Let’s start this review with a bit of a disclaimer.
I am as beer league of a beer league player as you can get. I don’t have great hands. I’m not exactly a speedester, I do have a Fulton Reed-esque slapshot, but it is accompanied by Fulton Reed accuracy. In the realm of non-professional hockey players with a platform I am almost the polar opposite of Pavel Barber. I don’t closely resemble a keebler elf, I will never wear a go-pro on my helmet in a beer league game, and people don’t hate me just by looking at me.
When I review hockey equipment my main intent is to review it in the context of a beer league player. SURE we’d all love to have top of the line pro-stock equipment that our favorite pro-players are using. If we’re being honest though, it’s not economically feasible, often it’s a bit overkill for our skillsets, and really it’s totally not necessary. So keep that in mind when you see a review by me, because I think Beer League players need reviews tailored to Beer League players, and not, say….Brad Marchand (heart eyes emoji).
So let me tell you about Tovi, and their new stick
I recently teamed up with the guys from Tovi Hockey to review a couple of their sticks, and make some content using them. This is going to be the first review and the first of some stuff you see BLT doing with their sticks. In a few weeks, we’re going to do a contest where we give one of their sticks away to a BLT reader/listener.
I forget exactly how I first came across Tovi – but they are instantly and immediately recongnizable, even if their name isn’t. Let’s try something.
HEY! Hey Beer Leaguers – have you heard of that stick company that created a hockey stick that doesn’t need tape, and has holes in the blade that make it look closer to a tennis racket than a hockey stick? YOU HAVE? THAT’S TOVI!!
Feast your eyes upon the glory of the Tovi Blade.
Ok, let’s hear directly from Tovi themselves on why their blade looks like this, and what benefits they claim exist as a result of this design.
Those are some pretty lofty claims. In talking with a member of the Tovi team – he told me that they see the Tovi stick as the iPhone of the stick industry. Which I thought was an interesting analogy. For years the sticks we use have had very little in major technological or design changes. Aside from build material (and that time Reebok tried to put holes in the stick shaft….)
….sticks have remained relatively constant. It was very similar with cell phones until Apple changed the game and changed the way people viewed the capabilities that could exist in one.
Has Tovi done it? Has Tovi created that much of a seismic shift in the stick industry that it’s going to change the way we look at and use hockey sticks forever?
But they’ve certainly created a stick that may be better than anything else on the retail market, and one that certainly is going to cause the industry to rethink how they build their sticks. Which is still incredibly impressive.
This review is going to be on the Tovi Sabotage stick. In terms of specs, I use a 75 flex, mid-kick, with the T92 curve, I also get the shaft with grip – but that’s a customizable option (as is the kick point, and the blade…duh).
According to Tovi:
Similar to the feel of the TRUE A6.0, the TOVI Sabotage™ will be the company’s bolder statement. With an aggressive taper and a choice of mid or low kick profile, this one of a kind stick will enable the sniper to tally more goals than ever before. The Sabotage™ has a stronger color contrast pattern while keeping all of the fine details of the Mirage™.
The first thing I noticed about the stick (besides the obvious HOLY SHIT THERE’S HOLES IN THE BLADE) is how tacky the blade is. If there’s anything that stands out about these sticks that is going to surprise the average beer leaguer it’s the effect this tack has on your ability to handle the puck. The tack allows better control, with less ice buildup than traditional tape. I played back to back games the other night, and the ability of the blade to repel/dispel ice buildup over a traditional tape job was noticable.
I asked the Tovi Director of Ops about the tack, and this is what he had to say:
The formula for the Diamond Coat Liquid Tape is proprietary. It will last a 2-3 months with regular play, it can be rinsed in water and blow dried on warm to bring back some of the tack. We will be releasing it and selling it separately via the web-site in the coming months, as well as, in stores when we launch retail. It will come with and without grit…
If Tovi completely changed course and just sold this tack for players to use on their traditional blades, I think they would make an absolutely killing. Here’s the one negative (if you can call it that) with the tack. It wears off. Just like regular hockey tape, you’re going to need to re-apply occasionally. I’ve had the sticks for about 5 games and a couple praccy’s now, and I can already begin to tell that it’s not as responsive as it was on game one. But – you have to reapply tape, now – and this is still more effective than tape. So it’s not TOTALLY a negative, but it is something I feel obligated to point out.
Now, what about the blade itself?
First – a boast.
This .gif is from my first game, second shift using the Sabotage. I am the guy scoring the goal.
I have never, NEVER scored a goal like that in my life. Is it all the stick? Yes, I am willing to claim that it is all in the stick. LOOK AT THAT. Top cheddar, and screaming in like a fucking howitzer shot it. Perfectly placed, perfectly executed.
The lack of drag on the windup and follow-through is noticable with the perforated blade. The contact with the puck is noticeable different, as well. The website claims that the blade technology produces a larger sweetspot, and I believe them. I consistently take better, and more accurate shots than with my traditional twigs.
Plus there’s the sound of the puck coming of the blade.
Hey Chris – show us that famous back-scratcher windup. pic.twitter.com/aWpJTCHHc6
— Capital Beltway Warriors (@CBWHockey) July 22, 2019
I don’t want to get too much into the shaft, because that’s going to be a lot more subjected to what you customize. I will say that the Sabotage was pretty spot on in doing a True 6.0 impression (I use True’s quite often). The one thing I will say – the Tovi’s SEEM to run a bit stiff. My 75 flex felt closer to an 85. But the mid-kick was spot on, and the shaft felt durable.
Ok, finally. Let’s talk about price. The Tovi is an incredible stick, it certainly made this Beer Leaguer better. But at what cost?
Wellllllllllllll they aren’t cheap. You’re going to pay the same for this stick as you would any top of the line, new to market stick. $289.99. Is that in your average Beer Leaguers budget? Probably not. HOWEVER – they do offer a 90 day guarantee which may help offset that a bit. Most sticks give you 30 days or nothing.
Because the guys are Tovi are huge fans of BLT, and Beer League players – if you use code beerleaguetalk at checkout they’ll give you 20% off. That’s pretty significant, and certainly puts the Tovi over the top, for me.
The Grand Finale
Ok, so that was a lot of words and pictures and videos to essentially say the following: Tovi has created something new, and incredibly interesting. You’re going to pay a premium, but you might be getting the best new stick, with the best new technology on the market. Is it the perfect Beer Leaguer stick? At it’s original price point – maybe. If you use code beerleaguetalk at checkout?