Posts Tagged ‘CCM CL’


Specifications:

Model: Sher-Wood Nexon 12

Curve: PP20 (Drury), 0.5 depth, 6.5 lie, heel curve. Rounded toe (left handed)

Flex: 85

Grip surface

Where to buy: http://www.nekoti.co.uk/index.php?tracking=5125ecce37331  (see link at bottom of review for discount)

Price: from £224.58, $229, €199

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The competition for the top range stick is really raging in the hockey equipment business. CCM has its RBZ, Easton is investing in its MAKO range, Warrior has its Covert range. When we’ve been looking at the market, there is one manufacturer who hasn’t perhaps had the recognition it deserves. That’s why we are looking at the Sher-Wood Nexon 12 stick (N12). The Sher-Wood N12 is the top of the range stick in Sher-Wood’s Nexon range, which runs parallel to its True Touch range.

When looking at the product sheet for the N12, the stick is loaded with features, which we will look at later. One of the key features here is that the stick is actually a true one piece. The shaft runs all the way down to the heel of the blade. In some sticks the blade is joined to the shaft. By doing this Sher-Wood has removed some weight from the end of the stick, and has made it easier to load. This design also removes some 15-20grams of weight from the stick (according to Sher-Wood).

Features:

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The Nexon 12 offers a true one-piece construction

The N12 features – as mentioned above – a true one piece construction, combined with a 3K carbon weave which gives the stick durability and increases the loading of the stick, making it easier for you to get a shot off. The 3K carbon weave can also be found in the blade.

The stick also features strategically positioned carbon fibre from top to bottom to maximise energy return and end-to-end stability to improve the accuracy and power for your shot. The N12 also has concaved side walls which have been designed for perfect fit for the hand and has been designed with stick control in mind.

In the blade, Sher-Wood have used a light high-density foam core and have re-inforced this with 3K carbon weave, to dampen the shocks seen in hockey and improve the feel and stiffness of the sick.

 

The stick is available in black and silver (as pictured), or in black and light blue.

Feel

To be honest, when we unwrapped the N12, we were pleasantly surprised by it. It had the same, if not better feel to it than some of the other leading sticks out there. The stick we had been using more in the past was a CCM CL and the transition from the CL to the Sher-Wood N12 was seamless. The stick fits incredibly well to the hand.

It is super lightweight as well and does not lose to the big three stick manufacturers out there. However, one of the most impressive features of this stick is its balance and its feel for the puck. When you first start stick handling with the N12 you will be surprised at how well the stick feeds to your hands. If you read our review of the Sher-Wood T70 stick a while back, take the T70 and multiply the feel by about a 100. I’m not saying that the T70 is a bad stick, but the N12 is a whole different animal.

In the modern hockey stick market the biggest draw for sticks are in the weight. The N12 is extremely light weight and is therefore great for stick handling and eases the loading process of the stick. In fact the Nexon range is incredibly light throughout. The N6 feels lighter than most competitive sticks in the same price range.

Performance

The stick’s performance is has really surprised us. Personally for me, slapshot has always been a forte in the arsenal and with the N12 I often feel that I have not connected with the puck properly, but even with that, the shot is still like a bullet. What this means in terms of game play is that the windup for the slapshot isn’t a drawn out process and you are able to release your shot quicker.

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Close up shot of the impact point of a puck and a slash. Stick is still intact and has not lost any integrity in the shaft.

In fact at the start of using the stick, one of the things we were afraid to do at first was to take a big slapshot. The N12 is so light that you’re afraid to lean into your shots and use the full torque of the shaft in the fears that you’ll snap it. Let me put that fear to rest for you. The stick is durable and will be able to cope with heavy shots just as well as, if not better, than its competitors. In fact a great testament of the stick’s durability is in the fact that in game situations the our sick took a heavy slapshot onto the shaft and then later on it was victim of a vicious slash and yet there has not been any effect on the stick’s performance or integrity. The only thing that was “damaged” was the livery on the shaft.

For wrist shots the stick is similarly easy and quick to load and the shaft delivers good levels of punch to the shot. We have been using a stick with the DR curve, which is a heel curve stick with a 6.5 lie. What we noticed is that it is easy to go top shelf with the stick and providing that you take a look at where you are shooting, chances are that the puck will go there.

As a centre the stick is taking quite a beating in face off situations and we’re happy to report that it is only the livery that is slightly chipped on the livery front, which is to be expected, but the main thing is that there are no chunks or chips on the shaft meaning that the stick is durable.

