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04-30-2013, 01:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Fanned On It View Post
You're right... and it's up to the consumers to be smart and educate themselves on what they're buying. At some point in a person's life, they (hopefully) realize what marketing and hype really is and they start to see through it. This usually comes with adult-hood when your priorities start to get in order as well as some gained wisdom.

The people that these manufacturers are are making their money from are the youth hockey players. From Mite to Juniors (in the US). Obviously, the kids buy in to all of this hype and want the best stick available to them. This starts a sort of chain reaction because once a few kids on a team/in an organization/at the rink get top of the line sticks, EVERYONE wants them. The kids start to think that they NEED these top of the line sticks to play well (like you touched on) and the parents start caving in to peer pressure (which you'd think they'd be smart enough not to). The parents don't want their kids to feel like the "poor kid" or "less privileged" kid, so they buy them whatever they want (to their own dismay). This is the case ESPECIALLY if you live in a solid hockey area that is home to upper-middle class/rich people.

But I do disagree with what you said about higher level players using cheaper sticks in beer-league or what have you. Like someone else said, it may be generational. My dad played some high level college hockey and is a sick player (even at 60 lol) and he uses the old composite shaft with a wood blade combo... but all of the younger guys that either played high level Juniors or NCAA college hockey are using top of the line sticks.
I just wanted to touch on the two points I've bolded. While I generally agree with what you're saying (marketing fools a lot of people into spending more than they need to), I think it's all relative to the level being played. As kids get older, and play more competitive hockey (or any other sport), they want to get every competitive advantage they can. I don't necessarily think kids feel like they need top end sticks to to play well. I think they want them so they don't feel like they're at a disadvantage. Same goes with the parents. Its not so much about worrying they're kids look poor, it's that they want to provide every possible opportunity for their child to succeed and/or reach their full potential.

I haven't had too much experience with a large number of different hockey sticks, but I imagine its similar to wood baseball bats. While bats all have to fall under the same length-weight guidelines (bats can weigh no more that 3oz less than their length. Ie 33in-30oz), there are a large number of options. They range in price anywhere from $30 to $200 and are made out of multiple types of wood. But as someone who played pretty competively, there is a HUGE difference in performance from the low end to the top end, even the mid levels to the top ends. Tighter grain, higher quality wood etc make all the difference. Now if I was swinging a $50 or even $100 bat and someone else had a $200 one, it wouldn't be jealousy or peer pressure that drove me to invest inthe more expensive bat. It would be the thought that I may be hurting my performance by using an inferior product. But that could just be because I'm super competitive and hated to lose. Now that I'm playing beer league I'm totally fine losing that small edge to save a few $'s.

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