Posts Tagged ‘Nekoti’


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


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For amazing deals on ice hockey equipment from sticks, protective, skates to training aids, visit Nekoti Hockey, The UK’s favourite ice hockey warehouse.

IIHF has announced that the 2013 World Championships will be streamed live online via YouTube. The service, which was launched last year was welcomed by hockey fans across Europe, but things soon turned sour after media partner pressure. The IIHF had imposed a blackout of the YouTube streams for countries that had exclusive TV broadcast deals in place, but then had to take further measures as tech savvy consumers found ways around the geo-blocking.

 

To many fans’ displeasure, the IIHF then had to move its broadcasts to start half an hour after face off to make sure that no-one would be circumventing the geo-blocking. However, this year the free – and more importantly – live broadcasts will be back. The service will be available across many countries, but IIHF has already ruled out some countries on its promotional YouTube video. Countries where YouTube broadcasts are not available include: Sweden, Finland (the host countries), Denmark, Norway, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Swizerland, Germany, Canada, USA, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and France.

 

Where last year’s streaming ended with a sour note, I do think that it is the right thing to do to bring hockey to a wider fan base. Even though the IIHF broadcast the games with 30min delay last year, my point will be that any sports event should be broadcast live. The word travels quickly these days and it is important that if you are broadcasting on a social platform such as YouTube, you provide a live stream instead of a deferred one.

 

So there, another year of hockey on the web by the looks. The 2013 World Championships will be played in Stockholm, Sweden and Helsinki, Finland between 3rd and 19th of May 2013.


The groups for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics ice hockey tournament have been set after the final qualification rounds came to a close. Where the pre-qualification tournaments may not make big headlines in the main hockey media, there was one storyline that I followed quite closely (well through social media and radio). The story being the one of Team GB.

British ice hockey may not be that highly regarded in the grand scheme of things, or the international hockey pecking order, but what surprised me was that Team GB made it to the final Olympic qualification tournament. Currently GB is ranked 21st by the IIHF and went on to play against teams like Latvia, France and Kazakhstan, all of which have experience from the highest tiers of international hockey within the IIHF. In fact, all of the nations in Team GB’s group featured in last year’s World Championships in Helsinki and Stockholm.

I think this is a good juncture to make a confession: I didn’t think that Team GB would make it. However, the achievement of the team should not be disregarded or mocked. Given the infrastructure for the game in the UK, where rinks seem to be closing quicker than they are built (specially in the South), or are in dire need of renovation, Team GB pulled of a minor miracle by making it to the final qualification round.

What the team who went to Latvia have achieved, is a foundation that the powers that be should start building upon. Team GB may not feature in the highest tier of the World Championship stage, nor will we see them in the 2014 winter Olympics. However, what the success of the team shows is that the fan base is there and now it is time to build. What the UK should focus on in an ideal world right now is to invest more into the sport and adapt a junior system that is being used by some of the top countries in the world. I’m a big believer that the future of the game of hockey is in junior development and now if ever, it’s time to strike while the iron is hot.

The process won’t be easy, but done right, I can see that Team GB has a legitimate chance for the 2018 Winter Olympics. However, having been around the game here for a couple of years, I sadly doubt that it will happen due to the way things are ran and the fact that hockey is a sport that hardly receives any funding. Sure there  recently was a funding of £100k, but more is needed. £100,000 will not build a programme that would nurture the game here.

I know this opens up a debate that hockey is a minority sport and that the £100,000 is a good enough investment and why should ice hockey be invested in. Well, even though a minority sport, it was good to hear the game being called on the radio and actually hear fans chanting “Let’s go GB”. The fan support is there and my Twitter stream was filled with tweets from the games. Team GB’s games were picked up by ESPN here in the UK, a great feat for the sport. I’ve thought this for the longest time, but the local leagues (Elite League and Premier League) should be shown on free-view TV. Having them shown and (what I find) often buried on Sky sports 2 is doing the sport no favours here. But as with many other things, money talks. I would be as bold as to hazard a guess that apart from the people who follow ice hockey actually know that the sport is shown on Sky Sports 2, or that the NHL is on Premier Sport.

 

EDIT: This was something that Graham Goodman said on Facebook and I totally agree with him. British players should cast their eyes to European leagues as well and seek contracts outside of the confines of GB. There were a couple of players who did not ply their trade in the British leagues and ultimately the international experience from different leagues (and potentially better leagues) will make the standard of the national team better. Many of the teams GB played against had A LOT of players on the roster that played in countries other than their own.

While Team GB may have lost all of its games in the tournament, it is nothing to be laughed at. Though any self-respecting hockey player will tell you that the losses sting and they suck, but in the grand scheme of things, this team that went so far, have the potential to be regarded as pioneers for the game here. They have laid a foundation on which to build the sport on and the powers that be now need to strike while the iron is hot or the achievement by these guys will have been for nothing.

