Most Colorado Avalanche players use stick brands that are manufactured in China. With the spread of the coronavirus, their stock might be in danger.
After the Colorado Avalanche beat the LA Kings last weekend, Kings goalie Jonathan smashed his stick over the net. It exploded. Obviously, he won’t be using that stick again.
In the normal order of things, that’s no big deal. NHL players are rich, and they don’t have to pay for their equipment anyway.
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However, when I watched Quick smash his stick, I blurted, “What if you can’t get anymore?!”
Right now, you can’t turn on the news or visit social media without hearing about the coronavirus. The virus that started in China is threatening to become a pandemic.
Well, countries are shutting down. As a result, the coronavirus is having unforseen effects on commerce. Specifically, hockey sticks. As a Boston Globe article points out, 75% of the sticks NHLers use are made in small batches in Chinese factories.
And business and travel out of China has pretty much halted since late January. Apparently, NHL equipment coaches are struggling to get fresh stock of their charges’ customized sticks. Hockey manufacturers are reportedly worried.
Bauer is one of the sticks made in China. A quick look at some of the Colorado Avalanche equipment photos, and I do see probably half a dozen players who use that brand, including our new goalie, Michael Hutchinson.
So, players using the other main brand, CCM, should be ok, right? Nope. Those are also made in China. The majority of the sticks in the photos that don’t bear the Bauer label bear the CCM label.
The Avalanche have released any statements about a stick shortage. However, players such as Charlie Coyle of the Boston Bruins are trying to conserve their sticks.
Not only are they trying not to break them, but they’re probably not giving them away too often. Sorry, fans.
Now, there’s not a big risk right away, not for the NHLers. The major stick-producing companies have most of their stock for this season already in North America. How much of that are the customized sticks NHLers use, I don’t know.
However, we all know they’re going to take priority, followed by AHL and IIHF teams, I’d imagine. So, what it really means, is the youth and beer league teams might not be able to get stock soon.
Who knows if the crunch will reach the NHL if the coronavirus lingers deep into the playoffs.
Meanwhile, a couple of Colorado Avalanche players are safe no matter what. Both forward Matt Calvert and goalie Pavel Francouz use Warrior sticks. Those are made in Mexico, and they’re having no problems with production whatsoever. In fact, they’re ready to start overproducing if the demand is there.
Erik Johnson is in that group, too. He’s an interesting case. He’s currently using Warrior, but in the past he’s used CCM and even Easton.
So maybe NHL players don’t have to be married to their stick brand. If they can get the same customizations from another manufacturer, they might be willing.
By the way, Nikita Zadorov blew up his stick on a slapshot in last night’s game. He uses Bauer.
The Colorado Avalanche probably won’t have to worry about the coronavirus affecting their stick situation. What a funny connection between a pandemic and our favorite sport, though.