitar)

Grip coated

Price: A6.0: $259.99 (On Hockeymonkey.com) A5.2 $199.99 (On Hockeymonkey.com)

More information at: http://www.true-hockey.com/

True Hockey is a relatively new player to the stick market, even though the company behind the sticks has a long pedigree in golf (True Temper). True Hockey supplied us with two sticks to try out -its top of the range A6.0 and A5.2  – and to see how the sticks stack up against some of the more established brands in the market.

The True A6.0 is the top of the range stick within the True range and the True A5.2 stick is a high level stick that is packed with a lot of the features of the A6.0, though it weighs a fraction more than the A6.0.  Both of the sticks we are testing are 75flex and come in True’s TC2 blade pattern, which is similar to Bauer’s Backstrom, CCM’s Nugent-Hopkins, Easton’s Hall or Warrior’s Kopitar blade patterns. The blade is a toe curve, with round toe and open face, with a 6.0 lie.

The A6.0 is the lightest stick in the range, with the senior stick weighing just 400grams and the A5.2 weighing in at 425 grams. Where the sticks are – and feel – incredibly light, the Sher-Wood Rekker EK15 is still the lightest stick on the market. Having said that, the True A6.0 and A5.2 are sticks that are within the industry average when it comes to weight and beat a few top-end manufacturers on the weight front, meaning that the new comers can compete with the big boys.

Lookphoto 11

The True sticks look great. With a black/grey finish to the shaft of the stick, the product name is included on the shaft in electric blue, which makes it stand out. The design is really no-nonsense. It is slick but effective, whilst ensuring that it will standout at the stick racks at a store.  The other aspect that might make the True series of sticks standout in the stick rack is that the sticks are longer (out of box or rack) than most of the top marquees in the market.

 

 

Feel

photo 9 When we first started to play with the A6.0 and the A5.2, we felt that the sticks had a great feel to them. Even when first holding the sticks in your hands they feel super light and have a feel of a high-end product to them. The grip coating is not too heavy as it can be on some other sticks, where the coating can feel overbearing on the gloves.

When stick handling, both of the sticks give great feedback to your hands, meaning that you know at all times where the puck is. This has been achieved through True’s patented manufacturing process (Axenic Technology), where the blade is seamlessly co-molded to the shaft, creating a true one piece stick. This manufacturing process is different to the spear process used by some other manufacturers and we feel that the Axenic Technology is one of the real strengths of the True sticks.

The manufacturing process has allowed True Hockey to create a well balanced stick. In terms of balance, the A6.0 and A5.2 are on par with Sher-Wood’s sticks which are some of the best balanced sticks on the market. Both of the sticks are mid flex sticks and are maybe a touch softer at the top of the shaft than other sticks we’ve tried, but still provide you with incredible responsiveness to shots, particularly wrist shots during game play situations, when you need to get a shot off quickly. If the softer butt end will have you worried, we wouldn’t. The tip of the stick provides players with increased stability and accuracy for shooting.

Wristers and snap shots are easy to get away, we felt that with slap shots we got a bit more behind the shot as well. The stick produces great pop and you don’t have to do much work to get the stick loaded for the shot. Just as with the wrist shots, the slap shots are quick off the blade and thanks to the structure of the blade, they don’t turn into knuckle pucks either.

photo 10

As you move down the shaft and get to the blade, this is where the real beauty of the True sticks are. Both the True A6.0 and True A5.2 feature True’s Active Bond Technology II. This technology ensures that the blade maintains its original stiffness for longer periods of time. It is something that we have noticed that the blade will provide you with great pop on the shots. The blade also features 100% carbon fibre rib structure to provide additional durability of the blade. Much like the Sher-Wood Rekker EK15, the True A6.0 and A5.2 sticks will give you that new stick feel for longer, which will keep your shots crisper and accurate. Throughout using the sticks, every time we’ve hit the ice with these sticks, it feels like a stick that we have only just taken out of its wrappers and cut down to our liking.