Follow the author on twitter: @amateur_hockey

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For your hockey equipment needs, don’t settle for second best. Click on the image above for great products at great prices


As the NHL season is finally under wayt, we wanted to visit the dark days of the lockout by chatting to someone who makes his living from the NHL and hockey. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Antti Makinen, a Finnish NHL sports caster for NelonenPro. Makinen has become well known in the Finnish hockey media, mainly due to his active Twitter use and his enthusiastic commentary during games. One of the memorable moments came during the New Jersey Devils – Philadelphia Fylers series, well words wouldn’t do it justice, so you can watch the clip here.

 

When the lockout first started did Makinen feel like he didn’t have much to worry. “When (the lockout was announced, it didn’t bother me. I was sure it would only last a week or so. After the first couple of weeks, it started to disturb my thoughts.”

 

At the start of the lockout there was a lot of optimism about the length and many pundits and analysts thought it would be something the league could get sorted out before the season started, or at worst, it wouldn’t affect most of the season.

 

However, as the lockout continued, Makinen says it started to affect things. “My employer (Nelonen Pro) had to do a lot of rescheduling. NHL is a big thing to our channel and they had their hands full to reschedule. For me personally it was a bit of a 50/50 situation. I had all the time in the world to play with my two year-old son, but on the flipside, the worry was on the finances.”

 

For a play-by-play professional, the job is similar to a professional athlete. There’s a constant need to keep up with your skills and hone your craft. Makinen didn’t fall on empty for the lockout as he found some sports casting work for Finnish SM-Liiga games. During the SM-Liiga gig, many of Makinen’s Twitter followers regularly tweeted him asking which game he would be calling. “Calling the SM-Liiga games helped me a lot,” Makinen says. “It was a job that helped pay the bills and it also helped mentally as I had something else to think about than the lockout.”

 

Riding the highs and lows

 

So for someone whose livelihood depends on the NHL having games what are some of the emotions that you go through? Mid October was probably the toughest for many fans as it was the first time of that infamous ‘cautious optimism’. “I had a couple of rock bottom moments during the lockout,” Makinen admits. “The toughest one was in a middle of October when my own sources told me that the deal is close. Then of course Bettman came out and said that they (NHL and the NHLPA) were speaking different languages.”

 

But for someone who is active on Twitter and also a fan of the game, Makinen didn’t resort to outbursts that many fans (like myself) resorted to in desperation. “I tried to maintain optimism publicly, but it was really hard,” Makinen says. “I have to that my wife for all her understanding. She really supported me through the lockout.”

 

However, the end of the lockout meant a big relief to those whose livelihoods depend on the NHL. As Makinen points out he doesn’t have to worry about the summer months as the NHL Play-Offs are likely to go on long into the summer months. “(The season) will be a busy one, but I think it’s a good thing,” Makinen says. “It’s a bit weird to start the season in January as normally this is the hardest part of the season for me. However, our batteries are fully loaded and we are ready to go.”

The world of sports casters

 

For me personally, the sports caster world and work has always been interesting. It has puzzled me to think how someone can keep up with the changes in a game as fast as hockey. If you ask my parents, they would say that as a child, I was always pretending that I was calling a hockey game, ski jumping event or a rally.

 

It felt only natural to ask Makinen about his career and how he got into sports casting. “I used to play hockey and I won two Finnish championships in the junior levels,” Makinen says. “I was also a member of the Finnish U17 and U18 team. My career came to an end when I was 18 and I broke my back. After my playing days were done, a manager of a local radio station called me and asked if I wanted to try to work with them on their hockey radio. I had no plans after everything had turned upside down, so I tried and as they say, the rest is history.”

 

However, Makinen didn’t get to always work on hockey, even though his knowledge of the game. “Hockey has always been my thing, but I had to prove myself in TV before I got to do hockey,” Makinen explains. “I have done colour commentary for football from all over the world, I’ve done Superbikes and a lot of other motorsports. I’ve also called some basketball and floorball games.”

 

Stats:

 

As hockey players, what we wanted to find out was how many games per week Makinen does. According to the man himself, he does five to eight games per week. “I just counted that between 2010 and 2012 I did a total of 407 games,” Makinen says. “I bet no one can match those numbers back here.”

 

Impressive statistics, given that Finland is seven hours ahead of the Eastern Conference, which means countless of sleepless nights for a man who calls Tampere his home and does many of his games from Helsinki (approximately 70-80 mile trip).

 

Statistics form an important part for any commentator and Makinen is no exception. His preparation includes looking at stats and stories about past meetings of teams. “When the game is on, it’s just a free-fall to me. It’s my thing to go inside the game and live in the moment.”

