Coronavirus Affects NHL Stick Supplies With China-Based Factories
The customized sticks used by some 75% of the NHL are "made in small batches at Chinese factories," and with work and travel halted in the country as it combats coronavirus, the league has been "unable to get fresh stock in the middle of its competitive season," according to Matt Porter of the BOSTON GLOBE. During last Thursday's Red Wings-Sabres broadcast, NBC Sports analyst Pierre McGuire cited equipment managers as saying there was a "major shortage" of sticks. Porter noted hockey manufacturers "disputed that, but conceded they are worried." New Hampshire-based manufacturer Bauer "makes its pro sticks in China, as does its main competitor," Montreal-based CCM. Approximately 39% of NHLers "currently use Bauer sticks," and 36% "prefer CCM." Another company that makes sticks in China, Ottawa-based True Hockey, has a "handful of player clients" at 1.4%. Bauer Hockey CEO Ed Kinnaly anticipated that there would be "no impact to retailers worldwide which he said are stocked through the end" of the season. Kinnaly in an email wrote Bauer's custom stick operation has been halted, but the "most recent update suggests we can restart operations" today. Meanwhile, Massachusetts-based stick maker Warrior, owned by New Balance, "sources its carbon fiber material" from the U.S. and "makes its sticks in Tijuana" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/9).