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The N12 not only offers good levels of balance and performance

The Nexon 12 is highly responsive to everything. It almost has the same feel as a high quality wooden stick. Not from the weight point of view, but that it feeds extremely well to your hands and you really do feel where the puck is at all times, which is one of the essentials for a top of the range stick.

Overall, when we have spoken to other players who use the Nexon 12, the feedback has been positive. Players seem to love the responsiveness of the stick and how easy it is to load for a shot.

Conclusion:

I guess that it is no secret that I have been a fan of CCM for a long time, but the Sher-Wood N12 stick has really won me over. Sher-Wood has engineered a stick that is right up there with all the other top line sticks in terms of weight, performance and even offers some more features when compared to others. What makes the N12 an even more attractive offering is that the N12 usually retails at lower prices than the RBZ, MAKO, Covert DT1, so if you are looking for a top of the range stick that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, the Sher-Wood N12 is definitely one for you.

Pros:

* Incredibly lightweight

* Good price point for a top of the range stick

* Durability

* Feeds well to your hands, constant feel of the puck

* Easy to load for shots

Cons:

* Got a small crack on blade when another player stepped on it (did not affect performance)

That’s it, seriously, I can’t find anything to fault the stick with, which speaks volumes about its performance.

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If you want to purchase the Sher-Wood Nexon 12 stick and receive up-to 20% discount, please visit the Nekoti store. When registering an account enter virtanen (all lowercase) as your agent password and you will receive up-to 20% discount on all purchases, including the N12


Product: CCM U+ Crazy Light (CL) Shoulder pads

Size: L

Available at: most hockey retailers and several online stores

Also available in limited edition Midnight model 

Price: €149 or $194

 

ImageCCM’s U+ CL shoulder pads are the company’s flagship product in upper body protection. The company has gone a different way to many of the other manufacturers out in the market. While many others have gone to create bulkier pads, CCM has opted for going for a slimmed and “stripped down” look. This is due to its work and feedback from a lot of the players who wanted a slimmed down shoulder pad that would still offer great levels of protection.

 

The big play CCM has been making over the past few years has been its U-Foam technology which has been deployed in its skates but has now been integrated into protective equipment as well. The U-Foam, CCM says, is stronger than any traditional plastic used in protective equipment. If CCM marketing is to go by, using all CCM CL equipment would reduce your equipment’s weight by almost 2kg.

 

LooksImage

One of the things in terms of look of the pads is that they look like a modernised version of the classic pro pads of the 70s and 80s. The pads stand up to their name and feel, well crazy light, in terms of weight. However, some of the plastics and straps do have a bit of a “cheap” feel to them.

 

However, having worn the pads for two months now for training and games, the pads have been put through their paces. The materials, even at the thinner parts of the pads are really sturdy. However, there has been some minor fraying of the stitching work on the pads.

Protection

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The clavicle and shoulder blade protection in the U+ CL is one of the highlights of the pads

One of the things I was really impressed by in CCM when it first introduced the Vector line of protective equipment, the shoulder pads featured a floating sternum protection, as well as floating spine protection. The floating spinal support was something that was removed from the CCM V10 and U Fit Pro few years ago. CCM has now brought these two features back and they can be found (to varying levels) from pads like the CS, U+12 and U+8.

 

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The Shoulder cup and bicep guard cover the shoulder/bicep area really well leaving mininal exposure between elbow pads

Perhaps one of the biggest improvements on the pads has been the shoulder cups. In the past few models of shoulder pads the shoulder cups have left something to be desired for. In the U+ CL the shoulder cups protect the shoulder area perfectly, not leaving any areas exposed, which was something that happened with the CCM V10. The shoulder cups do not leave any areas exposed.

 

Compared with majority of pads out there, the shoulder cups on the CCM U+ CL do not add bulk to the pads and keep up with the overall streamlined look of the pads. Other manufacturers seem to have gone for bigger, bulkier cups and protection, but there’s a disadvantage in the design in that it could reduce your ability to move as effectively. With the CCM U+ CL, CCM has achieved optimum movement, fit and protection.

What CCM has kept as constant from its previous pads is the protection around the clavicle and shoulder blade.  The protection around the clavicle and collarbone is superb and protects really softens the blows from hits and is something that has not been seen replicated to the same degree of protection on other shoulder pads.

