Calgary hockey dads facing stiff competition with new stick
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Three hockey dads are looking to score big with a new, more flexible hockey stick they claim will help amateur players develop.
Calgary-based company Raven Hockey was born in 2007 out of Sean Reily’s search for a better stick for his boy, Jack.
Back then Jack was seven-years-old, weighed 45 lbs. and had a lanky build.
Like many youngsters who outgrow their youth-sized lumber, Jack was equipped with a mid-priced junior stick that had seven inches lobbed off the top of it.
Modifying the stick made the shaft too firm for even some NHL stars.
“His 55 flex turned into an 85 flex,” Reily said. “Alex Ovechkin is 225 pounds, built like a Neanderthal, and he had a more flexible stick than my son at seven years old.
“That was the problem.”
After developing some more bendable prototypes, Reily and a neighbour teamed up with sports researchers at the University of Calgary. It lead to what’s billed as a first-of-its-kind research project using players aged five to eight years old.
That’s also where the duo discovered a third partner for their venture.
The group eventually came up with a 20-flex junior stick, which falls in line with the general rule that hockey stick flex should be roughly half of the skater’s body weight.
Reily stressed the importance of buying proper equipment, saying the stiff sticks of today are encouraging kids to develop bad habits.
“They’re putting their sticks on the puck and twisting their body to flick it,” he said.
The concept has merit to other hockey parents.
Coach Chad Taylor conceded his 10-year-old son is using a cut-down stick that was actually given away at a hockey tournament.
The results aren’t exactly inspiring.
“He likes to take slapshots and he can’t raise the puck. It’s very frustrating for him,” said Taylor, who was reached independently of the company.
- The first Raven Flex20 hockey stick went on sale at Professional Skate Service on May 20th and sold out in three days, according to the entrepreneurs.
- The stick is marketed as a higher-end product and retails for $99.99.
- At 280g, it’s promoted as one of the lightest junior sticks on the market. Other models are in the works.