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Sticks - New for 2017 is the 2nd gen XCore product; the XC9 ACF. With a focus on swing weight, the XC9 ACF's balance point was tweaked to improve on that. It was lightened a bit in the shaft and blade - coming in at 415g. Their Braided Rib Tech that debuted on the A6.0 SBP last year has been added to the entire X series line. On the graphics side, the stick was given a bit more color in the upper part of the shaft. Available in all of True's patterns, however, a MC2 was added to the retail lineup. It is a xx9 clone. The stick is coming in at $279.99 USD in senior length. On the youth and junior side, the XC9 is offered in 4 different flexes; it is called the U-Flex. Comes in at 20/30/40/50 flex. The A Series is unchanged for 2017. Gloves - Unchanged for 2017. Pants - This is a new category for True for 2017, and it's an interesting take on the category. Their X-Tec Suspension protective package is in the hip and kidney pads - there is a X strap that goes across the pad on the side that sits against the body, creating a space between the body and the actual pad. Upon impact, it allows for the brunt of the impact to be dispersed, minimizing it as it carries through to the body. Here are some examples: The pant comes in two forward-canted fits, the XC9 which is a fitted pant, and the A6.0 SBP which is a classic fit. They both come with 800 denier nylon, zippers, antimicrobial liner and a 2" height adjustment system that is achieved with grommets. Also to note, the hip pads are cut differently. They are segmented for better flexion. So instead of having a single piece of curved plastic, you have a straight piece running down the pant (like goalie pants used to have) then the actual front hip pad.
About Me Height: 5’11” Weight: 215 lbs Shoots: Left While I played at a relatively competitive level growing up (Junior C and B were as high as I got), once I went off to college in my hockey career pretty much stalled. Now that I'm finishing up graduate school, have a real job, and FINALLY have my priorities straight (beer league above all else...duh!), I'm back to being on the ice at a minimum of twice each week and am back to my hockey equipment-nerd ways. I was always an Easton guy growing up as far as sticks go, but the new stuff they had put out just didn't get me fired up like their old stuff did (Stealth CNT master-race!). Wandering through the local Total Hockey, I found the new-to-me True sticks. When I picked up the A6.0, it was like magic - it was the closest thing I've felt in awhile to having that more concave-shaft with raised corners and fantastic balance that I remember from the old CNT's. I knew I was going home with one, so I didn't fight it -- I picked up a left-handed, 85 flex, HCR pattern A6.0 and high-tailed it to the rink for stick and puck. Blade - 7/10 Back when I played a lot, the Lidstrom/Getzlaf/P02 pattern was my weapon of choice. However, they didn't have any of the HCS pattern in stock, so I figured I'd go with the Drury-esq HCR and give rounded toes a try. It took a little bit of an adjustment to get used to the more wedge-like pattern as opposed to the more curve-like nature of a legitimate Lidstrom pattern, but I got used to the differences pretty quickly. In terms of the blade itself, I LOVED it. I've always been a fan of the livelier, "pingy" blades, as opposed to ones that are deadened. This had that lively feel when shooting, but seemed to be very forgiving (at least for me) in terms of stickhandling and catching passes. It's a great balance, and I love it! If it was based strictly on performance, I’d rate this blade a 10/10, however there is a definite issue with blade durability, which brings the score down. Shaft/Flex – 9/10 From the moment I picked it up, I was a fan of the shaft of this stick. I’ve always gravitate towards the grip variants of sticks, and am absolutely in love with the “matte grip” that True uses. It’s not an overly thick rubbery grip like what used to be on the original Synergy and Stealth grip variants, but it’s tacky enough to let me really bear into shots but “smooth” enough that I have no problems with my palms sticking when stickhandling or adjusting my bottom hand position for a one-timer. The shaft shape is perfect for me – it has a nice double-concave shape that feels great in my hands. My favorite shaft of all time is that of the Stealth CNT, with the over-the-top “dog-bone” shape of the massively raised corners and concave walls. This doesn’t get nearly that aggressive in terms of shape, but it’s the closest thing I’ve found when compared to most of the other sticks I’ve messed around with lately that tend to either be smaller and very rounded on the corners (i.e. Vapor 1x) or very squared off with no concavity (i.e. Supreme 1s). In terms of flex, this is right in my wheelhouse. It loads exceptionally easily, but still has a great amount of kick on shots. It loads more easily than the other stick that I’m mainly using at the moment, which is a pro-stock CCM stick with an “SV” build in 80 flex, but kicks harder on shots than that stick – I consistently shoot better with the A6.0 in all shot types. Originally I was worried that it would whip out too quickly, since it felt perfect on day 1, but that hasn’t been an issue and it