 

As mentioned at the start of the article, Makinen has come up with a few living legends in terms of things said on the air, during a game “They’re just things I’ve said. I’ve never planned what to say and just say what comes to my mind,” Makinen explains. “I think it’s impossible to plan what to say in different games and situations. If you have to worry about what to say and where you say it, it will destroy the broadcast.”

 

Indeed, a good sports caster can add so much to a game and the experience that the fan receives and where not directly employed by the NHL, sports casters add so much value to the overall product that the NHL sells internationally. Fans who live and breathe their teams’ trials and tribulations already live in every stride of their team, but a sport caster such as Makinen can add enthusiasm and a new level to the game.

 

Makinen, who lists 2011-2012 first round Penguins vs Flyers series as one of his favourites along with Blackhawks’ cup win as his friend goalie Antti Niemi won the cup, parts us with some of his wisdom to people looking for a career in sport casting and play-by-play commentary. “It’s a long way, so be patient. Give it your best every time you are working and there are no shortcuts. Most importantly, don’t try to be someone else, be yourself and find your own way of doing things.”

 

Thank you to Antti Makinen for taking part in the interview and good luck with the NHL season and hopefully the fans will enjoy every game televised this year. 

 

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Specifications:

Model: Sher-Wood T-70

Size: 13”

Colour: Black

Prce: £93.60

Where to buy: http://nekoti.co.uk

 

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The Sher-Wood T-70 glove has the traditional 4-roll look

The Sher-Wood T-70 glove is in the upper range of its T-range, or True Touch range, superseded only by the T-90. The T-70 we were given to try out by Nekoti Hockey (http://nekoti.co.uk),  looks like a traditional 4-roll glove, but there is something different about it compared to the other 4-roll gloves.

 

The 4-roll look has been making a serious comeback in the recent years and many manufacturers are now supplying the look, but from experience with some of the 4-roll gloves, they can be a bit loose on the hand, but the Sher-Wood T-70 feels ready for action straight out of the box and  doesn’t shake around too much compared to other 4-roll gloves in same size. 

 

Build:

When looking at the build of the glove, the one thing that is a bit of a pro and a con at the same time, is the outer liner. Where other gloves that use the 4-roll look use a nylon/ fabric outer liner, the T-70 uses synthetic leather outer liner, which in my experience has taken a while longer to break in. However, the T-70 gloves did not require an extended breaking in period and were comfortable enough to use in a game situation after three training sessions. The outer liner makes the gloves highly abrasion resistant, durable and light weight. They are on par with most top of the line 4-roll style gloves in terms of weight, with maybe few grams’ difference here or there.

 

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Vents on the inside of the glove.

The backhand contains high density foam and plastic inserts. On the rolls there are breathing vents to allow for better air circulation. However, inside the glove there is a felt/corn liner on the backhand, which can make the glove feel a bit hot and plays down the effectiveness of  the ventilation from the 4-roll. In the end we ended up removing the felt liner from inside the glove and the gloves have felt better since then, both in terms of breathe-ability and performance. The inner lining was not attached to the glove so it had a habit of moving around a bit and felt a bit uncomfortable. Few other guys who have been trying out the same model glove felt that they preferred the glove as it came out from the box, so it is mainly a preference thing.

 

Inside the glove, Sher-Wood have used materials which have been designed to keep the gloves as dry as possible. I have noticed that the gloves do tend to get a bit wet after a particularly heavy training or game, but one of the great things about the glove is that once it is dry it does not stiffen up. This is thanks to the materials used in the palm of the glove, which as mentioned is one of the biggest USPs of this particular range of gloves. The palm liner is super durable.

 

The one thing that ALWAYS breaks in my gloves is the palm liner of the upper hand (being a lefty it’s the right glove that goes). The liner used in these gloves doesn’t have a cheap feel to it and it actually feels sturdy. The other thing with the palm liner is that it gives you an added level of grip on the stick, whether you are using a clear or grip coated stick. Though on a grip coated stick it did feel a bit too grippy to begin with. It is also comfortable to the hand.

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After similar use periods, other palms on gloves can break. Sher-Wood’s palm liner is really durable

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Side profile view of the T-70 Glove showing the Hyperlock thumb feature

One of the cool things about the T-70 gloves is the Hyperloc thumb feature. Players have the choice of having either a mobile thumb, or slightly stiffer thumb with protection. This is done by removing an insert stuck behind the thumb. Personally, I have stuck with the protection as I felt that the thumb was mobile enough with the added protection in place.

 

The gloves’ cuff extends to well above the wrist and fore arm and the gap between the elbow pad and glove is minimised, without sacrificing mobility. The cuff itself is sufficiently padded out so that you do not notice if there are small slashes on the wrist.