We noticed that the sticks do improve your accuracy somewhat. Usually our shooting can miss a barn door, but with the True sticks we have been able to usually hit the net where we have wanted.

Durability:photo 5

Durability is always something that players look for in sticks. We want to be sure that the money we spend on sticks means that we will get a product that will last a long time and that we are not back at the retailers getting a new one within two months. After using the stick both outside to do shooting practice and in on-ice training and scrimmages, the stick has proved to be durable. In a hack and slash type of environment, the stick has only ‘suffered’ a few scuff marks on the shaft, which is normal for any hockey stick in active use.

With 75 flex sticks we really want to make sure that the sticks are capable of handling slap shots and one timers as often times, sticks at this flex range (and depending on manufacturing quality) have a tendency of breaking easily and earlier. Both the True A6.0 and A5.2 have held up well and only boast a few scuff marks on the shafts and the flex profiles on both sticks are still in original form, meaning that despite abusing the sticks on the ice they feel like new.

photo 6The drawbacks?

Despite trying to pick holes at True’s own literature and the stick to try and find something negative about them, we are quite pleased to say that despite being new to the market, True Hockey have created a product that is difficult to fault. There are great features built-in to both of the sticks and both A6.0 and A5.2 provide players with great levels of responsiveness, shooting accuracy and power.

Overall

The True A6.0 and A5.2 sticks are both high quality products. If we had to compare them to any of the existing manufacturers out there, we’d say that the True A6.0 is like CCM’s Tacks stick in terms of feel and performance. We are huge fans of the rigidity of the blade and the accuracy of the stick, which was something we noted when having a quick play on the Tacks. The A5.2 would be comparable to CCM Tacks 5052. That’s not to say that the True sticks are like for like for the Tacks (in our opinion the True sticks are better), it’s just a reference as True is a new player to the market.

True Temper has created a truly wonderful set of sticks that have quickly become our favourite sticks to use. We have had other players test the sticks True provided us with and the feedback has been nothing but positive (though some guys prefer a stiffer flex), so we are confident to say that these sticks are going to be a huge hit among players. The one thing that we did wonder was the price tag. True’s top of the range sticks (the A6.0 and A5.2) are priced at the levels of some of the top brands on the market. The sticks deserve that price tag due to the performance and build quality, but will that deter people from buying a stick from one of the new guys to the market? We hope it doesn’t because these sticks are simply AMAZING!

True hockey is expanding rapidly into the European market as well and any retailer picking up the True range will be making a great investment to their business as these sticks will become popular among players very quickly.

Pros:photo 4

  • Lightweight construction
  • True one piece stick
  • Responsiveness
  • Provide great pop for longer
  • Durable construction
  • Accuracy of shooting
  • One of the best blades on the market

Cons:

  • Price – May turn customers to more established brands

For years the UK inline hockey scene has been a total mess. We are not sugar coating it. It was a mess where you had a whole bunch of different leagues being run and all seemed to bicker amongst each other on who does things right and what the other leagues did was completely and utterly wrong.

 

But that has all changed today. All leagues that were affiliated with the IIHF will be merging to create Inline UK. Former regional leagues will be grouped together in new leagues (see below). A source has told us that there are plans for a nationwide – top-flight – league in the works for the future. The planned top-flight league structure would mean that each purpose built rink in the UK would have one ‘home’ team each, thus forming the league. There is still work to be done around the set up of the top league, but we do hope that this will happen.

The new leagues are as follow:

  • British Rink Hockey Association (BRHA) will become Inline UK South
  • GBHI North Wales will become Inline UK North Wales
  • GBHI Midlands will become Inline UK Midlands
  • GBHI Yorkshire will become Inline UK Metal Monster Yorkshire
  • North West Inline Hockey League will become Inline UK Northwest
  • New regions include Inline UK Isle of Man and Inline UK West

 

This now leaves UK with Inline UK league, governed by IIHF rules and regulations and with FIRS  leagues such as BIPHA, bringing the UK inline hockey structure in-line with format seen across Europe. Each region will run their regular seasons exactly as planned ahead of the Inline UK launch and league winners will advance to national finals in the summer of 2015. 

