NHL Supplier: Sher-wood Athletics Group
Location: Sherbrooke, Que.
Number of Sher-wood pucks used in a game: 25 to 30
When he was with the Colorado Avalanche, Paul Stastny reluctantly gave up his wooden Sher-wood stick in favour of a graphite model. He was one of the last NHLers to make the switch. That was five years ago. Today, Stastny plays for the St. Louis Blues. He still uses a Sher-wood, but is now an early adopter of the firm’s newest niche line of ultralight composite sticks.
Long known for its wood sticks (and official game pucks), Sher-wood has only a small share of the high-end composite market and knew it would make little sense to launch a me-too product in a category that Bauer and CCM dominate. Instead, says product manager Michael Soule, the company has created “challenger” sticks, each with a key point of differentiation: The carbon-fibre EK15 costs $199, has a low “kick point” (designed for faster wrist shots) and is the only stick under 400 grams. The newer T120 model, released last fall, is engineered for heavy slapshots like Stastny’s. While it is designed and manufactured in Asia, the stick’s testing and marketing is handled in Quebec.
About a dozen NHL players use the new Sher-woods, and Soule says the models have gained acceptance among Midget AAA and Junior players. “Our brand has been on an upswing because of these last two products,” he says. “We’ve got elite players we weren’t getting before.”
As for its NHL customers, Sher-wood makes whatever modifications they require. “It’s how they make their living,” says Soule. “These guys help build your brand, so you service them.”