still seems to kick as well as it did when I got it. I’d rate the shaft a 10/10 if it was my perfect shape, but I think a 9/10 is as good as a shaft will get for me now! Stickhandling/Receiving Passes – 10/10 In terms of stickhandling, no stick is going to make me have moves that are better than your average toddler. However, I will say that I did not notice any stickhandling woes when using this stick, so it isn’t any worse than I normally am! In terms of receiving passes, pucks just stick to the blade when I receive them. It’s really great! I was originally thinking I’d need to make sure I had very soft hands when receiving a pass, as the blade is so lively when shooting. I was pleasantly surprised – I don’t need to be nearly as gentle as I expected, which makes receiving a hard pass in traffic and holding onto it a very painless process. Shooting – 10/10 Ooooooh my. Shooting is where this thing shines for me. I’ve always had an above-average shot, especially slapshots. They absolutely FLY off of the blade of this stick. The amount of kick I feel when taking a slapshot is terrific – and it’s incredibly consistent. I also find wrist shots to be a breeze with it, as the shaft is so easy to load it takes a lot of the work out of it and lets me focus more on shot placement. I’m confident that the shot will come off hard every time, so focusing on accuracy has definitely improved my game a bit. I play defense and love raining bombs in from the point, and I’ve noticed that I get more shots through traffic to the net when using this stick – I have to believe that comes from the increased confidence I have when shooting that it will be hard enough that I can focus on picking a spot to get the puck through to the net. The release seems nice and quick as well, especially on snap shots. Again, that lively blade makes the puck just jump off with a minimal amount of force, and really lets me get shots downrange quickly. I absolutely love ripping shots with this thing. Weight and Balance – 10/10 This is the lightest, most well balanced stick I’ve ever used. Period. Original Stealth (still have one I mess around with!) – nope. CNT – nope. Vapor XXX-lite? Nope. This feels like witchcraft in my hands…I haven’t plopped those other sticks I mentioned on a scale, but fully taped up mine weighs in at 411 grams. I didn’t weigh it without tape, but I do a full heel to toe (covering the toe and cutting the excess) tape job, so it isn’t the lightest…it’s also tape, so it’s not like it’s crazy heavy. But the balance of this thing is absurd. It’s the most blade-light stick I’ve ever used, which I love…others may feel it’s too light when stickhandling, but that’s all personal preference. All I know is it feels like it shouldn’t be possible for it to feel as light as it does. Durability – 5/10 And here we come to the Achilles heel of this stick – durability. I’ve always been one to go for performance over durability, so I was never surprised when a stick didn’t last as long as a lower-tier model. But the blade on this is incredibly fragile…after only 11 sessions (5 games and 6 stick and pucks), there is a crack running vertically up the blade from the bottom up, about half way down on the front face. This is now my backup stick, as it is now only reliable for wrist shots. I can feel the blade torque open on anything heavier, and a lot of power gets lost. I really hope to get my hands on the SBP model of this stick soon, as I hear that the blade durability has improved greatly, but it was pretty terrible on the normal A6.0, which makes me sad as it’s one of my favorite sticks of all time. That said, the shaft has held up well, and if I do take a clapper it seems to kick as hard as ever…but the blade torqueing open ruins it for me. Intangibles – N/A The only realistic complaint that I have about this stick is blade durability, as the blade fell apart pretty quickly. Other than that, the only thing I can complain about is that the shaft shape isn’t available in that super aggressive raised corner layout of the Stealth CNT…but I’m not going to find that anywhere, so I can’t hold it against the stick! Also, I really like the way this stick looks – it’s understated, with the branding being mostly a charcoal grey on top of the black primary coloring, and I dig it. Using this has made me hopeful that the SBP model of the A6.0 will offer the same great performance, with a blade that holds up much better. I can’t bring myself to spend $270 on one right now to find out, but will be keeping an eye on any sales that pop up, as I feel like that could get pretty close to perfect for me! Conclusion – 8.5/10 I feel like overall, True did a great job on this stick. If they can tighten up blade durability, that would alleviate all of my realistic negative points on this stick and would have brought the score up to a 9.9/10. At the original MSRP, the blade durability issues would not let me recommend this stick to someone that has anything less than an unlimited amount of hockey funds, however at the current sale pricing of around $100/stick, I’m considering picking another one up. I’d much rather try to get into an A6.0 SBP though in order to see if the durability issues have been addressed. Overall, I did love this stick, and it has some of the best performance that I’ve found!