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Verber Vara Pro 87 Flex PM44 Stick History: Sherwood 9950 Wood Coffey, Bauer Supreme (Sport Chek SMU) Kane, Sherwood T70 Stastny, Winwell GX8, Easton RS Parise, Warrior AK27 , Warrior DT1LT Pavelski, Warrior DT1ST Grandlund, Verbero PM44, Sherwood Rekker EK60 PP26 Stick Info: Height: uncut Weight: 438 Grams used (paint chips) Grip: No Shaft: Glossy Blade Length: Usage: 6 Months Personal Details: Male, 6'3", 210lbs, 24 years old. Adult B-level. About me: I played hockey my life as a goalie and about 4 years ago I decided I wanted more ice time and that I wanted to skate out as a player. I had no idea what kind of stick I liked as well as what curve I liked and what flex, this was all new to me and my shot was terrible to begin with as expected. Since then I have obviously gotten better and stronger but I am still figuring out what curve/length/flex that I prefer. Review Details: I have used this stick for about 4 months as my primary stick but would end up switching to a longer or different stick here and there. It has about 4 months of 2-3 times a week use. Preface: I got this stick free just like the Vara Pro gloves in my earlier review. I was given these to use and create a review for these products. The reason this review took so long to come out is I wasn’t sure if I wasn’t used to midkick sticks and wanted to ensure the review wasn’t hampered by an issue with my playing style. I told Verbero to send me an 87 flex in an curve with non-grip shaft as I really don’t love grip sticks. I’ve found 87 flex to be a sweet spot for me for certain brands but too flexible in others (eg Warrior) so I figured I’d give 87 a shot here. Grip: While I don’t like grip sticks I have found that I like matte finished sticks. My EK60, Mako and RS sticks all have a matte non-grip finish, which to me gives the stick a high quality feeling and gives a little bit of grip compared to a glossy shaft. Verbero states this stick is offered in a Matte non-grip finish, but I would argue that it is a glossy non-grip. Of my previous sticks the low end Bauer supreme is the only thing similar to the glossy finish that this stick has. To me this feels extremely cheap, which is completely personal preference but the matte painted sticks just have a higher quality feel to them. While the glossy feel doesn’t hinder my performance, I would hesitate to buy the stick if it was next to a stick that uses a matte finish. 5/10 Aesthetics: Aesthetics are completely personal preference, and I have heard some negative things about Verbero’s design directly related to the glove’s plaid looking liner and that has been translated onto this stick albeit with a neutral grey/black design. I think this design looks both unique and really nice, it is understated enough to not be gaudy while also having a distinct look to it across both stick lines. I actually prefered the more white Latigo stick but the black Vara looks really nice as well. The logo is on the lower portion of the shaft and is a silver/chrome design, I actually wish this stood out more and think if it was green like it is on the blade it would make the logo stand out more while still be attractive. Like most sticks I wish manufacturers made it easier to see the curve/flex of the stick, too many times it is too high and covered by tape or too tiny and I wish Verbero made this bigger as well. I think Verbero did a great job with how the sticks look here. 9.5/10 Blade/Curve: Since I got this stick Verbero has revamped their curve chart on a couple of times and I believe this is now the V19 curve on their website. This curve is a big departure from my DT1LT and is much more neutral. My shots were no longer always going high and passing was much easier to control. The Vara Pro blade feels and plays fairly stiff, I’d say it is slightly softer than a new DT1LT but harder than my DT1LT is now, and for my time using it I haven’t noticed the blade get softer whereas my RS blade was already starting to get soft with similar time of use. With the stiff blade I can feel exactly where I receive passes and where you shoot the puck off of. Compared to the EK60 this blade is softer and feels more dampened. One of the issues I found with this blade is the length of it, it feels shorter compared to other sticks with a similar curve. In fact I handed it off to other players and I had multiple people come back to me and say “blade is not long enough” and I agree with their assessment. Too many times I ended up shooting off the toe and flubbing shots, even after 6 months I couldn’t get adjusted to it and really wished the blade was longer. Overall I liked the curve for passing and the stiffness felt great, but the blade length was too short for my liking. 7/10 Stick Handling: Since this stick is a few inches shorter than the Warrior DT1LT I had been using I was right to assume that my stick handling would improve because of the decrease in length. But one thing that was detrimental to my stick handling was the shorter blade. I would simply lose the puck off the toe because I was expecting more blade to be there. This stick is very lightweight coming in at 438 grams at the time of writing this, and that helps the stick feel very mobile in your hands when stick handling. 