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JR Boucicaut

2011 Warrior Bandito

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Product: Warrior Bandito Senior, 100 flex, Kovalchuk, LH

Ht: 6'2"

Wt: 195 lbs

Generally play defence.

Just received the Warrior Bandito which is to be a mid-level stick below the Dolomite in the stick line up. Given the specs it looks like it is somewhere around the the old Hitman or Swizzle sticks in terms of placement in the lineup. Warrior lists the stick at 500 g which is some 60 g heavier than the Dolomite and the same weight as the Swizzle. Upon first holding the stick, the weight felt mostly distributed in the blade but the stick did not feel noticeably heavier than my pro-stock Dolo which surprised me somewhat considering I thought I would notice the extra 60 g ( that's about 60 pennies for visualization purposes). As I have found with Warriors ( I have two AK27 shafts and a couple of pro-stock Dolomites) the 100 flex seems to have more flex than say my Easton ST or X-60 which are rated at 100 as well. Any Easton or Bauer sticks I have rated at 100 seem to stiff for me but the 100 flex Warriors that I have seem to have a bit more give. Not sure if it is just a perception or not.....

I liked the Nipple (gad!) Grip on this stick which is exactly like the grip on the Swizzle which seems to be a combination of the grip on the 2010 Dolo mixed with a the traditional Warrior "tacky" grip. The 2010 Dolo's have a less pronounced Nipple than this stick. This grip has more defined Nipples ( really?) which mixed with the tackiness gives a nice grip if that is something you like-which I do. If you are a fan of clear sticks, this stick may have more grip than you prefer. From what I can gather from the catalogue, this stick comes only in the grip version.

The graphics are pretty plain for Warrior with a mostly black and white design with some faint purple at the top of the stick. I like these subdued graphics although the name "Bandito" and the skull image on the shaft adds some traditional Warrior flair. The Warrior logo'ed end plug is also a nice touch. (see pics).

I have yet to try this stick on the ice but hope to within the next few days. These are just my initial thoughts. One point I would like to add. I hope the fact that I know this is a mid-level stick doesn't sway my report. Ideally, we should receive sticks with no graphics, names etc so that we can judge the stick based on its performance vs its perception. I am concerned that the fact that I know this is a level below the Dolomite may sway my opinion. We'll see how it goes after some ice time. After I try it on the ice, I hope to have some information about the tech that goes into this stick. Knowing that ahead of time, again my sway me subconsciously so I will wait to try it out before I find that out. Stay tuned.

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Managed to get this stick onto the ice today for some casual shinny. I immediately liked the nipple grip on this stick which is a bit more raised than the same grip on the Dolos. It also has some tackiness and I found the grip to be solid in my hands. If you are not a fan of grip sticks, this may be too much for you.

I tried a few slapshots and snapshots during warmup. I tend to use more open patterns (Kovalev/Drury)as opposed to the Kovalchuk on the test stick and I found I had to adjust my technique somewhat to get a decent shot. Because I am still favouring my left ankle a fair bit I couldn't get the proper technique to really lean into my slapshots. They were okay, but lacked power. Also, since I tend to shoot my snapshots off my off foot (in this case, my left) I again noticed a lack of power in my shot which I again attribute to the ankle rather than the stick.

However, wrist shots are where I really noticed this stick. The stick seemed to load decently and my wrist shots were accurate and hard. Even managed to score on a wrist shot by rifling one through traffic from a sharp angle. I'm really liking this aspect and considering it is the shot I use most, this is a plus. The Kovalev pattern also makes it easier to roof them although backhands suffer somehwat. It's nice to have a big booming slapshot but if you rarely use them in a game situation what is the point beyond the obvious sex appeal of unloading them during warmups?

As far as handling passes I found the puck stayed on my blade even with hard passes. The only thing I found was that there was some "pinginess" to the blade that tended to transfer up the shaft though it didn't seem to affect my ability to accurately pass and to receive passes- it just gave a slightly dead feel to the blade. I didn't get much chance to do a great deal of stickhandling so I can't really comment on that aspect at this point.

