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JR Boucicaut

TRUE A6.0 SBP (2018) - clarkiestooth

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Long Term Review of the True Hockey A6.0 SBP (new 2018 version)

Disclosure: A sincere thanks to JR for making this review happen and to True Hockey for supplying the reviewed stick.  I've done many technical reviews in my professional life and understand that for a review to have value, it must be balanced and not influenced by any other factors. To that extent, I read no marketing copy or ads on the A6.0 SBP until after I had used the stick three times in order to form my own opinion. All I knew was that I was receiving a new True stick for testing. 

About me: ex NCAA college player, current A level player, age 55, 5'10.5", 168 pounds.  Currently playing 3x per week, with a plan of using the review stick every skate until April's US Adult Nationals (50+, Tier 1)

The Review Stick:  True Hockey A6.0 SBP, Marner TC-2, Lie 6, Flex 85

 

Initial Impressions:

   I received the stick 2 days before the official release date of 3/15/2018. My previous experience with True consisted of 2 sticks: an old Combat 52CALr and a True A5.2 SBP.  Both were pro stock Vrbata pattern. I still have both and can compare them with the new A6.0. 

   When I removed the new A6.0 from the box, it struck me as light. But then again, all top level sticks are light. After trimming the required couple inches off the handle, it weighed in at 407 grams, which was in line with the CCM Ribcor Reckoner and Ultra Tacks I currently had in rotation. For me, the feel of the shaft is important. It is the only contact point between you and the stick. Everything you feel comes through this contact point. That's why I love the feel of the CCM Reckoner. The True A6.0 is a great feeling stick, even better than the CCM. The A6.0 has  nice rounded edges, and a perfect amount of concavity. When compared to the older A5.2 previously used, the new A6.0  is rounder, a bit more concaved, and has a much more natural feel. The new grip surface is improved as well, adding grip to improve feel but not as sticky as previous versions. 

   As for graphics, everyone can draw their own opinion, but I like the subtle carbon/silver look with the blue back edge. The A6.0 looks all business and fits in with any uniform. CCM graphics design team, please take note :).

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Initial ON ICE Impression:

After taping up, I fooled around with a Swedish ball in the dressing room. The feeling I had was of a much lighter stick than I was accustomed. My hands felt a bit quicker. When I hit the ice, my first thoughts were that I liked the feel of the puck and the puck had good jump off the blade as I dinged a couple off the cross bar warming up ( it's the first ice slot in the morning, so I get there early so I can get 10 minutes by myself. Don't know why others don't do this!).

The 85 Flex seemed play a little stiffer than the CCM 85 flex. I think it can be attributed to the CCMs I use being low kick point sticks, while I believe the True A6.0 is a dual or mid kick. ( As I said initially, it did not read the marketing copy, this is my actual experience). The A6.0 has a powerful feel to it, and rewards you with nice accuracy as well when ripping slap shots. In this flex, I could fire hard accurate snappers, but it won't shoot by itself. It rewards proper form with harder, more accurate shots. But if you like a wippy stick that shoots on its own, you may want to look for a different model, or at lest a lighter flex. 

As for durability, I tend carry the puck a lot and am thus chopped/slashed/ hacked quite a bit. The A6.0 is, after three 90 minute scrimmages, the most durable one piece stick I've used. It has taken it's fair share of wacks, hacks, jamming it into the boards to get a lazy D-man wind-around pass. Here is a look at the blade:

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The only scare occurred during the second skate. The stick developed a heavy rattle,and I feared the worst. When I pulled the end cap, it was merely an excess piece of glue/resin that had been knocked loose on the inside. Funny, it looks like a shark's tooth:

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In order to compare the True with a current CCM stick, for the third skate I brought along a previously unused Ultra Tacks twig. I was stunned. It felt to be roughly the same weight as the True when simply holding them, but when I went to use it and do an on- ice A/B comparison, it felt like a lead pipe compared to the A6.0. All science and bells&whistles aside, the difference was striking. My hands were markedly quicker with the A6.0. My initial feeling was, " I can't go back to the other stick". This difference in feel intrigued me enough to go to the True site and see what they were promoting about this stick. Sure enough, "balance" is the main feature.  I would wholeheartedly agree that this is not marketing fluff. This A6.0 feels substantially quicker than any stick I've held in my hands. 

As mentioned, my plan is to use the A6.0 SBP straight through until the Nationals (3x/week) and then follow that with another big tourney that starts the day after. So by the end of April, this twig will have it's durability tested. I'll report back throughout this period with updates and photos. Thanks for taking the time to read my review.

 

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Had the opportunity to play with the A6.0 three times this week. On Wednesday, we have the first ice of the day, so if you get there early, you can actually get a fresh sheet of ice to yourself. So with about 20 solo minutes and a bucket of pucks, I put the A6.0 through a clapper marathon, firing probably close to 300 slap shots.  This True stick has a couple of noticeable benefits in this department. The flex allowed what felt like an efficient transfer of power to the puck, as you might expect from a high end mid kick point stick.  By doing such a high rep exercise like firing a few hundred shots, one other aspect became evident with the stick: there was very little torsional rotation in shaft or hossle, resulting in noticeably better accuracy. The A6.0 did not exhibit any of the twisting feeling felt in other sticks. These properties, combined with the swing weight described in my previous post, had the A6.0 scoring high in my clapper test.

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Ok. I stated up front that my goal with this stick was to use it every time I was on the ice from the day I received it until the season ending tourneys. That totaled 6 weeks of 3x/week play, culminating in 8 games in 8 days to end this test period. That's 26 abuse sessions for the True A6.0. As you can see from the photos, the stick has held up extremely well. The shaft basically looks new. The hossle has a few scratches in the paint, but structurally no chips, nicks, etc. The blade durability really impressed me. Look at the photos. The top edge of the blade is perfect. The edge of the toe has a small chip, but it has not frayed  or grown. This is after 26 skates! The shaft flex remains crisp, maybe 1 or 2 points below the original flex. The A6.0 has passed the endurance test. I would say this is the most durable stick I've ever used. It's no secret that sticks in this high end category don't come cheap. It's comforting to know that you will extend the investment over a longer playing period. 

As for performance, the balance of the A6.0 is superb. Your hands are noticeably quicker with this stick. Playing against higher competition, stickhandling in tight traffic, this stick performs better. Period. The puck feel is excellent. I think it may be a combination of the blade and the shaft shape. Whatever it is, it works. 

That being said, this stick may not be for everyone. This mid flex point stick does not shoot by itself. It rewards the shooter with hard accurate shots when you bare down on slappers or really grip your snappers. As a forward, I try to shoot in stride with my bottom hand high in stickhandling position. I'm probably a better candidate for the HT version of this stick based on that. Also, if you play in a "no slapshot" league, the HT may be a better option.  

In summary, True has absolutely accomplished what they set out to do with the A6.0 SBP. It is simply the best feeling stick I've used, and is extremely durable. I would love to do a comparison between the A6.0 SBP and the HT. 

 

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After taking the summer off, it was back to the ice this week. I've got about a dozen sticks on the rack , but went right to the A6.0.  The return to the ice gave me a fresh chance to evaluate the stick, and to look at the biggest benefits that the twig offers. I would say the balance is the number one feature. The A6.0 just makes your hands feel that little bit quicker. It has great overall playability.  Another area that the True stands out is blade durability. I have a lot of confidence jamming the stick into the boards to corral a puck, taking face offs, etc. The edges of the blade are very durable, unlike many sticks I've used. The shaft also has maintained its stiffness after quite a bit of use.  Puck feel is also very good. I'm very pleased and would recommend the True A6.0 SBP

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