My first 2 were easton synergy...
I just bought a Bike Bauer Vapor a few months back, and it's hands down the best stick I've ever played with!
Thanks to the Times Are Tough thread, I ended up getting a 3pack of RBK 4ks for a little over $100 (includes shipping/tax, so great deal).
I was very hesitant for 3 reasons.
1) They didn't have the curves I like (only Madano and Phaneaufpfpfph were available). Never played with anything close to those curves.
2) I've heard they break on a whim, too.
3) I've always liked stiffer sticks. I was using a cut down 115 shaft and RBK 1k blade, and had to drop down to an 85.
I'm just going to reiterate things others said, but here you go:
The accuracy of my shot has improved greatly. It's easier for me to not only pick corners, but also keep it low, which is important because I dropped back to D this season at TSC.
It is much lighter. I used my old stick for the first time in a while recently b/c I was playing on straight concrete, and didn't want to ruin my good sticks. I noticed immediately the weight difference. Stick handling is faster and more controlled
Overall, just a better stick, though I do play with a 2-piece more often as not to ruin the 1-piece.
Then again, I am a roller monkey and gotta worry about these things.
A 2-piece is a good choice. The vast majority of OPS are really just a fused two-piece. The one thing that hasn't been mentioned is the consistency in a one piece is better from one to the next than in wood.
I was against one-piece sticks until I caved and bought one, and I accidentally happened to pick up what many consider to be the best one-piece ever made, the TPS XN10. I tried, briefly, to go back to even a medium-grade two piece, and it wasn't happening. After the one-piece, it felt like a two-by-four.
Moral of the story - do not get a high end OPS. You can't go back. On the other hand, I've been lucky and I've never had one last less than about a year or so. Even if you're buying retail, that's not bad. I've gotten good deals on mine, so it was very much worth it.
I don't think it is shot strength as much of how much tourque you put into the stick. When you shoot you don't put a lot of load into the stick so you don't stress the stick much which is good for your wallet.
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When I was a kid I used to spend hours on my driveway with a frozen ice hockey puck shooting wrist shots at the garage practicing weight transfer and turning my wrists. At the same time I was strengthening the muscles it takes to shoot the puck hard. You have to have a good wrist shot to have a good slap shot in my opinion.
2. Leg/core power
Just like swinging a baseball bat or hitting a golf ball, if you have strength in your core and legs you're going to shoot hard.
3. Arm strength
Not the biceps either (although I do the curls to get my arms big to make the wife happy) but mainly your forearms. I read a good bit of advice on another hockey forum that I'm using now to work my forearms. You take a broomstick or something like that and tie a rope around it and on the other side of the rope you tie a weight (I have a 5 lb now but I'm going to increase it soon). You turn the stick slowly in your hands and reel the weight up. 5 lbs doesn't sound like much but your wrists will burn soon enough. The other thing I'm using are those grippers, they work a different part of the forearm.
Anybody who wants to make their shot faster, I would suggest that plan of action. I am by no means an expert but I do have a decent shot and I've read a lot about techniques for improving your shot.
Crap. I leave my sticks in the car all the time. That is their storage space....