I need to be honest about my hockey prowess: I don’t have super-soft hands anymore, and I never had a particularly hard shot. I’m not especially clever with the puck, even though I am pretty solid positionally without it. I avoid the curl and drag like the plague and I do not shoot nearly enough.
But by some miraculous courtesy of the hockey gods, I now have Easton’s new EQ50 Control Freak hockey stick in my possession to evaluate—the same stick used by NHLers like Zach Parise and Mike Cammalleri. I feel a Wayne’s World “I’m not worthy” moment coming on.
I’m not sure if the EQ50 is meant to control my every touch of the puck, or just make me feel that I am in control of it. But Monday night at a pick-up hockey session at Tucker Road Ice Rink, the EQ50 helped me jettison my somewhat-suspect hockey skills and bring new puck-order to my life . . . if only for one night.
Was it the Kevlar wrapping, the Multi-rib and Micro-bladder blade, or the Focus Weight Technology (FWT) that made my game improve? I don’t know—probably because I don’t have a Masters degree in composite materials. The new patent-pending FWT (ahem, Bauer, best take note) described in this video for other non-scientists features a little plastic butt-end cap weighing 6.5 grams and adjustable up to 26.5 grams with four little five-gram weights. Those weights are counterbalanced by a unique weight in the blade’s heel that redistributes the stick’s mass to the impact area and adds overall controllability.
The low kick point—which most stick companies will tell you they engineered—is a factor of the twig being so light, enough to flex (even 100 flex) to a terrifying degree, and finding the sweet spot for your bottom hand. The best part is there is no whiplash on the palm that some lesser quality sticks will inflict. The balance of the stick is remarkable. Sitting it on your finger is easier than balancing a pen. Even the car salesman in the new VW Sign and Drive commercial could twirl the EQ50 in his fingers, and actually find the pen to give to his customer.
I normally use an Easton Stealth S5, and have used a CCM and the Warrior Dolomite in the past; but I have never held a more precious stick in my leathered Hulk-sized mittens than the Easton EQ50 Control Freak. The noticeable differences from my Easton S5 are the added kick on low shots, the increased puck control focused on the heel, and an exponentially harder saucer pass. I’m a passer, not a sniper… but I’m also a sniper [now], so don’t get any ideas.
There was one moment Monday night where I was about to shoot and at the crest of the windup, I was certain I was going to score – and I did – a one time slapper from the slot. I’m sure Dany Heatley feels that way almost every time he draws his EQ50 rocket launcher. This stick will help you gain confidence, from the patience that comes with knowing the puck will stay on your blade to the killer instinct of cracking bullet one-timers on an unsuspecting goalie.
Will you be surprised at how much this stick does for you? I wasn’t, because I read up and watched the official video on the groundbreaking golf club technology that Easton has integrated into EQ50. It comes as advertised and it’ll come home with you at a price—a cool $200, so not cheap—but if you do drop that much money make sure you pay the extra 10 dollars for Easton’s grip coating. It’ll change your life.
If you are at least a Virginia or Maryland A-level hockey player and take hockey very seriously, I recommend the EQ50 as a good-value buy despite the heavy price tag. To steal a line from the Gorillaz song Rhinestone Eyes: It should be part of the noise when [Christmas] comes and it’ll reverberate in [hockey fun].
They say to stick up for what you believe. I believe in this stick.