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About benson

  • Birthday 03/08/1979

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  1. That could be a good compromise. I may just order a 9/16" next order too. That's the only downside to Sparx, to try a new hollow, I have to spend $50, if I don't like it, it'll just sit there. If it was something more out there, I'd try it from a local sharpener first ($6 to try it is much more manageable). 9/16" though, it won't sit there, worst case, I'll just use it when one of the others wears out.
  2. You are probably right. I'm in Minnesota, and you can barely throw a rock without hitting a place that will sharpen skates though. For our local tournaments (as in the ones hosted by the association my son plays in), you can get your skates sharpened right down the street at the local skate shop (which also does a dropbox at the community center if you have the time for it). Many rinks or community centers also sharpen, though our community center does not, the other rink in town does (and a lot of people swear by their sharpening). Same for all the neighboring communities. Because every youth association hosts a tournament around here, it's pretty easy to find a shop that sharpens skates around, or you are going home and can use your local shop, rink, or home sharpener. For the out of town tournaments, I absolutely see the appeal. Who knows what the local shops are like or where they are. My son's team is going to Fargo for the big Squirt International. There are 80 teams there for the B1 tournament, so having our own sharpener will be nice. Not having to wait for the local shops, or guessing as to quality will be worth the money. Our high school team hadn't hosted a tournament before, they usually participate in a couple, but this is the first year of that tournament we watched. They had 2 local teams and 2 teams from up north (they are calling it the North-South Classic or something like that). It was the other local team that had the Sparx that I saw.
  3. I've had it since May 2016. When I got it, I ordered 3 extra grinding rings, 2 different sizes (1/2" and 5/8" FIRE) and an extra in the main one I use (5/8"). The 1/2" I got for my son, the 5/8" for myself, and the FIRE to give it a try. Initially I was sharpening at my usual intervals, roughly every week or 5-6 hours of ice time. I've alternated between just doing a couple passes every couple of hours of ice, to waiting a week and doing a normal sharpening (4 passes). As to the number of rings I've used, I'm on the second round of rings in each size (1/2" and 5/8"). I don't use the FIRE often, I have a second set of blades that I sharpen with that, but just don't use them often. And I may switch my son to 5/8", we tried his last sharpening in that and he liked it. No issues at all. Easy to use, and we've liked the sharpenings we've gotten with it. Based on the manual, I've probably got to change the air filter soon, but haven't had the warning light turn on yet. I will probably order one with my next ring order just to make sure I have it.
  4. I've had a Sparx since the Kickstarter as well, it's been good for me. I sharpen my skates and my son's skates. I coach his squirt team, but I haven't mentioned that we have a sharpener to anyone. This last weekend, my son's team played before the varsity team played (they were hosting a tournament), so we hung out to watch them. One of the other teams in the tournament happened to have a Sparx in the locker room hallway, so I asked them how they liked it. They said it was great, they can get a quick touch-up on everyone's skates before games or between periods as needed. They would endorse it highly. Just thought I'd mention it, I hadn't seen a team use one before. Pretty cool that they can bring it with and sharpen skates like that on the road. My son has his first travel tournament this year (first year of squirts), so we'll be bringing the Sparx along.
  5. Thank you for sharing, I know how difficult that can be. I am wishing you both good luck and a quick recovery!
  6. benson

    Reebok 11k Helmet

    Background: I have had this helmet since 2012, consider this a really long-term review. I play 1-2 games a week and coach youth hockey 3-5 times a week. When I play, I use the cage that came with the combo, when I coach, I take off the cage. I'm reviewing this now because I am starting to shop for a new helmet and I've really liked this one. Fit: My helmet is a size Large, I have a large head. I also have a more round shaped head, so some helmets don't fit me as well. This one works well with the micro-dial system, I can snug it a little if needed. The padding is still soft to the touch, and it fits great. This has been a very comfortable helmet. Protection: Having this helmet for 4 years, it has seen some action. While I play in no-check leagues, there are still hits and it's been fine. The cage has taken many sticks and pucks to it with no issues. I haven't had any issue with the protection of this helmet at all. Weight: If feels average in weight, the cage is a little lighter than others. Overall, it is well balanced. Durability: I've had this helmet for 4 years with no issues. Due to removing and replacing the cage several times a week, the screws are starting to wear a little bit, but overall, it's fine. No cracks, no rusty screws or metal bits, it's been very durable! I have had a couple of times the micro-dial seemed to have been re-set on me while in the bag (hit by something else in the bag maybe), but a quick spin and it's loose, throw it on and tighten it back up. Intangibles: When this helmet came out, there were tons of options for the colors and you could get it with or without a cage. I opted for black/black and with the cage. The league I play in requires all players on a team to have matching color breezers (pants for you non-Minnesotans) and helmets, so black is what our team uses. Again, the micro-dial is great for getting a good fit. It doesn't always stay in place, but it's easy enough to adjust. Conclusion: This has been a great helmet. I'm reviewing it now as I'm starting to shop for a new helmet so I don't have to remove/replace the cage constantly. I will continue to use this helmet for playing or coaching, just not for both. Final score: 10/10, would buy again.
  7. benson