 

The move is most welcome and will certainly allow UK inline hockey to grow and means that there are now better opportunities for competition and player development as opposed to in the old, fragmented format. The change is something that players have been begging for, for a number of years.

 

Our source told us that majority of the Inline UK games will be played in purpose built rinks, as opposed to sports halls. This gives inline hockey in the UK a better chance for growth and for people to access the sport. Playing games in rinks as opposed to sports halls will mean that players will learn the dynamics of the game for international tournaments and will serve as a good learning curve for those that take the inline hockey route to ice hockey. Additionally, playing the game in a purpose built rink is safer than it is in a sports hall setting.

 

The problem with independent, regional leagues was that there was low interest in the sport, except for the local areas. The nationwide competition will surely increase the visibility of the game a little bit and if nothing else, it will give team GB Inline hockey a greater pool of prospects to tap into, that may have flown under the radar in the fragmented old system.

 

Additionally all Inline UK games will be streamed online, with live statistics appearing online as well, which is likely to improve visibility and  interest around the game and bring in sponsors for the league and teams, which is vital for the survival of the game.

 

There is still the chance that some teams may not join in with Inline UK and may defect to FIRS governed leagues, or set up new leagues on their own, however our source said that this is unlikely as players have demanded the unification of leagues for a long time. Additionally there was speculation that some FIRS/BIPHA teams might defect and join Inline UK.

 

Now if only ice hockey would do the same and move to a unified structure, instead of mess around with the whole IHUK and EIHA situation and brought live streaming to all games, across all leagues.

 

The full press release from Inline UK:

 

Introducing INLINE UK

We are pleased to announce the start of a new and exciting chapter for inline hockey in the UK. The sport has been played in the country for over 30 years in various regional leagues run by dedicated volunteers. The sport has given so much to so many players, officials and fans, but it has always been fragmented. Players and fans want and deserve better.

 There have been repeated calls from the hockey community that the leagues should join together and league managers have heard these calls. It is with great pride that we, the Inline UK national committee, are announcing that we have reached an agreement to join forces under a new brand, Inline UK.

Founding members of Inline UK, and the new Inline UK regions are: • British Rink Hockey Association (BRHA) –> Inline UK South • GBHI North Wales –> Inline UK North Wales • GBHI Midlands –> Inline UK Midlands • GBHI Yorkshire –> Inline UK Metal Monster Yorkshire • North West Inline Hockey League –> Inline UK Northwest • New region: Inline UK Isle of Man • New region: Inline UK West

The above league executives have agreed to be founding members of Inline UK, subject to league member approval where constitutionally required. Inline UK games will be played following the IIHF rulebook. Each region will run their regular seasons exactly as planned ahead of the Inline UK launch and league winners will advance to national finals in the summer of 2015. United Kingdom will finally have a true national champion. Any questions about Inline UK can be directed to the regional league executives or to the national executive through our website and Facebook page.


Yaro3It has been three years since the tragic loss of the entire Yaroslav Lokomotiv hockey team and most of the flight crew when the teams’ Yak-42 plane crashed shortly after take-off. Though there were two initial survivors, player Alexander Galimov and flight engineer Alexander Sitzov, Galimov sadly passed away in hospital due to the injuries he sustained in the crash

 

There were several known players and legends in their respective countries lost in the disaster, leaving the hockey world with gut wrenching pain and sadness of the loss. The hockey world pulled together with emotional tributes pouring out to the team, its fans and the victims’ families. The summer of 2011 had been tough for hockey fans before that with the loss of Derek Boogard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak. All lives lost too soon. Every year, the world wide hockey community comes together with tributes to those it lost in the summer of 2011. Every player and team member is remembered and their memories live on. 

