On December 10th, Eddie, Chris and myself were all fortunate enough to attend The Bauer Experience in Rochester Hills, MI. In case you are not familiar, The Bauer Experience is an event hosted by Bauer Hockey where you can try out all the latest and greatest Bauer gear. Some of the gear available to try out included the Bauer Supreme Total One skates and stick, Bauer Vapor X:60 Skates, stick, and gloves the Bauer 9900 helmet, as well as the Bauer Pro 4-roll gloves. Between the three of us, we got our hands, or feet, on every piece of equipment offered at the event.
While we waited for all the preparation to be completed, we signed our waivers, were given free Bauer hats, then each won a Bauer skate towel from a scratch off card. Once the setup was done, we made our way to the first locker room to have our feet measured and pick out our skates. All three of us started off with the TotalOne skates. Next, we made our way to the next room to pick out gloves get our helmets. We all got 9900 helmets, but Chris and Eddie went with the X:60 gloves, while I stuck with the classic 4-roll. After getting all of our gear on, we headed out to the rink where Eddie grabbed an X:60 stick and Chris and myself picked up Total One sticks.
Once we hit the ice we all grabbed some pucks to start messing around on the first third of the rink. This section was dedicated to skating, stick-handling, and passing the puck. After about 15 minutes we were moved to the next section where we could unleash some shots on the two nets they had set up. Later, we moved to the final section which had two accuracy drills. One was a big board the size of a net with nine different lights you had to hit and knock out. Eddie got stuck on a couple lights and finished in about 40 seconds. I had the same problem and came in at about 35 seconds, but Chris managed to go lights out in roughly 25 seconds as he nailed the nine targets in only ten shots. It was pretty impressive. You can actually watch him in action below. The other accuracy drill was your typical targets in the four corners of the net. We never made it over that way.
As far as the equipment goes, the Total Ones were a gem to skate in. They were comfortable from the time I put my foot in until the time I took them off. They provided great support and protection, as well as a very neutral stance on the ice. In fact, Chris took an accidental shot to the foot at one point and said he felt nothing. I was also pleased with the X:60 skates, which provided a much more athletic stance. While overall I think I actually preferred the feel of the X:60 skate, it didn’t seem to fit my foot as nicely as the Total One, so I felt some mild discomfort as I skated. While a lot of it depends on what skate fits your foot best, between these two I would go with the Total One.
When comparing the Total One and X:60 sticks, I noticed a much better feel of the puck with the Total One. Handling the puck was very smooth and shots came off very nicely. My everyday stick is a One95, so there wasn’t a drastic change to get used to. I think they have a very similar feel on the rink and are amazing to use when playing ice hockey. I am not really impressed with the feel of the One95 playing inline though, so I would imagine the Total One would be the same way. However, the stick felt incredibly strong. When buying a high-end one piece stick, I would probably take that into consideration quite a bit for playing in any recreational beer league. With the X:60, I felt as though I was using a lighter and weaker stick. Ice Warehouse actually lists the Total One as being lighter, which surprised me a bit. I appreciated the feel the Total One had quite a bit more than the X:60, but still somehow imagine that the X:60 would suit my needs for inline quite a bit better. I was thought my shots were snapping off a bit quicker with the X:60. While I’d like to give the X:60 a shot playing inline, I haven’t had the chance yet, so I’m going to give the upper hand to the Total One again.
The gloves were definitely interesting to use as I haven’t touched a pair of Bauer gloves in about five years. I’m currently using Warrior gloves, and am very pleased with them. The first glove I went with was the pro 4 roll design. I love the classic look and feel of these gloves, so I grabbed them without hesitation. They performed as expected, which was great, but it was nothing special. When I tried the X:60 gloves, however, I was very impressed. The palm felt thinner, which gave me a better feel for the stick and puck, regardless of which stick I was using. They also provided a bit of a narrower fit, which I really liked. My only question would be on durability of the palm. Since these were the Pro model gloves, they didn’t have the absorb pad on the palm like you would find on a retail X:60 glove. I’m sure the absorb pad makes a big difference in feel, as well as palm wear. Pro players don’t need to worry about a palm wearing out since they can get a new pair whenever they want. For your average consumer, however, you’ll want a palm that will not wear out in a few months of playing. Regardless of the palm questions, I would take the X:60 on this one. The glove was lightweight, protective and overall pretty exceptional in my opinion. Unfortunately, there were no Total One gloves for us to try.
The Bauer 9900 helmet was nice and does what it says: protect your head. I was getting a headache from the one I was wearing, but that could be caused by having the wrong size, or not adjusting it properly, or even the fact that I was chewing gum while playing. I’m not very picky when it comes to helmets, but overall it seemed good.
At the end of the night, we were all more than impressed by the event Bauer had put on. I’m sure doing something like that isn’t cheap, but it is a highly effective way to promote your products. Chris and myself were convinced that if we were to buy new skates, Bauer would definitely be the route we would go. It was a great sales pitch, and companies like Easton, CCM and Reebok should think about doing something similar. The staff running the event were all great and extremely knowledgeable. They love the gear just as much as we do, so they were great to talk to. We’d like to extend a special thanks to Spencer Freer from Bauer for taking the time to talk to us and share information about all the gear we used. Additionally, we would like to thank the Bauer team for putting on such a tremendous event, and we look forward to showing up in years to come.
If you have any questions about any of the gear we used, please don’t hesitate to ask.
For those wondering, here’s a look at the remaining schedule for The Bauer Experience:
December 28, 2010 Mississauga, ON (Hershey Centre) 9:30am – 1:30pm
January 4 or 5, 2011 Laurel, MD (The Gardens Ice House) 4pm – 9pm