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The floating sternum (and spine) offer high levels of ventilation as well as protection

 

The sternum area of the shoulder pads, combines hard plastic as well as CCM’s U foam to offer optimal protection. Again, these materials do not reduce the movement of your body, but move with you. When comparing this area of the pads to others in the market, CCM has an edge here as again, many other manufacturers have made this area of the pads really bulky.

 

Fit:

ImageThe CCM U+ CL has somewhat different style of Velcro straps than other pads. The strips are shorter and in comparison to old CCM models, or for any other manufacturer, the Velcro strips are small. There is a bit of concern in the way the pads will fit as you don’t have as big of an area to make the pads fit properly. This is why it is critically important to make sure that you choose the right size, so if you are going for these pads, make sure you try on a few sizes before you buy.

 

Otherwise, the pads sit quite nicely on the body and there isn’t too much in terms of movement and the pads do not move from their desired position, but follow the body’s natural movement whilst skating.

 

What about the name and whether it is actually Crazy Lite? Well, yes, yes it is. It is the lightest modern pad on the market at the moment. You will notice the lightweight from the first wear of the pads and it can be a bit of a shock when you first skate with it on. Has it made me any faster? I haven’t noticed a huge difference, but the biggest difference has been in the mobility of the upper body.

 

The other thing is that the U+ Crazy Lite actually transfers the sweat off of the body and the pads are dry, which makes a huge difference through out the course of the game. Not only because the pads maintain their original weight,  but also help transfer the sweat off of your body, which in turn means you will recover a bit quicker.

 

Ventilation:

The pads provide a great degree of ventilation. There are vents on the chest and back of the pads and the sternum and back protection also has plenty of ventilation on it. The ventilation really helps keeping you cool and the materials stay dry, which does not add weight to your equipment as you sweat. In fact, the shoulder pads is the piece of equipment that doesn’t need real drying once you’ve come of the ice. Even after a bag skate.

 

Conclusion:

When we first got the CCM pads, we were not sure whether they would be any good and if they would provide good protection as CCM has gone against the current and has slimmed down the design and used materials that do not add bulk and strip down a lot of the weight off the pad.

The CCM U+ CL is an elite, top of the range shoulder pad. Despite a slim look, it provides great levels of protection at the key areas (sternum, spine, shoulders and clavicles). CCM has gone the opposite way of many other equipment manufacturers and has gone with a slim, low profile look. It is like the old school shoulder pads of the 80s, except on steroids.

The pads are great, even if a bit pricey. However, if you are after an elite shoulder pads that provide superior protection, it is worth looking at. However, the CCM U+ CS and U+12 still offer similar levels of protection and might not break the bank.

 

Pros:

  • Light weight
  • Lean and stripped design makes it a dynamic shoulder pad
  • Superb floating sternum and spinal protection
  • U foam in shoulder cups minimises impacts
  • Perhaps the best clavicle/collarbone protection in the market
  • Good ventilation

Cons

  • Can look a bit cheap (It is in fact durable, but many have commented that it looks flimsy)
  • Costly when compared to other top of range pads
  • Velcro attachment areas are small compared to others (Choose your size carefully)
  • After two months, some stitching work has frayed a bit. 

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Pro level hockey equipment available at great prices available by clicking on the above image


Choosing a hockey stick can be difficult at times. If you are anything like me, it can take hours and hours of trying out different sticks and checking out blade patterns. The staple of stick manufacturers that are known to all in the hockey community include the likes of CCM, Reebok, Easton, Bauer, Warrior and so on.

 

About Beaster:

Though in the recent years many new manufacturers have cropped up and began manufacturing their line of sticks to compete with the big boys. But how do we know if the sticks these ‘smaller’ players are making are any good? Well, one such company has given us a stick to test to find out just how good their wares are. The company in question is Beater Hockey, from Latvia. Latvia has produced many hockey talents, like Arturs Irbe and the late Karlis Skrastins its obvious that hockey is a big deal to Latvians. Beaster is the only manufacturer of hockey equipment from Latvia that I have heard of.

 

‘The Kings of Badassery!’ it proclaims on its website. Beaster hockey was established in 2008 and has been producing a line of sticks since then. It has grown to a global brand with dealers and distributors in Canada, USA, Germany, Slovakia, UK, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Latvia, Russia, and Kazakhstan. The full list can be found here: http://www.beasterhockey.net/#!page-7

Beaster hockey has recently also opened its own first retail store in Latvia and has also done so in the UK. The UK specific site can be found at www.hockeybeast.co.uk The site is currently being built but you can already order the RockNRolla stick from there.