So far so good. Not blown away but not disappointed especially given the mitigating factors (ankle, different pattern). I'm looking forward to giving this stick another go soon, hopefully with a fully functioning ankle.

One point worth considering. Since I know where this stick falls within the Warrior lineup, am I subconsciously expected a mid-range performance? It would be interesting to receive a completely blank stick void of all markings, labels etc and test it that way so that there is no bias.

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Played some more pick-up with the stick this morning. Seems I am pretty much healed up so this was the first time I could really use the stick in a normal game. I still am finding the stick doesn't seem to have as much pop as other 100 flex Warriors I have. Snapshots don't seem to pop like they do with other sticks. Wrist shots are still nice and accurate as I don't tend to load my stick when shooting wristers. I got a chance to carry the puck more this week and found that in that regard I have no complaints. The same with taking passes. Although there is still a "deadness" to the blade that you can feel up the shaft, I didn't find that it had any negative effects other than feeling different that I was used to. Just for comparison's sake, I took a couple of shifts with a 100 flex Reebok 10k I have. Sure enough, the pop I was missing with the Bandito was back and my snapshots were noticeably harder. Bear in mind we are talking about a top-end stick vs a mid-range stick so it isn't really fair to compare the two. My goal was to see if the issue was my form or the stick. Still, I used the stick for 95% of the game and, as I said, passing and stickhandling were fine. The stick also took a ton of abuse in terms of hacks etc and is holding up just fine with no visible marks or damage at this point. Still need to get used to the feel a bit.

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Had the chance to do a decent test with this stick at my favourite rink that has just opened for the season. This time of year, virtually no one shows up for the daily adult shinny and I wasn't disappointed to have the entire ice to myself for close to two hours (I balied after 1:45 due to fatigue!)

So, for my comparison I took the Bandito out for about 20 minutes and just took slapshots and snapshots. Then I took out my prostock DD Dolomite A. Kostitsyn stick and did the same to compare. Obviously, not terribly fair considering the Dolomite is a higher-end stick than the Bandito and being a pro-stock, God knows what other alterations not available on a retail stick are packed in there. Still, I thought it would be interesting to compare the two to see how the Bandito held up. I learned some interesting things about Warrior patterns.The retail Kovalchuk pattern on the Bandito is a deep curve but with a closed face and I tend to prefer a more open face like the Kovalev/Drury pattern. After several sessions with the Kovalchuk Bandito I have managed to adjust to the closed face and appreciate its ability to keep slap shots nice and low as opposed to the Kovalev which I finds makes every slapshot hit about chest-high on the goalie. This looks sexy at a stick and puck on an empty net but is easy fair for most goalies in a game situation.Still, it is nice to have some "loft' for some situations. Here's what I discovered. The A. Kostitsyn pattern is virtually identical in curve to the retail Kovalchuk BUT with a bit of a more open face-just a bit. Seems to be the perfect pattern for me. After abandoning the Kostitsyn for my Kovalevs after not being able to get a decent shot with it, I tried it now after adjusting my technique for the closed face Kovalchuk. WOW. This is my pattern. Good luck to me in finding pro-stock Kostitsyns anywhere easily. Still, an interesting tidbit.

Back to the Bandto. I have grown to like the solid feel of this stick. I can get decent slapshots and snapshots with it and absolutely wicked wrist shots. It feels durable in my hands and has taken a fair bit of abuse. In my comparison to the pro-stock Kostitsyn though, the stick felt noticeably more "dead". Shots virtually flew off the Dolomite despite the fact it was the same 100 flex. Perhaps that was the lighter weight but there was a much livelier feel to the Dolomite. Again, we are talking about two different pric-points here, but I am still confused as to why my other 100 flex Warrior sticks (shafts, actually, Two Ak-27's) seem to have the snap that the Bandito was lacking and I would guess they are a more similar price-point to the Bandito than the pro-stock Dolomite. ???

