Posts Tagged ‘review’


The brand:

The Winnwell brand is a bit of a new one to us, having not really seen much of the equipment in the European hockey stores or featured much in trade shows. In the NHL, Winnwell is perhaps more known for its gloves than other visible equipment. It does manufacture shoulder pads, sticks and shin pads.

Having done a bit of research into the company, they have been around the game since forever it seems. Winnwell has a strong pedigree in manufacturing protective equipment that has been built with the pros in mind and to pro-spec. Further research shows that some of the games’ greats have worn Winnwell equipment so the brand certainly has the pedigree behind it. However, Winnwell might not have the marketing budget of some of the other big brands, but does that hinder the quality of equipment? That’s what we are going to find out.

The equipment features:

Side profile of the Winnwell Pro-Stock Elbow Pads

Side profile of the Winnwell Pro-Stock Elbow Pads

What we have been testing is the Winnwell Pro Stock elbow pads. The elbow pads, the company says, have been built to the specifications and demands of the professional player. When you look at the gear out of the box (or bag in this instance), the elbow pads definitely have an ‘old-school’ feel to them and a look and profile that is akin to the days of the good old Jofa protective. In fact if you Google Jofa 9144 Pro Stock Elbow pads, you’ll see a striking resemblance between the two.

Where most elbow pads have gone towards a more low profile look, Winnwell has provided a protective that calls back to the good old days of hockey. The shoulder cups are actually quite deep in comparison to many other elbow pads in the market. This design ensures good strong fit for the pads. However, it can be a bit of a shock depending on what you are used to wearing. If you have been wearing some of the lower profile elbow pads, the first time you wear the Winnwell product you’ll feel a bit out of sorts to begin with, but even towards the end of our first session with these pads they felt really comfortable towards the end.

The elbow pads come with Winnwell’s clean hockey technology which is designed to keep its equipment smelling fresh. After 2 months of use on the pads, there is hardly any “hockey” scent on the elbow pads.

Breaking in and fit:

Breaking the elbow pads in was a bit of a strange experience. Out of the bag the elbow pads do feel a bit stiff, which is to be expected with any new piece of equipment. On first use the pads felt extremely comfortable, but for the first 20-30 minutes of training the elbow pads felt a bit stiff which did affect shooting and puck handling a little bit. This trend lasts probably about 3-4 training sessions before you are fully accustomed to the elbow pad. But like said above, towards the end of each of the first few sessions the pads actually feel really comfortable and you hardly notice you are wearing new pads.

Sticky material on the wrist guard helps keep the pad in place

Sticky material on the wrist guard helps keep the pad in place

As mentioned the elbow cups are a bit deeper than other elbow pads, which can take a bit longer to get used to. However, what the deeper cup has resulted in is comfort and great fit. The elbow pads come with a sticky liner on the wrist that has been designed to keep the pad in place against the compression layer. Having used both T-shirt and compression long sleeve, the elbow pads do stay in place, which is a rare feat in elbow pads. Often during a game you have to fix and alter the position of your elbow pads, but the Winnwell Pro-Stock does actually stay in place relatively well.

However, the only criticism that there is to the Winnwell Pro-Stock elbow pads is that the Velcro attachment areas could be a bit bigger to ensure a tighter fit. Despite wearing the right size, there is still a little bit of slack on the bicep area of the elbow pad.

Value for money

What the Winnwell Pro-Stock elbow pad scores big on is value for money. The elbow pad provides protection that is equal to the top of the range CCM, Reebok, Bauer or Warrior gear, but at a fraction of the cost. The graphical design isn’t something that will set the world on fire, but then again the elbow pads are under your jersey, so it doesn’t matter what they look like. The main point is that they protect your elbows and bicep.

For £45 for elbow pads you cannot go wrong. Do not let the relatively low price tag of Winnwell’s equipment fool you. It does not mean that the product is bad quality or that there’s something wrong with it, far from it. We think that this piece of equipment is where price and quality meet. You are not paying over the odds for a top of the range elbow pad and it will not leave you hanging dry. The elbow pads do not rely on any gimmicks and we have been positively surprised by them.

Durability:

winnwell3As mentioned above, the Winnwell Pro-Stock elbow pad will not break the bank, but one thing that people will question is that whether a sub £50 elbow pad will actually last or if it is going to fall to pieces after a few months use. We have had these elbow pads for almost five months in active use, but during the time there have been no faults with the equipment. The straps are still where they’re supposed to be, the elastic straps have not lost any elasticity (though this will happen over time on any piece of protective).

Despite taking a few falls and purposefully elbowing plexi glass at the rink, there are no signs that the cover of the protective cup has worn.

Conclusion:

Once the elbow pads have been fully broken in, they perform really well and equally to other top of the range elbow pads. The Winnwell Pro-Stock elbow pads hark back to the era of the good Jofa equipment. The pads are relatively lightweight compared to others. In comparison, the Winnwell Pro-Stock weighs about the same as CCM U12 elbow pads, so that’s not too bad.

We’d recommend the elbow pads for both league players, as well as recreational players who are looking for good quality protection but don’t want to spend too much money. That’s not to say that this is a beer league level pad, far from it. It can cope with the demands of the professionals, but for those that want top of the range protection, why pay over the odds.

 

Pros:

  • Great value for money
  • Durable
  • Stays in place during play
  • Comfortable
  • Great ‘old school’ feel

Cons:

  • Can take a while longer to break in than others
  • Can feel a bit bulky at first few uses
  • The Velcro strap areas could be a bit longer for tighter fit in places

 


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


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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