More details are coming in about the new stick being developed by TaylorMade and hockey equipment manufacturer CCM. Already in use by a couple of NHL players, the RBZ stick will be introduced in June at the NHL Entry Draft and should be available at retail this fall. Unlike the company's new line of metalwoods and irons, the RBZ does not stand for "RocketBallz," but rather "RocketBladez."
According to TaylorMade chief technology officer Benoit Vincent, the stick uses a fundamentally different structure than typical hockey sticks.
"The blade on a hockey stick, which is analogous to the club head on a golf club, is responsible for making contact with the puck and imparting the energy stored in the shaft during a player's swing," Vincent wrote in an email to Golf Digest this morning. "By understanding how a metalwood club face is designed to maximize COR [coefficient of restitution, or spring-like effect, the rule limiting the speed-producing potential of a clubface], we drew upon this concept to develop the very first completely hollow, or air-core, structure in a blade.
"Traditionally, hockey stick blades have been a sandwich structure comprised of composite skins adhered to an inner core made of polymer foam. By removing the foam through a novel structural design and manufacturing process, we have not only improved the mass distribution in the stick for a faster swing speed, but the unsupported region on the blade face increases COR. We combine these blade improvements with a shaft that has a finely tuned stiffness profile to return maximum energy at puck release."
Unlike golf, hockey does not have a limit on the springiness of the face of sticks, which according to NHL rules must be "made of wood or other material approved by the League."
--*Mike Stachura**Follow me on Twitter @MikeStachura *