The Yaroslav air disaster is an incident that most hockey fans remember where they were and what they were doing. So here is my account of the day, 7th of September 2011:

I was at work and I remember it was a relatively quiet day, which was unusual. I was monitoring news feeds and I came across a news alert on one of the international news feeds and on Slava Malamud’s twitter feed that a plane carrying the Yaroslav Lokomotiv hockey team had crashed after take-off. I started to scour for more information and as more information came available, the bleaker the news. I remember that there was confusion whether Ruslan Salei was on board the plane, with some tweets and news outlets saying that he had been in touch with his family, or that he had traveled to Minsk ahead of his team. 

When the news came through that most of the people on board the plane had perished, I just stopped. I went into a state of shock and disbelief. There were players on the plane I had watched play, met (Karlis Skrastins while he played for TPS in Finland) and whose hockey cards I had in my collections. When the televised images from Yaroslav came through with the fans in mourning, I couldn’t hold back my tears. I had to excuse myself to the bathroom and I cried. I felt for the families of those who were lost and the fans of the team. 

The rest of the day was a blur, watching and reading the reactions and the overwhelming support that fans of the sport andRussia Crash beyond showed their condolences to the victims and their families. 

I remember that my team had a game the weekend after the disaster and rightly, as most games across the world, held a minute of silence in respect to those who the hockey community lost. I remember tweeting that the best way to remember those who perished was to play and enjoy every game you play, as those aboard the plane did. They made their childhood hobbies into a job and loved every minute of it. 

Three years on and the pain of the loss – I can only imagine – is still intense for the families, but on the 7th of September, millions of players and fans world wide will spare their thoughts and condolences to the families of those that were lost. 

We will remember them. 

 Yaro2 

#Stopbullying

Posted: September 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

Dear student returning to school or just starting your educational journey,

If you see someone at school who has no friends or is being bullied because they are ‘different’, shy or because he/she doesn’t have the trendiest clothes or gadgets, go and stand up for them and tell the bullies to STOP!

You can make a real difference into someone’s day by just saying “hi” or by smiling at someone who may not have any friends. It only takes 17 facial muscles to smile, so put them to good use.

There is NOTHING cool about bullying and a student that goes and stops it is way tougher and braver than bullies will ever be.

(This was originally published on the Extreme Dudeson’s facebook page in Finnish, but the message is pertinent and something worth sharing).

 

With the way we communicate today, bullying doesn’t always stop at the school yard, but extends to the life at home via the internet and can have a huge impact on a child’s life (or anyone’s for that matter). If you are being bullied at school and/or online, make sure that you talk to your teachers/parents/friends about it, so that it can be stopped. It is NOT a sign of weakness to tell someone.

 

To those who know/witness bullying, like the above message says, go and stop it, or go tell your teacher.

There are good resources on line such

as: http://www.stopbullying.gov/, http://www.childline.org.uk/Explore/Bullying/Pages/Bullying.aspx?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=UK_GO_S_E_GEN_New_Grant_ChildLine_Bullying&utm_term=stop_bullying&gclid=CJrwq6jXv8ACFVDItAod-xIACA&gclsrc=aw.ds, http://www.kidscape.org.uk/?gclid=CJDgvrXXv8ACFSKWtAodCF8AoA

 

Giving Up Is Not An Option

Posted: July 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

Over the years some of you have gotten to know me through my various injuries. Being vain, I was standing in front of the mirror this morning and looked through the scars I’ve accumulated and then started to think, ‘who in their right mind would still keep at it?’

 

Through all the fractured bones, the debilitating back pains, knee pain, shoulder, concussions, groin, pulled hamstrings and so on, who the heck would still go into the sport that caused many of these injuries. That list excludes any muscle fatigue and pains from the gym. Yeah, that’s right, this guy!

When I made the decision that I would give hockey one more shot (apart from playing beer league), I had already suffered with a knee injury that had made it near impossible to walk on the affected leg. Yet I turned up at trainings, games and went to the gym even if it meant that I couldn’t walk the next day. I underwent knee surgery to fix years worth of damage to the ligaments and the meniscus to enable me to get back to the game.