8/10 Shooting: Since the kick point of this kick is different than my DT1LT I figured there would be an adjustment period like it was when I used the Warrior for the first time, but I was wrong in that. I have real issues with shooting this stick, whether it be snap shots, slap shots or wrist shots the majority of shots I took felt like I could not find the sweet spot. About 1 in 10 shots felt like they exploded off the stick in the matter I was expecting with a “Performance” hockey stick, and even when I made the perfect shot everything felt slower with less pop than when I had a brand new DT1LT. At first I contributed this to not being used to the mid kick flex, then over the summer I got to try a number of mid flex sticks and instantly noticed the majority of shots coming off those being much harder with a faster release. I tested the Warrior HD1, CCM Ultra Tacks, True XCore, True 6.0 and my shots off those sticks felt ridiculously explosive next to the Vara Pro. I find it difficult where I’d equate this stick to in terms of performance/price since it is better than my low end Bauer Supreme and Sherwood T70 but my Warrior AK27 and Winwell GX8 are both too stiff for me and I haven’t used another stick around the $180 price point. With that said all of my high end sticks were considerably less than the $180 this Vara Pro sells for and a quick look around lists the Easton V9/V9E for $140 locally (both of which I feel shoot MUCH harder and better than this). When Verbero releases videos of ex-pros saying it shoots as good as the high end stick I fully expected it, but that is simply not the case here and to say I am disappointed in the shooting performance of this stick is an understatement. 5/10. Passing: With the firm blade and curve I had good experiences with passing with this stick but for long stretch passes I could feel the stick flex a bit too much for my liking. On some sticks with a lot of kick the flexing on the passing helps release the puck quicker, but with this since I never felt a strong kick the flexing of the stick never added to the pass power. Since that is always a tradeoff for sticks that aren’t extremely stiff I can’t really bring that as too much of a negative besides that it didn’t add power like my other sticks did. I did find it slightly harder to give saucer passes with this than it was in my RS or DT1ST but I was able to adjust fairly quickly. The firm blade really helps in regards to passing. 8/10 Durability: This stick has Verbero’s Durotec Resin Coating which is supposed to “High Impact DuroTec Resin Coating that produces a tougher blend for added durability.” Now I am not sure if that coating is below or above the paint but this stick has been chipping pretty significantly, more so than other high end sticks I have used for a similar period of time. The toe is a bit cracked as to be expected with pucks, skates and boards being jammed up against it, but the bottom of the blade itself is where the durability of this stick really shows. The top layer of the blade is cracked and can be pulled completely off, the crack also goes deeper than the paint and I feel the structural integrity of the carbon fibre is mostly gone. With that said the blade hasn’t felt softer when I use it but the results so far have not been promising or give me confidence in this stick. I can’t comment on the stick losing its kick like my DT1LT since this stick never felt like it had a kick to begin with. 6/10 Feel: This stick is advertised as being extremely lightweight and that is one of the first comments everyone has with it, Verbero did make a stick that feels almost featherless and when you put it in your hands it feels lighter or very close to sticks that actually weigh less. The reason being is the balance of this stick where the blade feels like it is non-existent. With other lightweight sticks (EK60) I can always tell where my blade is because the stick feels like it is heavier at the blade. With the Verbero the blade feels so light that when skating it really felt I was using a stick with no blade at all, which takes some getting used to and personally I like how the EK60 feels compared to this (my Easton RS also felt like the Vara Pro in where the blade feels basically non-existent). Now puck handling the stick feels good since I don’t feel the blade is very dampened and you always know where the puck when stick handling or shooting. 7.5/10 Closing: I tried to use this stick as my goto for many months and frankly was really happy when I finally put it away for good. I honestly can’t remember scoring a goal because of an absolutely perfect shot or even creating an opportunity for a goal on a perfect shot. Now I am no goal scorer but I am pretty good at getting fast and low shots off from the point that either make it to the net or are very easily tipped by a forward in front. With the Vara Pro 9/10 times I felt like I didn’t get all of the shot and I wished I was back to using my used and abused DT1LT. In fact during my leagues playoffs I ended up retiring this stick for good as I didn’t want to feel like I could’ve done something better with a different piece of equipment that was sitting on the bench. Now to be 100% transparent I did not pay for this stick, with that said at $179.99 USD I cannot even come close to recommending this stick. The only sticks I have used that this out performed are $60 price point sticks. Needless to say I am extremely disappointed with the performance in this stick. Overall Score: Price I paid ($0): 6/10. Retail ($179.99) 4/10
