By Allan Muir
It's a nightly occurrence: A prime scoring chance is lost when a player winds up for a shot only to have his stick snap like a twig on contact with the puck.
That's a tough moment for NHL stars. A game may turn on that blown opportunity. But it's even tougher on the beer-league player who has to explain to his wife why, a couple of times every season, he needs a couple hundred bucks to replace his stick.
Today's composite sticks have their advantages -- they are much lighter than the old wooden sticks, first and foremost -- but there's a clear demand for one that can be relied on to stay in one piece even after unleashing a couple bombs. And now such a stick might be just around the corner.
A Canadian company called Colt Hockey believes that it has come up with that next-gen stick by using nano-technology to create a more durable shaft. This new process doesn't come cheap, however, and they say that they need $75,000 to expand production. They're hoping the crowdfunding website Kickstarter will help make that happen.
In a video on the company's campaign page, Colt founder Daniel Lucchesi says he's been looking for a way to create sticks that are stronger than the current composite models and also cost effective.
“It’s like a warrior with their sword, there’s an attachment to it, and one of the most heartbreaking things is when your precious stick shatters on you mid-game play,” he says. (Yeah, he's a bit dramatic.) “The only way to do that is to make it so it wouldn’t wear down or break on you. You couldn’t do that with composite or fiberglass and all the previous materials, so we began the journey to find the right material and process that would let us hold onto our sticks as long as possible and fully cash in on the investments we make in our sticks.”
The sticks eventually will retail for $300, about the same as a high-end composite. So yeah, "investment" is the right term. But the risks will be a lot more palatable to the average buyer if the Colt sticks, as claimed, prove to be unbreakable under regular game conditions. The Kickstarter campaign got underway Monday and has already brought in nearly $21,000 from 129 backers. The campaign runs through October 9, so there's still time to get involved. There are opportunities to chip in as little as a buck, but commitments of at least $150 pay off with chances to get sticks at half price. A $750 commitment earns a contributor the chance to attend a shoot around with former 50-goal scorer (and trainer of NHL stars) Gary Roberts.