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I will update this thread as time goes along. Once again thank you to ThinkingJack and Warrior for making me a #WarriorVIP and hooking me up with this stick. I am extremely grateful and appreciate it. I've had a few people ask me about this stick so far and I feel it would be better for me to just make a quick write up about it rather than have to say the same thing over and over again. I have used the stick about 5 times so far on the ice (my league is unfortunately taking a 2 week break or else that number would be higher) and have used it on my outdoor shooting pad. Since I haven't used it enough to talk about the durability of the stick this will not be a full blown review but rather more of an initial impressions and initial performance review and because of that I will not add scores to anything but Warrior Covert QRL 100 Flex W03 Backstrom 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, Warrior Covert QRL W03 Stick Info: Height: uncut Weight: 409 Grams Grip: Yes Shaft: Gloss Length: 60 inches Usage: 5 Skates Grip: I am not a huge fan of grip sticks and most of the time prefer the non-grip and matte versions to them. With this stick I didn't have a choice in grip vs non-grip and had to go with the grip stick. I was really hoping the grip was going to be similar to my Warrior AK27 and be the velvet style, but it is more of a tacky style of grip. It does have CorTex Grip which is raised edges along the sides of the shaft which I really like. The bottom of the stick has the matte finish closer to the blade and I know I would enjoy using that style of shaft more so than this gripped version... with that said the grip certainly doesn't take away from my enjoyment of the stick and I enjoy the grip used here more than the one on CCM and Bauer sticks that I have tried before. Aesthetics: Warrior has talent when it comes to design good looking sticks that are instantly noticeable and ones you can follow the lines of lineage (Bauer Supreme does a good job at this too). I have a soft spot for orange (one reason I really liked the Sherwood EK60 design) and baby blue and Warrior does an awesome job in using those colours as accents to the black base of this stick. I really like how the bottom of the shaft is orange near the blade and I like how they use the colours to form a background of the word marks (notice how QRL and Warrior are in black with the colours surrounding them instead of just using the colours on the black stick base). I also love exposed carbon fibre weave that is on the blade and up the hosel, I personally wish this traveled all the way up the entire stick since I love that look so much. I understand why they didn't as it would make the black word marks too busy with exposed carbon fibre and the intricate designs around them. This stick looks great from any angle and is immediately noticeable that it is a Warrior Covert. Blade/Curve: Just like the grip I did not have many choices when deciding on the curve options. I choose the W03 since it was the only one available in the shaft flex I wanted. I normally prefer heel curves like the W05 Grandlund as they fit my style of play and are great for passing (which I do before shooting). With that said because of my time with the Ek60 I have gotten more used to curves that are more aggressive and I am so far getting along with this stick pretty well. The first time on the ice I had some hard passes get too much air but I have since adjusted to it. The blade itself is really nice and is very stiff which is great for puck feel and play-ability. The stiffness of the blade has a pingy and lively feel and is really noticeable when receiving a hard pass and stick handling, you always know where the blade is and where the puck is on it and I believe the stiff nature of the blade provides excellent feedback. Stick Handling: With the lightweight and lively blade stick handling with this stick has been very good. Unlike some lightweight sticks in the past I never "lose" the blade of this stick and always know where it is. The stiff blade gives me confidence when handling the puck since it gives great feedback to how the puck is actually behaving on the stick itself. The excellent balance helps the stick feel like a natural extension to your hands and never feels unwieldy. Shooting: This is the shinning point of the Warrior Covert QRL. I cannot recall a time when I felt pucks fly off of my stick as hard and as consistent as they do with this stick. Using it reminds me of the first time I used my DT1LT, except these feel even harder. With minimal effort my shots come off my stick hard with a satisfying and strong kick. I truly feel this stick is making me a better hockey player as I no longer have to worry about the mechanics of my shot to ensure I really release a rocket. I spent time on my shooting board with this and my beloved EK60 and I could really notice the difference in average shots where it felt like the Warrior Covert QRL really did most of the work for me. Out of 10 shots I felt that 9 of them left me completely satisfied without the feeling that I could get more on them, but with my EK60 only a couple out of 10 I was completely satisfied on how the puck came off the blade and ended up. To me the Warrior feels like it never leaves anything on the table and doesn't require you to make a perfect shot, it just kicks hard and launches the puck in a very satisfying manner. Slapshots feel almost dangerous with this stick for how hard they were launching to the point where I wasn't comfortable in taking them on my shooting board to ensure an errant puck off a post wouldn't damage any fences or property. Passing: I am not sure if it was the kick of the stick or the curve which was giving me some issues the 1st time I was on the ice, but a lot of my stretch passes ended up far too high for my target. I have since adjusted my passing a bit and haven't really had any issues since. While the blade isn't my idea curve for saucer passes and passing in general I am not having a difficult time passing over players sticks or cross-ice. Backhand passes will need work because of the aggressive curve but that is something I will just practice and get used to. Durability: So far everything is holding up great and the stick still feels brand new. But with its limited usage I cannot fully comment on this category yet. Feel: I mentioned the excellent and stiff blade earlier already. The balance of the stick is fantastic and it does a good job of being lightweight but still being noticeable. I never feel like the stick doesn't have a blade and always feel in total control of the stick. The lack of weight also helps with making the stick extremely mobile in terms of movement, you never feel bogged down when moving your hands or attempting to move the stick (something I feel time to time when using much heavier goalie sticks). While this stick is slightly heavier than the Sherwood EK60 I really don't notice the difference between the 2 in terms of weight. Closing: If the durability in terms of blade stiffness and shooting kick hold up this will easily be my favourite stick I have ever used. I am unbelievably happy with is so far and am really grateful Warrior and ThinkingJack having given me the opportunity to use it because I really can't get enough of it so far. The Warrior Covert QRL as it stands is the best stick I have used in terms of performance and balance, shots kick off the blade harder than anything I've used and the stiff blade is wonderful for puck control and feel. I absolutely love the carbon wrap visible in the blade. Stick comes in at a respectable 409 grams. Not the lightest stick I have used but it feels wonderfully balanced and I never notice the extra grams compared to the lighter ones. I am a big fan of the graphic package as well.