Conclusion:

The Sher-Wood T-70 glove is a durable, top of the range 4-roll styled glove that will match the performance and protection of similar glove models from the likes of Bauer, CCM or Easton. Where this model of T-70’s uses a synthetic leather outer layer, it doesn’t hinder the performance of the glove and they can be broken in as quick as other nylon/canvas covered gloves, however, the T-70 is likely to last you longer than a nylon/canvas lined glove. The biggest thing for me has been the palm of the gloves. It is incredibly durable and comfortable to wear.  Additionally it adds an element of grip to stick, so you can be safe in the knowledge that your stick won’t just slide off your hands.

 

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The glove’s cuff provides good level of protection

The Sher-Wood T-70 gloves are an ideal glove for an active player, offering pro level features and comfort. If the 4-Roll look and feel is what you’re after, we suggest you give the Sher-Wood T-70s a good hard look in your selection process.

 

 

 

Pros:

·         Quick to break in

·         Provides great levels of protection on the backhand

·         Customisable thumb protection

·         Palm liner is extremely durable

·         Don’t feel stiff after gloves dry

·         Cool 4-roll look

Cons:

·         Inside felt liner can make glove feel too hot/weakens ventilation

  • Can feel too grippy when first using with a grip coated stick.

You can buy these gloves and other hockey equipment from Nekoti Hockey, by clicking the image below

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As I sat down for Christmas dinner a few days ago, I had an interesting conversation with some of the elder relatives. My injury history is storied and I was asked the question of “Why do you still play?”

 

I wish that question was easy to answer. However, during this conversation I had a chat about the elder relatives’ career in another contact sport, which I think is even more brutal and demanding than hockey (physically). Where we have been fortunate to both have had great experiences in sports, but one thing that transpired that the reason we play was relatively common.

 

For guys there are many reasons why they play hockey. It can be that they enjoy the game and want to spend some time in a team environment and hangout with guys, exercise and getting fitter, or winning (or a combination of all of the above). What drives me to play hockey is hunger to win. If I didn’t feel hungry to win, I doubt that I would put in the effort and I would seek out something else.

 

I’ve been fortunate enough to play on teams that have won a couple of championships in different leagues and countries, but I still have that same hunger for some more. There simply quite isn’t another feeling that comes close to achieving your goal and winning. (Well there are a few, but this isn’t that type of blog people)

 

Winning is a moment that is shared by players, whether it is the culmination of a weeks work in training to get the win in your next match, or the ultimate pay-off at season’s end. If it is a championship you celebrate, the trophy is a nice thing to have as a reminder of that unbelievable feeling at the end, when all of the sweat and hours you’ve spent away from home have finally paid off. I actually feel quite sad for making this reference, but winning is one of the best highs you can experience.

 

Where it has been a few years since I’ve won a championship or something big, I want to win something before my time is done within the sport (Not for a while yet, but nothing is a guarantee in hockey). The something big might not be the Stanley Cup as that ship has sailed a long long time ago, but I am hungry to win. Every game, every shift. Like I said, if I didn’t want to win, why would I turn up. If I didn’t want to win, I’d stay at home and knit.

 

But what big do I want to win. As for me, in my own little microcosm, it would be unbelievable to win the NIHL title, even Div 2 south would be a big thing for me in the microcosm of hockey. I want to be able to have that feeling again.

 

Winning takes a lot of work and you have to stay hungry for it. In Finnish there is a saying of “Nalka kasvaa syodessa” (Loosely translates into: The hunger grows as you eat) and I think it’s a pretty apt description of what I feel now. After winning 3 games straight, I feel the hunger for more wins growing.

 

That is why we play; In an effort to satisfy the hunger for at least a little bit. 

 

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As traditionally us Finns celebrate Christmas today (Turku declared Christmas peace/Joulurauha at 10:00 GMT today), I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all my readers and sponsors for the past year. 2012 has seen the blog grow as it has done. We have published more reviews and have a pipeline of more to come. We have been critical of the NHL lockout as a long-time fan of the league and we have tried to examine the damage it has had to its brand. We have talked about concussions and of my own games and experiences in the world of hockey.

 

What initially started as a bit of fun and as an online game diary has grown into something that thousands upon thousands of people read. Did not expect that would ever happen, but here we are. There are some plans that we are looking to do in the new year and a few things that I want to try out with the blog, including more guest writers and perhaps try and incorporate some video content as well, that is if people want to see my ugly mug.

 

From the team point of view, I’d like to wish all my team mates and our fans and supporters in Bristol and abroad a great festive season. Look forward to seeing you all in January. 

 

Either way, I wanted to thank you all for the past 12 months and wish you a Merry Christmas and a successful new year 2013

 

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