Photo: flyzipper/flickrEngineering a better hockey stick Canadian University Press April 1, 2014 12:00 am Sports & Health MIKE SPECHT The Lance (University of Windsor) WINDSOR (CUP) — There’s a new player when it comes to hockey equipment. Since their induction into professional hockey in 1999, composite sticks have taken flack for their high occurrence of breakage. Enter Colt Hockey, a Toronto-based company which — with the help of aerospace and medical supplies manufacturer Integran Technologies — created the Colt. In their 15 years on the market, no company has been able to balance the high performance of the composite with the durability of a wooden stick. Though they offer massive benefits in terms of performance because of their light weight and low flex point, they break at an exponential rate compared to the wooden sticks of the previous generation. The Colt is constructed with a material not yet seen in hockey that allows it to demonstrate the same strength as industrial steel, while maintaining the lightweight flexibility of the current composites. According to their website, a Colt can withstand 397 pounds of force, compared to the 263.5 pounds taken by a conventional composite. In the thousands of hours put into testing the Colt, the subjects experienced none of the degradation in shaft that is common in traditional sticks. This means that the 397 pounds figure always applies to the Colt; regular composites will withstand less force through continued use. “We haven’t stopped re-engineering and looking to improve the product,” said co-founder Daniel Lucchesi. “The point is reaching the compromise between weight, performance and durability. With the Colt, what you gain in weight you gain in confidence to know that you can lean into it 100 per cent and trust that your equipment won’t fail.” Entering a market dominated by major corporations Easton, Reebok and Bauer, Lucchesi and the Colt Hockey team face an uphill battle in terms of selling their brand. Similar to a small cellphone manufacturer competing with Apple and Samsung, generally the voice that is heard is the one talking the loudest — even with an inferior product. In September of last year Colt Hockey launched a Kickstarter campaign to increase production of the Colt. By the end of fundraiser they had not only met but exceeded their $75,000 goal — proving the demand for a reliable high-performance product. “The way that we have conducted ourselves is that we genuinely want to improve the game and see players play to their full potential. Our main goal is keeping this stick Canadian and developing it for the fans and the players who have supported us so far,” Lucchesi said. Lucchesi also discussed the possibility of a partnership with National Hockey League athletes, but noted that the amount of resources needed to customize each stick to professional players specifications is not something the company would be willing to allot resources to at this time. Rather, the focus of the Colt is to continue to develop the product to be the best it can be. “We like to think that the stick speaks for itself. We want to see variety and choice, and want people to receive a better standard of equipment,” Lucchesi said.