Stiffness - 100 flex Pattern – W88 Zetterberg Grip finish First Impression/Appearance 8/10 The Stick has graphics that are a good continuation of the Dynasty’s of the recent past, particularly the AX1. The scalloped cut-out graphic was tweaked, but the muted gray, black and yellow were adjusted to a white/black/red design that’s a little sharper and crisper. Warrior is continuing on their path away from outlandish designs and towards simple, powerful graphics. A serious stick for a serious player. This stick does a good job of representing the serious but still flashy MO of the Warrior brand.hose brands are on the smallish side, a step away from the ever-growing brands we’ve seen lately. Apparent even from a distance is the grip pattern, which has raised patterns across most of the shaft. While I miss Warrior’s more tactile, smooth grips which felt like a velvet finish, this sticky version is not too sticky that it feels like a hindrance as I move up and down the shaft. Blade - 9.5/10 I often find myself looking for an impossible blade, that which feels lively while stickhandling and shooting, but feels dampened on recieving passes and making smallish moves on a loose puck. It’s a paradox that never seemed possible, but since soft hands have never been my forte, I hoped instead for such an unholy union. And Warrior, with the HD1, has somehow delivered. I can be in a bad posture and flick the stick and the puck immediately gets on it’s way, seemingly all blade, and I will still feel as though I got good, solid “wood” on the puck. I noticed this a handful of times when I was in a tangle on the boards or behind the net, blindly swiping at the puck, made contact and the puck did exactly what I hoped it would. I couldn’t find a bad spot to shoot or pass from. Even my meager backhands felt true. Shooting with this blade was terrific. As I said, I loved chipping the puck with it, just getting a little piece, but I also loved unloading on it. Gone is the feeling of the blade twisting or splaying a bit, the way I felt with the QR1 after some time, or the Dolomite HD. The blade was rock solid on slapshots, snapshots and hard wristers, and it stayed true regardless of where or how I was shooting. Because of the consistent feel of the blade, my saucer passes didn’t lose anything in terms of power or height, even though I was downgrading from a W28 and P92 to the much milder Zetterberg pattern, which is somewhere between Easton’s old Heatley/Iginla and Bauer’s P88 Kane pattern. Shaft/Flex/Balance - 8/10 The shaft was very nice in that it was extremely consistent. I didn’t find myself chasing the ideal flex point like I do on many sticks. I just shot, and the shaft delivered each time. However, it did run a bit on the stiff side. I used a 100 flex, which is typically my maximum flex, and cut it down about 2 inches. I expected it to play like about a 102-104. What I got instead felt like a 110-112. Unyielding is the term I would use. While the blade “played along” with the flaws in my game, the shaft seemed to magnify them. I felt like the blade was the whole show and the shaft was too rigid to get into the action. As I grew accustomed to the shaft I really liked it’s performance, but there was simply no doubt it played to the heavy side of the flex spectrum. If you’re debating between two flexes, take the under. Durability - 10/10 I say in all my reviews that I am not tough on sticks, but apparently this is the exception. I had at least three major incidents where I thought I could have broken the HD1. Each time, I found that not only had it not failed under pressure, it had barely been marked. The first was a hard slash my first time out. I was hovering around the net on offense, and a defensive player decided to challenge me. We jostled legs and elbows, a shot headed our way, and he quickly cut down on my shaft to prevent a tip or a move for the rebound. The sound of stick-on-stick was loud enough that I immediately swore at the guy, but when the puck was cleared I leaned on the stick and it showed no signs of giving. Back at the bench I looked for a mark, even a ding, but found only some paint from the other stick. The HD1 hadn’t even been scratched. The second incident was a classic move where I jammed the blade perpendicular to the boards. I hit the boards flush to the edge of the blade and expected some crumbling, but none were found. And finally, I really did a number, as in that same first session I managed to escape a sure stick-killing moment. My blade was lodged in a gap in the boards and stuck there. I instintively let go and the play quickly cleared around it, so there wasn’t a real chance to torque the blade while it was held in place, but even so I was nervous retrieving the stick. Once again, it had stood up and take its lumps without a hint of damage. Intangibles As I’ve said, the stick made all the little plays with aplomb, and the blade just couldn’t find a situation it couldn’t handle. The blade is the best I’ve used, hands down, and with that I’m including the Bauer0ne95, which to this point was the best I’d used. HD1 tops it. Conclusion Warrior is no longer “Johnny-Come-Lately.” No longer the brand with a decent stick with a funny name or a cool graphic. Warrior has evolved in the quickest possible fashion and consistency puts an incredible product on the shelves. The Dynasty and Covert lines have only gotten better each time out, and they have taken advantage of lapses and missteps from Easton and Reebok/CCM to take strides in the market and on the ice. This stick is $259 at retail and as it compares to the other top offerings, is absolutely worth every penny. Overall score - 9/10