 

The stupid thing is that most of the injuries (apart from surgery and the “big” concussion), I have hardly missed a game. Whether it was dealing with back issues, or pulled muscles, or whatever, there was always something driving me to get up and battle through it. Sometimes it worked and sometimes, well, it didn’t.

 

But why? Why put yourself through all of that pain? To me, giving in to some of the issues would be a sign of weakness. I guess I’ve bought into the ‘hockey players are tough’ mentality and I felt that I could still help my team. This is why I opted to delay in getting my shoulder surgery until after the season. Even though it hurt like hell at times and if I had a chance to change things, I’d still wait till the season was done. It’s difficult to express it in words, but my mentality is that I need to give everything that I have. The shelf life of an athlete is short and I want to enjoy every minute of it, no matter how painful it may be.

 

If I look to draw from those kinds of experiences, I can easily relate them to everyday life and in a lot of ways going through injuries has made me mentally tougher and given me the ability to deal with stressful situations better in the business environment. Even now when recovering from shoulder surgery, I was allowed to start lifting weights and all I can bench now is the bar, with no weight. For some the easiest answer would be to just say fuck it and give up. To me it is a challenge. I look at that bar, and I think to myself that within 3 months I am going to load that with 100kg weight and lift it.

 

Hockey is a game about rising to a challenge, game in, game out. Everything that you do off the ice must re-enforce that mentality. There should not be an easy way out. No matter how skilled you are, you need to put in the work. On the flipside what you lack in skill you make up for in work ethic. The harder you work on and off the ice, the better and more valuable you will be to your team.

 

Despite all the scars, the aches and pains, I would not change anything. Giving up is not an option. The only way is up, no matter what. 


photo 4

Stick specs
Flex: 75
Weight: Approx 375 grams
Blade pattern: PP88 (Ryan II)
Grip coated

photo 1Sher-Wood Rekker EK 15 came out with a lot of buzz around it during launch. The stick was advertised to be the lightest stick on the market (With Stastny curve). The stick has been in use from December onwards and has been used in league level play and training. Below are our findings:

First impressions:

At delivery, the first thing we noticed was how light the box was. It felt like there was nothing inside and once the stick was un-boxed it felt ridiculously light. The Rekker EK15 feels like a perfectly balanced stick when you hold it in your hands and you can feel that you are holding a high quality product.

The product itself is clean and didn’t come with any warehouse dust or any paint scraps which can sometimes make its way onto a stick. Sher-Wood says that it uses a “handmade manufacturing process” that reduces the chances of defect on sticks. The aim of this process is to make the stick more durable and to remove surplus materials, which can add to the weight, balance and durability of a stick.

The Rekker EK 15 uses carbon fibre that is 30% lighter than the ones used in other sticks which gives it that light feel. As with other light sticks and testing out the flex on it, the first question we want answered is that how durable is it and will it handle a slap shot without breaking. The 75 flex stick is new to us as we have previously used mainly 85 flex sticks so the Rekker EK 15 is a new frontier in that respect.

In terms of looks, Sher-Wood opted for a slick black coating on the stick with the branding in white on the shaft of the stick. This time the branding is visible on the shaft, something that was lacking in the Nexon range as it tended to warp around the shaft in the higher range models.

On the ice:

photo 3

The Sher-Wood Rekker EK15 comes with a new VRF 2 blade, designed to give your stick a ‘new’ feel for longer

Using the Rekker EK15 on the ice for the first time was an eye opening experience. Having reviewed the Nexon 12, we knew that Sher-Wood is capable of producing great sticks where you get an amazing feel for the puck. Given that the EK15 is lighter than the Nexon range, we wondered whether the stick was actually able to provide a similar feel.

From the first time we handled a puck we realised that the stick provides a feel that is equal to, or even better to the Nexon range. The feel is comparable to Warrior’s Covert DT1 stick. Both sticks provide a great feel for the puck and feed it straight to your hands.