The one point I did pick up after this lengthy test session was the "pinginess" of the stick that I mentioned in earlier posts. I have done similar sessions at this rink-spending two hours just taking shots- and I have never experienced the pain in my right elbow that I did after this session. I really felt that after all that shooting with this stick, a lot of the vibrations from shooting had been transferred to my right arm (top on the stick). Obviously, the pinginess is not in my head. Not a lot of dampening going on with this stick. One caveat, no one is likely to continuously shoot for over 90 minutes in a game so this is really not a factor in choosing this stick. Rather, it just illustrates its lack of dampening. Definitely not a deal breaker, in my opinion. The testing continues.

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This stick is growing on me more every time I use it. It has taken tons of hacks and slashes and is barely showing any wear. I have used it at least twice a week for the last month and it is still holding up nicely. It has now become my "D" stick since it feels more robust that my Dolomite pro-stock. Yes, it is heavier but if feels solid and is great for digging in the corners. After some adjustment to the pattern, I find I can shoot just as well with this stick as other more expensive ones though the release is a tad slower perhaps because of the extra weight that my less than powerful wrists have to move. The pinginess in the blade is something that I have grown accustomed to so that I don't notice it unless I use a higher end stick for a shift or two. Herein lies the point. Can someone like me who plays at a fairly low level and has a mortgage and kids justify the extra performance between this stick and say , a Dolomite DD considering the price difference? Yes, the DD is a better stick but the Bandito is starting to feel like a better value for my needs. It does what I need it too almost as well as the DD which costs a fair bit more. It's growing on me.

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Stick still going strong. I use it about twice a week for games and with an extra shinny session thrown in sometimes. It is during these shinny sessions when I get tons of time to shoot with the stick and things still seem to be holding up. I play D and my stick generally gets a good beating during a game but there are no noticeable marks, or chips thus far. The grip is still maintaining itself which is a plus as I have had some experience with the grip on other sticks becoming less grippy over time. My earlier posts about my theory that the piniginess of the stick might be causing me problems can be discounted as it turns out the computer mouse is to blame. That being said, a session of shooting with this stick tends to cause the tendinitis to flare up more than with my Dolomite but that is easily attributed to the lower flex and weight of the Dolomite. I still like this stick and will continue to use it as long as I can.

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Okay, after I had a fairly in depth discussion with the Warrior rep I gleaned some interesting perspectives on this stik. Yes, I know it is just a stick but the conversation had me getting a bit philosophical. Turns out the reason this 100 flex feel stiffer than my AK-27 100 flexes is not so much an actual flex difference but, rather, a difference in how the flex feels. Apparently, with a stick such as the Bandito which is a mid price point stick (around 140 loonies) the makeup of the stick is a bunch of carbon fibre mixed with lower end fibreglass. The behaviour of the fibreglass is such that the stick may flex the same at the beginning of the loading of the stick but does not follow throw with same speed of uniformity that the purer carbon fibre would. So, while it seems the stick is stiffer it is rather the follow through that performs differently. Now, this brings me to the next point that we discussed. We talked about the value of different sticks for different people. For pros whose technique is perfect, everyone is on a fairly level playing field (rink, ice etc) and any performance gained by technology provides the edge. For many of us whose technique is far from perfect there comes a point where tech does not outweigh the advantages of proper technique. Take a $30 wood stick. Take some shots, Now, does that $300 stick improve your shot by 10 times? If not the value is not there. I suppose it all depends on how much you want to spend for a relative increase in performance. For me, I can shoot about a 4/10 with a wood stick. A top of the line stick (X-60, Dolomite, S19) might make my shot a 7/10. It's a jump but not ten times the result. A stick like the Bandito might give me a 6/10 shot in terms of power and accuracy. Considering it is around $140 that is a factor of just under 5 to give a step of two performance points. Compared to the high end sticks that render a factor of around 10 to yield a jump in performance of three points, the better value for mid level players is the mid level stick in my opinion. Not truly scientific in my approach but it made me wonder about my coveting of the highest of high end stick to improve my shot versus how much they cost. Having said all this, the Bandito seems to be a good value. Better for me than similarly priced sticks from Bauer and Easton. This is a good value stick- that is my conclusion. Durable, usable, and not far off the mark versus the higher end sticks. That all being said, having a 7/10 shot versus a 6/10 shot (and that is for someone like me with less than perfect technique) can be priceless to some who are willing to pay what it takes to add that bit more velocity to one's shot. Bottom line, if you are pinching pennies, work on your technique first and save some dough. Also, if you are not pinching pennies, work on your technique and watch your performance jump as you take advantage of the tech. Not much of a stick review but an interesting perspective on price point vs performance.

