Several months ago, Center Ice Magazine introduced you to a new product that offered an alternative to taping your stick blade, Now, we’re trying to do the same for the butt-end of your stick.  Inventor Joe Casasanta decided he wanted a different feel on his grip than what traditional tape provides, but didn’t want to use the bulky inserts that were available at the time.

"Basically, the grips on a normal stick are rectangular," he said. "Rectangles are not manufactured for a hand. They’re manufactured that way to make thousands of sticks at a time. I don’t think like that. I think of the player."

In doing so, he developed Oggie Grips, which are composite grips with flex-points built into the shaft that work a flex-point built into the grip that works with your existing ice, inline, or street hockey stick to improve the flex, enhance your comfort and feel, and in some cases, increase shot speed by as much as 6 mph.  Oggie Casasanta offers three designs, the Classic, the Ergo and the Sticky Grip Foam
grip.  Of the three, the Ergo is the most unique, as it is actually curved to better fit a player’s hand. For those that long for the traditional look, the Classic is designed like end of a player’s stick, while providing the same flex boost and enhanced grip strength as the Ergo.  Both the Ergo and the Classic are designed exclusively for hollow composite or aluminum sticks.

The Sticky Grip Foam grip is even simpler. Instead of replacing the end of your stick, Sticky Grip Foam provides the base for the grip, which is then taped over. Like the Classic and the Ergo, there is a tangible difference in the feel of the stick.  However, unlike the Ergo and the Classic, the foam grip can be used on both wood and composite sticks, and can even be used for other sports, such as lacrosse, mountain biking, tennis, racquetball, and even golf. The foam grips are a hot item that can also be used for goalie sticks.
In testing his grips against sticks without them, Casasanta saw some very promising results.  First of all, he found that all of the players said that his product had a "grippy" feel.  The grip’s effect on shot-speed seems to be more pronounced when a player was previously averaging 68 mph or higher on their slap shots.

"For those players that average 68 or better, they saw an average increase of 2-3 mph on their slap shots," Casasanta said.

Thus, Casasanta says he is trying to generate interest among college, minor pro and pro teams to use his product.  Already, he’s seeing some results.

"We have heard of several Div. I and Div. II players that use it, including a recent 2005 NHL draft pick."

 

Regardless of the effect on shot speed, players of all ability levels said it was easier to hold onto the stick using Oggie Grips.  
The process of installing Oggie Grips is a little different than the traditional method.

"Instead of taping your sticks, you cut the stick down at the end, heat the glue that is inside the insert section of the grip, which will melt and fix the grip onto your stick," Casasanta said.

He recommends getting this done at the pro shop, although you can also do it yourself at home with a heat gun or a blow dryer.  The result, however, far outweighs the additional time.   Another benefit of Oggie Grips is that they can extend the life of a some composite sticks, especially for youngsters who grow out of their old ones. 

"It’s perfect for kids because it fits their hands so much easier," Casasanta said.

In fact, he says most of his business has been for players 7-18 for that very reason.  You won’t have to worry about whether or not your new grips will be legal. USA Hockey officially approved the product for play in Feb. 2005.  All of the grips are available in a variety of colors, with the ergo and the classic designed for a stick with 100 flex or better. All are universally made for both right-handed and left-handed players. 
Both the Ergo and the Classic grips are available for $23.95, while the Foam grip is $8.95.

For more information, or to find a dealer near you, visit www.oggiegrip.com .

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