One of the big improvements we noticed on the stick was the blade. On the preceding model, the Nexon range, the blade had a tendency to give out quite soon into the life of the stick, so you lost a bit of feel and a bit of the ‘pop’ when that happened.In terms of shooting, the Rekker EK15 provides amazing pop. This is thanks to the new VRF 2 core in the blade (VRF stands for Vibration Reduction Foam). What the VRF does, is it keeps the blade and the stick feeling like new for longer. With new sticks you get that crisp and great pop on all the shots, but over time the blade gives way. As said, the Nexon range was prone to giving up at the blade, but after 6 months of active use, the Rekker EK 15 still has that ‘new stick feel’.

The stick also has a flex free zone, which means that it has a four inch area at the top and providing you don’t cut below this zone, the flex doesn’t change. What some other manufacturers have, such as Bauer, the stick comes at a certain flex, but the flex changes by how much you have to cut down the stick. Say your 85 flex stick might actually be a 90 flex after you’ve cut it down.

In terms of kick point, the Rekker EK15 has a really low kick point to getting a shot off quickly.

In six months of use, the blade and stick still feel new, an upgrade from the Nexon range.

In six months of use, the blade and stick still feel new, an upgrade from the Nexon range.

The Nexon range had a low kick point, but the Rekker EK range has an even lower kickpoint. Indeed, when shooting, the stick is easy to load for a quick release snap and wrist shot.

This stick is suited to the players who are looking for something that provides them with a quick release and want to have that crisp feel to their stick for longer, also if you’re a player who loves to dangle, this is the stick for you.

After six months of use, the only damage that is on the stick, is the grip coating coming off at certain parts of the shaft, so that is something we hope Sher-Wood will look into in future iterations of the stick. However, it still feels like new when you’re shooting, despite having a few skate scuff marks on the blade.


Price:

Additionally to the great features found in the Sher-Wood Rekker EK15, the price point is an amenable one when comparing to some of the other top of the range sticks on the market. You can pick up the Rekker EK15 for approximately €30-70 cheaper than the top of the range sticks when compared to the likes of CCM, Bauer, Easton and Warrior. The stick retails at approximately €199 in Europe or £288 in the UK (depending on retailer).

Overall:

photo 5The Rekker EK15 is a great stick that more than holds its own against the other top marquees. It is a feature rich stick that provides you with great feel for the puck and is easy to load and release. If you are shopping for a stick, it should definitely be one of the sticks that you need to try out when you’re going through the stick rack.

Pros:
• Light weight
• Excellent price point for top of the range stick
• Quick release on shots
• True one piece throughout
• Stronger blade than on predecessor models

Cons:
• Grip coating has started to come off after extensive use


My six weeks in the sling are up and I have almost a free reign to use my arm, with a few exceptions and limitations on weight bearing. The six weeks – thinking back on it – went relatively quickly. After the initial painful first few days, the shoulder did settle quite well and didn’t give me huge amounts of grief when put into perspective.

 

There hasn’t really been much to report on in the recovery front. My physio work has been mainly to be strapped into a Compex machine and having my muscles worked by electronic impulses. I anticipate that now things will get more interesting as I can move my arm freely (or at least to the point where the anchors start catching).

 

The six weeks and the strict limitations and restrictions that doctors set for me have had an impact on my fitness levels. After completing my first proper body weight workout today (which included more than squats) I felt a bit winded and out of shape, but I knew to prepare myself mentally for that so that it didn’t come as a surprise.

 

This whole operation and getting back was always going to be facing the challenge head on and working hard to overcome it. It’s not going to be easy, but I am looking forward to the punishing workouts that lie ahead. I’ve viewed this as an opportunity and it still continues to be an opportunity to be stronger and improve weaknesses.

 

What of the future then?

 

Well I’m going on to an agressive recovery plan, which the surgeon said that has proved better results in athletic people. According to this plan I should be back in weight training – though light at first – by July 23rd and starting to skate in non contact environment at the same time. From there things will progress quicker and I should be ready to start contact training in September and be ready to start playing in October.

Like said, there’s a long hard road ahead, but it is not going to get me down.