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Just a quick update. Have been using this stick regularly but not exclusively. Grip still holding up great. The entire stick is still in tact and has taken its share of abuse. Obviously pretty durable. Will keep using and let everyone know when it starts to go.

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This stick is still holding up. I'm feeling guilty I have not been posting much but I have been using this stick along with a couple of others in regular rotation. I may play twice a week but as the season comes to an end it is less and less frequent. Still, I like this stick. It outperforms any other stick in the same price point from other manufacturers that I have tried. Just letting everyone know this stick is still in business.

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Just an update. Although the shaft is still holding up after numerous whacks etc, I am thinking the blade is starting to go a bit soft. Shots don't seem as snappy as when I first got the stick. Wristers are still pretty good but slap and snap shots don't seem to come off the blade as well. Not sure if this is because I have been rotating this stick with higher end sticks and the comparison is clouding my judgement but that was the case when I first got the stick and I was impressed with the performance given that it is a mid-range stick. I'll keep chugging away with it and see how it goes. That is all for now. Next update when this sucker finally breaks.

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Blade finally broke. Cracked just at the heel after following through on an attempted deflection and whacking the goal post. Didn't hit the puck either<sigh>

This stick has lasted a good long while and I was pleased with the value of it. I love the shaft texture and have cut the broken blade off and am going to start using the shaft with a replacement tapered Reebok 11k blade (no, there was no issue of the shaft recoiling and hissing when the Reebok product was introduced :laugh: )

My final thoughts on this stick:

Value: 8/10. Mid priced stick that give decent performance and good durability. Sure there are better sticks out there but they cost a fair bit more. I have used some similarly priced Bauer sticks and they performed as well if not a bit better but , in my experience, the durability was lacking as they didn't last nearly as long as this one. For the level of hockey I play, durability is a good factor as my technique needs improvement before I will likely fully realize the benefits of a higher end stick. That is, there are guys I play with using $30 woodies who can rip the puck better than I can when using a high end stick.

Performance: 7/10. I liked the Kovalchuk pattern for wrist shots but I found this stick didn't seem to load as well as my higher end Warriors of the same flex. I'm chalking this up to the lower quality composite materials in this lower priced stick.

Durability: 9/10. Taking JR's advice, I abused this stick as much as I could in terms of normal hockey play(digging into skates with it, not being shy to glance it off a post when following through etc) and it took it. There were never any chips on the blade or shaft and the grip held up great. The blade did start to lose its snap eventually and finally failed but the shaft is still going strong and going to get some use from me.

Conclusion: I found the Bandito to be a solid product. As I used it I was always cognizant of the fact that this was a mid-level stick.I was always adding "...for a stick at this price" to most of my thoughts. For some of you out there who want the best stick from any company, this is not one for you. That seems like a statement of the obvious but I am often surprised at how some people still think they can get a Mercedes for the price of a Ford (no offence to any UAW/CAW folks). There is no free lunch. Thus, I thought overly comparing this stick to a Dolomite or other higher end Warrior would be somewhat unfair since it follows that the cheaper stick would be of lesser quality in the line. The tricky part was finding this stick's cost/performance ratio. I think it scored pretty high in this regard considering it goes for less than $150. I have a couple of $300 sticks sticks and they do perform better BUT NOT TWICE AS MUCH.Given that, the Bandito is a decent solid value. I thought it punched above its weight in many regards as mentioned in previous posts. Ultimately, it is up to personal preference around cost/performance that will make or break this stick for potential purchasers. If you are strapped for cash and in need of a new stick, you would do fine with this stick in my opinion.

Finally, I would like to thank MSH and Warrior for giving me the chance to demo this stick. I think the long term reviews are a great way to cut through all the advertising hype and give members a fairly objective analysis of new products. Now, I welcome the chance to LTR that Mercedes I mentioned above :wink:

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