    STX Stallion 500

    Background: I am 5'10", 195 lbs, I play 1-2 times a week, and coach youth hockey 3-5 times a week. I play in a competitive men's league over the winter in Minnesota, then play in spring/summer leagues. I alternate between using an X88 and X92 style curve on my sticks. It usually depends on the flex and overall feel of the stick to determine which I like better. In this case, the X88 was great. The stick is a 75 flex with the X88 curve. I typically go with an 85 flex, but I wanted to try something a little more flexible when I bought this one. Blade: This wasn't my first, nor will it be my last X88 curve. It matches up well with other brands' curves in that pattern (I currently have a CCM Ribcore in that pattern as well). We'll get into more details in the shooting and stickhandling sections below. Shaft/Flex: The Stallion is more of a mid-flex shaft. I typically use the low kickpoint shafts like the Bauer Vapor, etc. However, this stick got me back to liking the mid kickpoint. Snap and slapshots came off with power, and wristshots have plenty of power as well. With the 75 flex, I could feel the stick load easily. The downside to the flex is that I feel it flex when receiving hard passes. That feels odd to me, and I occasionally have a hard time controlling the puck then. Overall, the 75 flex isn't for me in this stick, but I still liked the stick. Stickhandling/Receiving Passes: The blade controlled the puck well, stickhandling is no issue with this stick. Receiving passes though, the 75 flex would sometimes flex when receiving a hard pass. When the shaft flexes and I'm not expecting it, I could have trouble controlling the puck. Once I figured it out, I did try to catch passes closer to the heel, but it could still happen. Shooting: This is a good shooting stick. Snap and slapshots were easy and smooth. The kickpoint of this stick make those feel natural. Wristshots had plenty of power, I could feel the shaft load up easily. Weight and balance: Pretty light, and well-balanced as well. This stick isn't as light as the lightest sticks out there, but it is close enough. The balance feels great. I really like the feel of this stick. Durability: The downside, I used this stick for about 6 months before it broke. Not that it was used any harder than other sticks I use, but I blocked a shot with it, and that broke a chunk off on the inside of the stick. It didn't take long after that before it started to crack and finally broke. Intangibles: It's a nice looking stick. Personally, I like the all black with yellow graphics. High contrast, and you know what you are looking at. Some of the other brands are less distinct, this is a pretty distinctive look. Conclusion: Nice overall stick, if I were to buy it again, I'd get an 85 flex and probably go with the X92 curve. I'm not likely to buy one again though simply due to worries about durability. I've used plenty of other sticks that lasted longer than the STX did taking more slashes and blocked shots. Final score: 5/10, decent stick with durability worries in my mind.
  8. I'm looking at it as an easy way to get my weekly sharpening in, and my son's about every three weeks sharpening. Plus, I'll be able to relatively easily change ROH as needed or desired. I currently rotate two sets of runners, since I don't always have the time to take a set in to get it sharpened, this should actually cut that down, and I could just use one and have the other set as an emergency backup. I'll still use my local shops for other stuff and probably yearly or twice a year sharpenings. I backed it early on as I think it was made for people like me.
  9. I have a kind of basic question, how do the grinding wheels work? From what I see on the site, it doesn't mention how they maintain the correct ROH. How do they retain the correct ROH over the life of the wheel? If they are a consumable item, one would assume they wear down over time. Is there something that notifies the user that the wheel needs replacement? And lastly, if one backs the sharpener and gets one grinding wheel with it, how would one order more (say they want a couple ROH for different people in the household, in my case, my son and myself)? Good luck on the Kickstarter! I hope it gets fully funded. I may make it to the Let's Play Hockey Expo tomorrow, if I do, I'll stop by and check it out.
  10. Funny, I just came looking for info on those as well. I just got the email from Total Hockey, and usually I read something here before I see something new in an email.
  11. On the sharpeners, I found an X01 with several of the spinners I'd use (1/2", 90/75, and 100/50), a case, and a few other extras like an extra wheel for a little less than a new X01 by itself. I might just jump on that due to the price. Like someone else asked, is the bat gauge ok, easy enough to use? I read the thread about the various checkers, and I seem to remember the BR100 or something like that was the favorite. Some people also say a quarter is good enough. Thanks again everyone for the info!
  12. Yeah, I don't actually use FBV but I'd like the option to try it. I actually planned on going to my LHS to try it out this weekend. I figured that would help me to figure out if I need it at all or if ROH is fine.
  13. How so? Which skate holder is better? Thank you for the feedback!
  14. The guy at Wissota told me full size, which is one reason I am leaning toward it.
  15. I am still a little torn. I am between the X01 and Wissota with the Universal Dresser. The Blademaster would just be too much money to get into with the form dresser. Though if I only wanted ROH, it would be great. I've talked to a guy at Wissota and I am kind of leaning that way now particularly because I can go pick it up and they'll show me the ins, outs, and what-have-yous.
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