Beaver Valley Nitehawk Michael Pruss unleashes a wrister

Nitehawks get down to BASE-ics

The Beaver Valley Nitehawks have teamed up with BASE Hockey in a joint effort to get a stick up on the competition.

The Beaver Valley Nitehawks are getting ‘Nasty,’ having teamed up with BASE Hockey in a joint effort to get a stick up on the competition.

The ‘Nasty’ is the new line of hockey stick produced by BASE Hockey out of Burnaby, a company started by former Vancouver Canuck Cliff Ronning in 2010 that designs and manufactures specialized hockey sticks for amateur players.

But what is truly unique about BASE is that you don’t shop online or in a store, rather a team of hockey technicians travel to the team’s home, in this case Fruitvale, to analyze each player’s shot, and identify what type of stick will yield the best results for a particular player.

“What they are doing is fitting us with lie and flex and different curve,” said Nitehawk defenceman Andrew Miller. “They take a recording of your shot in slow motion and they show you where you’re releasing the puck, where you’re hitting the ice and if the stick is flexing too much or not enough, and then they pick what stick works best for you and how you shoot.”

The test sticks come with interchangeable shafts and blades in a variety of specs.

The video analysis breaks down the player’s shot frame-by-frame, and stick technicians Spencer Nicol and Carson David analyze the players’ address, feet and hand position, wind up, contact, and follow-through to determine the best flex, best lie, and the best curve for the player to get the maximum yield off the stick.

“The biggest thing we’re finding is proper flex, and then we’re finding a lot of players are using curves they shouldn’t be using and, also, the height of the stick is incorrect,” said BASE representative Brandon McKinnon.

“So as we go through the process we’re always finding a minimum of two or three things that we can fit the individual so they can get better performance off the tool they are using, which is their hockey stick.”

The graphite sticks are designed by one of the best engineers in hockey, BASE co-owner and founder  of the first composite-stick company in North America, Ron Kunisaki. The Nasty is his latest masterpiece.

“He’s developed engineering on the stick that no other group can do. Our Nasty is the lightest stick on the market, and it has a dual kick-point which does some work for the player when shooting with proper shooting technique . . . we use the same graphite used in Boeing airplanes, and also, for us, the breakage on our stick is the lowest in the industry.”

The BASE concept is to bring the specialized NHL experience to amateur players, while keeping it affordable. The whole process results in a stick that costs up to 40 per cent less than off-the-shelf high-end sticks.

BASE simply doesn’t spend money on brand marketing, advertising, packaging etc., all their funds go into quality material, precision manufacturing, and specialized analysis.

“We’re able to go factory-direct and save the consumer money,” said McKinnon.  “So what we’re trying to do is bring the cost of hockey down, but also still giving the best product possible.”

While the cost-benefit for junior teams like the Nitehawks is attractive, McKinnon says the switch to the Nasty will help them on the ice as well.

“We’ve already found that with junior teams their shots hitting the net goes up, their receiving passes goes up, so their overall yield as a group, if they are all fitted, all increases by about 10 per cent.”

As for Miller he likes the feel of the stick, its balance, and most of all looks forward to the results on the scoreboard.

“I found the stick felt really cool, I guess they have a two kick-point system on the stick so it felt pretty good. Can’t wait to try it.”

BASE has players using their sticks in the professional ranks as well as other junior markets, however, some leagues, such as the BCHL, have exclusive deals with companies that prevent players from choosing which sticks they use. Nevertheless, the BASE is growing, says McKinnon, with guys like Pittsburgh Penguin star Evgeni Malkin recently fitted.

Still, for BASE Hockey, a quality product is the best form of advertising.

“We’re moving onward and upward, as far as people using our sticks in all leagues now. It’s not just NHL it’s all leagues minor and major, so we’re proud of that.

“We’re selling the best sticks in the world and we’re trying to share it with everybody, by creating value, performance, and durability.”

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