Model: Winnwell AMP 700
Curve: PS124, similar to the Drury curve
Where to buy: http://nekoti.co.uk/hockey-sticks/winnwell-hockey-stick/hockey-stick-amp700 (if you register your account and use virtanen as agent password, you will get a 20% discount on the stick)
Price: from £92,82, CAD$129.99
We have not tested a Winnwell stick before and the sticks were quite new to us. Whenever we usually look through sticks back home (Finland) Winnwell is not a name that many retailers carry. We recently looked at the Winnwell Pro-Stock elbow pads and are confident that the guys at Winnwell know what they are doing.
The AMP 700 stick, which retails at sub £100/€120 is a quite a nice stick. The stick features a 50/50 blend of carbon fibre and fibreglass to provide durability. The stick also features a 12k carbon skin, which gives the stick a lot of durability.
The graphics on the stick look quite flashy. Like with some of the other manufacturers of late (CCM and Easton) using full white sticks, the Winnwell AMP range fits into the mould quite well. Personally, we’re not sure whether a white stick is the way forward or not, but it does stand out from the crowd and has a certain appeal.
On the blade, Winnwell have left a ‘performance zone’, which is a cut through to the carbon weave of the blade. Winnwell says that this is done to enable players to identify the best performance spots of the blade and where to get good shots off.
After a couple of times on the ice, and a fair few slashes to the shaft, we were surprised to find that the paint coating on the stick is actually quite thick, but reassuringly underneath the paint, you can see the carbon fibre, so you are safe to know.
On the hands
The AMP 700 is slightly heavier than some of the other sticks we have tested, but not as heavy as the 2012 version of Sher-Wood’s T70 stick. The weight of the Winnwell stick is in the range of 545 grams (per manufacturer specification), so it is slightly heavier than other sticks we’ve played with, but by far not the heaviest. In terms of weight if you were to pick something like a CCM C300, or Easton Mako M5 you’d have the Winnwell AMP 700’s weight. However, the weight isn’t too cumbersome that you feel that you are dragging the stick through shots.
The stick has a concaved walls to it and features a grip surface and a “trigger grip” technology along the flex zone of the shaft. What is the trigger grip technology? It is basically small raised square bumps on the surface of the shaft (similar to what is found on the Sher-Wood T-100 sticks). Personally we have not seen any benefit or drawbacks of the technology through the glove and would have maybe preferred a clear shaft. Additionally the shaft is slightly concaved in the middle to provide a more natural feel on the shaft, much like we have seen on some Bauer and Easton sticks of late.
When we first took the stick to the ice, the thing that surprised us was the pop you’re able to get into your shots. Specially wrist and snap shots came off the blade quite handsomely and it seemed like you didn’t need much effort in loading the shaft either, which was a huge surprise given that the stick weighs slightly more than some of the high end sticks.
The stick features a spear construction, which means that the shaft runs all the way to the heel of the blade, meaning you get better performance when it comes to loading. Additionally this construction provides more durability as the blade is not joined to the shaft midway through the flex zone, which often weakens construction of a stick.
The blade has a foam core built into it and it provides a good level of feel for the puck. You don’t need to spend time with head down wondering if the puck is on your blade as you can feel it on the hands. Additionally the blade feels quite rigid, so you have confidence to take slap shots, without having to worry that the blade gives way too much.
The shaft and the blade look like they will maintain their rigidity throughout the life of the stick. On some sticks you will notice that the blade will start giving first, but according to independent tests, the AMP 700 will maintain its shot speed throughout the life of the stick.
The Winnwell AMP 700 is a stylish piece of equipment and provides great bang for your buck. The range has a huge collection of blade patterns so you should be able to find something to appease your tastes. Performance wise, you will be able to get a top of the range performance with less than £100 worth of investment into a stick, which is rare these days. Having not used Winnwell sticks before and having had a view that the gear would be cheap and break, but Winnwell have made a great first impression and we would thoroughly recommend this stick.
It looks fashionable (if that is your thing), but when you drill down to the specifics and start playing around with it, the stick delivers great value for money in terms of durability. It’s weird, a brand of stick that we have never tested before has performed to the degree that we have real difficulty with finding anything wrong with it. Winnwell have taken the stick to a company called Hockey Robotics to test, where literally a robot shoots pucks till the stick breaks and the AMP 700 scored quite handsomely. Winnwell is clearly confident of its product and it should put your mind at ease if you’re thinking of buying the AMP 700 but are worried it might not be up to scratch. Trust us it performs just as well, if not better than some of the others.
If we had an official seal of approval the AMP 700 would definitely get one. It has been a long time that we have been this positively surprised by a ‘smaller’ manufacturers stick. The Winnwell AMP 700 is right up there with the bigger brands.
Durable stick at sub £100
Provides good pop
Durable blade and shaft, but still easy to load
Concaved walls on the shaft
Extensive range of blade patterns
Heavy – 545 grams
Trigger grip technology doesn’t really provide any noticeable benefit