Background: 31 years old / 5’11 / 215lbs / left-handed Men's div B/C and shinny hockey (former minor league rep team player) On ice ~5 hours a week Previous sticks (2yrs): True Hockey A6.0 (TC2, 85 flex)Bauer Vapor x6.0 (P14, 87 flex)Sherwood T90 (Ryan, 85 flex)Bauer Vapor APX2 (P14, 95 flex)Bauer Nexus 600 (P14, 102 flex) *current*Easton RS (E7, 85 flex) *current*Stick being reviewed: Bauer Vapor APX2 (P14, 95 flex)Blade 9/10 I'm a huge fan of the P14 (Toews) curve, and I actually had a bit of difficulty finding this stick in the P14 in my area. The blade has a slight tactile coating on it. I found that it was super easy to tape, held the tape and that the tape job seemed more durable. The blade itself has pretty good puck feel. When I first started using the stick, it was a bit "pingy" and a bit too reactive for my liking, but I got used to it over time. The entire length of the blade seems fairly responsive. Shots come off any part of the blade with not much issue. The blade itself held up well, and I didn't have any problems. Shaft/Flex 7/10 I went with a 95-flex in this stick, mainly because I wasn't able to find an 87-flex. I found the stick to be a bit stiffer than I'd expect a 95-flex, but not to detriment. The stick kept this flex/stiffness until it snapped, on the shaft. The grip was a bit "grippy" for my liking, but decreased over usage. Stickhandling/receiving passes 9/10 As mentioned in the blade category, the stick felt a bit "pingy" when stickhandling and passing. It was something I had to get used to. The stick is definitely "lively" in your hands. Overall, I felt that my passes were on the money, and my stickhandling was no better nor worse than when using other sticks. Shooting 9/10 When I first got the stick, I struggled a bit with the 95-flex. I found wrist shots a bit hard to get high and on-target. This quickly faded as I got a feel for the stick and the flex-point. The slapshots were great right out of the gate. Shooting remained crisp and lively right until the end. There was no degredation in performance (which may not be fair to say in context of this review as this stick snapped quite fast for me). Weight and balance 10/10 A light and well-balanced stick. Nothing to fault here, only praise. This stick feels amazing in your hands. You can tell they put some extra thought and design into ensuring it was a performer in this category. I don't think I've used a stick that's felt quite this light. Durability 2/10 In my opinion, this is where this stick fell completely flat. I received my True A6.0 for a LTR shortly after getting this stick, so my APX2 was used only as a back-up for the 2-3 months while I used my LTR stick exclusively. I'd say that I maybe used the APX2 for a maximum of 10 hours on ice, it was only taped once, and it showed no signs of abuse, damage, or war-wounds. The stick broke/exploded on the lower shaft during a shot. There was no incident, slash or event leading up to the explosion, it just went. Disappointing indeed when considered with the intangibles below. Intangibles N/A I struggled with where to put this information, because while it doesn't really affect the performance of the stick, people buy grip sticks for a reason. The red graphics (and grip coating over these areas) all over the shaft of this stick started peeling off immediately and continued until every bit of red (and grip over these areas) was gone from the stick, which I found weird. The rep said that there were some production issues with the paint that led to this problem, but that it wasn't a warranty issue because it wasn't structural. I found this fairly unacceptable for a $300 top-of-the-line stick. Conclusion (46/60 = 77%) Maybe I got a defective twig, but the rep didn't agree, and in the end I think there's far better sticks in this price-range. A $300 stick that loses all of its red graphics and blows up after less than 10 hours on the ice is not acceptable, especially from Bauer. In all other areas I felt this stick was a major competitor, but durability is a big factor. This stick fell flat here. Had the stick lasted more than a handful of games, perhaps I would have rated it much better. In the end, this one didn't sit well with me and has led me to explore other brands.
Easton Mako 2012 model, no grip Flex: 85 Curve: Getzlaf Height: 5'-9" Weight: 200 Postition: D/C B level Adult Hockey player with 20 years experience Time-frame of use: 3 months Aesthetics: I was pleased with the white appearance and subtle graphics. The white paint does chip easily though, revealing the black carbon below. N/A Weight and Balance: My previous two sticks were Warrior Dynasty and a Totalone LE. I found the Mako felt noticeably heavier than both. Not so much as to be bothersome, but noticeable nonetheless. 8.5/10 Blade: I really enjoy the Getzlaf curve and the blade has good feel. I don't find it too hard, and don't have an issues recieving passes with it. It has been durable, and remained consistent after 40+ games. 10/10 Shaft/Flex: Coming from a 77 flex Totalone I was suprised by the sticks flex. This stick feels far whippier than the Totalone, and really took some getting used to. I eventually cut the stick down an additional two inches. For reference this puts the butt end of the stick at the bottom of my chin *without* skates on. I ended up enjoying the shorter stick, however if I couldn't have adjusted it would have been a deal breaker. Even so, if I was to purchase another I would move up to a higher flex rating. I may end up cutting it down further and trying a wood plug. The shaft is nice and responsive though, providing great feel and feedback. 8.5/10 Stickhandling and Passing: Passing is accurate and predictable. However the increased flex can cause the puck to pass under the blade when reaching far for an errant puck. 9/10 Shooting: Snap shots are crisp, accurate, and hard. Compared to the Totalone and Dynasty, slapshots and clappers are not as strong. The puck also releases lower than the Dynasty, which had a similar curve. 9/10 Durability: After 40+ games the stick is holding up great. Cosmetic chips to the paint, nothing else to note. For reference, my Totalone broke after a year(slapshot to the shaft), however the Dynasty broke(just above the blade) after 6 weeks of use. I haven't found the stick to be deteriorating in anyway. Flex and feel remain the same. 10/10 Conclusion: I really enjoy this stick, but wish I had purchased a stiffer flex. I will probably try something different next, but recommend it to anyone in the market. 9/10