 

Aesthetics & Look and feel:

The stick we are testing is Beaster’s RockNRolla range. The stick is 80 flex with MOD blade pattern and with grip surface. The stick is preferred by many KHL players and is used quite a bit by the Avangard OMSK team.

The first thing that we noticed from the stick is that it is incredibly light! Out of the wrappings, the stick weighs only 410grams, a whole 15grams lighter that the CCM CrazyLight. In fact, Beaster’s top of the range stick, the B1, weighs in at staggering 365grams. That is incredibly light for a stick!

The RockNRolla is not a mid range stick, far from it. It is one of the staples to the Beaster brand and is used by professional players across the globe. When looking at the design of the stick, Beaster have gone out to create a stick that is recognizable on the ice. The use of mirrored/reflective text for it’s own brand name and the name of the stick is recognizable off the ice. A lot of the time when looking at different stick manufacturers it is difficult to distinguish which stick the pros are using. And lets face it, the pros have a huge influence in the purchasing decision on the stick us mere mortals are buying

Durability:

One of the concerns that I had in the first instance of getting the stick in my hands was that of durability. The stick is so light that I worried whether it would be durable enough on the ice. Having said that, I had similar concerns with my CCM CrazyLight stick as well and that’s held up well.

In the hack and slash kind of environment that hockey can sometimes be the RockNRolla has held up really well. In fact you get the same durability that you would normally associate with some of the bigger and established brands in the market, so you are safe in the knowledge that your hard earned cash hasn’t gone into a stick that looks great and doesn’t last for more than a training session.

Normally with sticks the first bit that I notice wear and tear in is the blade area. It’s happened to sticks I’ve used from Easton, CCM and Reebok. The construction of the blade area on the RockNRolla is slightly different and the blade hasn’t started to come apart at the toe or at the heel. As part of the review I have been giving the stick a really rough and tumble ride to check out how well it has lasted.

The end result is that despite abusing the stick it is still in one piece. I’ve had other players slash at it during games and it has held in one piece.

Sure I haven’t gone to the lengths that ended my CCM U+ Pro stick, where I beat it against the bench in frustration and turned the stick into saw dust. But please do bare in mind that sticks do break in hockey and I’ve yet come across an indestructible stick.

Performance:

When I first got the RockNRolla it took me some time to get used to the feel of the stick, simply because I’ve been using CCM sticks for such a long time and I had to get used to the feel and contours of the shaft.

When I first used it on the ice, I had to get used to the sticks flex pattern (similar to Bauer TotalONE) as I noticed that at first my wrist shots weren’t coming off well and I couldn’t get a good enough feel for the stick. However, the more I’ve used it the better it has gotten.

With slap shots and one timers the stick is a beast of its own. I’ve noticed that my slapshots are still as heavy as with other sticks but this time there’s more control of the direction and height. The shaft is easy to load for a slapper and provides enough ‘pop’ for a one timer, without losing the feel of toughness in the shaft.

The only thing where I think the RockNRolla falls a bit behind on is the blade. I’ve been testing a MOD pattern on the stick and normally I prefer a curve similar to CCM’s Lecavalier or Thornton or Easton’s Sakic or Bauer’s Toews. The MOD pattern isn’t most ideal for me, but that is just my personal preference.

However, I think that the overall feel of the blade is not as good as it is on a CCM stick. Again this might be my long term use of CCM sticks, but with the CL I get a better feel of the puck. The RockNRolla does give you a good enough feel of the puck, but at times I found I had to pay increased attention to it and check to make sure the puck was still on the blade.

That again could be my personal preference from using a long line of CCM blades, but it is the ONLY thing I can really mark the stick down on.

Overall:

The Beaster RockNRolla is a nice piece of work. The stick looks flashy and means business. I know for many guys, buying a stick is a personal thing and there are a lot of factors that play into the decision, so it’s difficult for me to give it an overall grade apart from my own experience with it. I would thoroughly recommend the RockNRolla and would recommend that players take a look at the Beaster line of products to find a stick suitable to their needs. I think with Beaster the quality of the product and price are well matched and you are not paying for the name on the shaft or what players the company has to market it’s wares.

The RockNRolla is ideal for players who prefer lighter sticks that do not sacrifice durability and affordability. If you are still thinking about what hockey stick to ask from Santa or what stick to spend your Christmas money on, give Beaster a serious look.

Overall I’d give this stick a 4 out of 5 grade purely due to the issues I had with the blade pattern and the feel of it. Otherwise the stick stacks up well against the top of the range offers from Easton, CCM, Bauer and Reebok.