Verbero Vara Pro 87 Flex PM44
Stick History: Sherwood 9950 Wood Coffey, Bauer Supreme (Sport Chek SMU) Kane, Sherwood T70 Stastny, Winwell GX8, Easton RS Parise, Warrior AK27 , Warrior DT1LT Pavelski, Warrior DT1ST Grandlund, Verbero PM44, Sherwood Rekker EK60 PP26
Stick Info: Height: uncut
Weight: 438 Grams used (paint chips)
Usage: 4 Months
Review Details: I have used this stick for about 4 months as my primary stick but would end up switching to a longer or different stick here and there. It has about 4 months of 2-3 times a week use.
Preface: I got this stick free just like the Vara Pro gloves in my earlier review. I was given these to use and create a review for these products. The reason this review took so long to come out is I wasn’t sure if I wasn’t used to midkick sticks and wanted to ensure the review wasn’t hampered by an issue with my playing style. I told Verbero to send me an 87 flex in an curve with non-grip shaft as I really don’t love grip sticks. I’ve found 87 flex to be a sweet spot for me for certain brands but too flexible in others (eg Warrior) so I figured I’d give 87 a shot here.
Grip: While I don’t like grip sticks I have found that I like matte finished sticks. My EK60, Mako and RS sticks all have a matte non-grip finish, which to me gives the stick a high quality feeling and gives a little bit of grip compared to a glossy shaft. Verbero states this stick is offered in a Matte non-grip finish, but I would argue that it is a glossy non-grip. Of my previous sticks the low end Bauer supreme is the only thing similar to the glossy finish that this stick has. To me this feels extremely cheap, which is completely personal preference but the matte painted sticks just have a higher quality feel to them. While the glossy feel doesn’t hinder my performance, I would hesitate to buy the stick if it was next to a stick that uses a matte finish. 5/10
Aesthetics: Aesthetics are completely personal preference, and I have heard some negative things about Verbero’s design directly related to the glove’s plaid looking liner and that has been translated onto this stick albeit with a neutral grey/black design. I think this design looks both unique and really nice, it is understated enough to not be gaudy while also having a distinct look to it across both stick lines. I actually preferred the more white Latigo stick but the black Vara looks really nice as well. The logo is on the lower portion of the shaft and is a silver/chrome design, I actually wish this stood out more and think if it was green like it is on the blade it would make the logo stand out more while still be attractive. Like most sticks I wish manufacturers made it easier to see the curve/flex of the stick, too many times it is too high and covered by tape or too tiny and I wish Verbero made this bigger as well. I think Verbero did a great job with how the sticks look here. 9.5/10
Blade/Curve: Since I got this stick Verbero has revamped their curve chart on a couple of times and I believe this is now the V19 curve on their website. This curve is a big departure from my DT1LT and is much more neutral. My shots were no longer always going high and passing was much easier to control. The Vara Pro blade feels and plays fairly stiff, I’d say it is slightly softer than a new DT1LT but harder than my DT1LT is now, and for my time using it I haven’t noticed the blade get softer whereas my RS blade was already starting to get soft with similar time of use. With the stiff blade I can feel exactly where I receive passes and where you shoot the puck off of. Compared to the EK60 this blade is softer and feels more dampened. One of the issues I found with this blade is the length of it, it feels shorter compared to other sticks with a similar curve. In fact I handed it off to other players and I had multiple people come back to me and say “blade is not long enough” and I agree with their assessment. Too many times I ended up shooting off the toe and flubbing shots, even after 6 months I couldn’t get adjusted to it and really wished the blade was longer. Overall I liked the curve for passing and the stiffness felt great, but the blade length was too short for my liking. 7/10
Stick Handling: Since this stick is a few inches shorter than the Warrior DT1LT I had been using I was right to assume that my stick handling would improve because of the decrease in length. But one thing that was detrimental to my stick handling was the shorter blade. I would simply lose the puck off the toe because I was expecting more blade to be there. This stick is very lightweight coming in at 438 grams at the time of writing this, and that helps the stick feel very mobile in your hands when stick handling. 8/10
Shooting: Since the kick point of this kick is different than my DT1LT I figured there would be an adjustment period like it was when I used the Warrior for the first time, but I was wrong in that. I have real issues with shooting this stick, whether it be snap shots, slap shots or wrist shots the majority of shots I took felt like I could not find the sweet spot. About 1 in 10 shots felt like they exploded off the stick in the matter I was expecting with a “Performance” hockey stick, and even when I made the perfect shot everything felt slower with less pop than when I had a brand new DT1LT. At first I contributed this to not being used to the mid kick flex, then over the summer I got to try a number of mid flex sticks and instantly noticed the majority of shots coming off those being much harder with a faster release. I tested the Warrior HD1, CCM Ultra Tacks, True XCore, True 6.0 and my shots off those sticks felt ridiculously explosive next to the Vara Pro. I find it difficult where I’d equate this stick to in terms of performance/price since it is better than my low end Bauer Supreme and Sherwood T70 but my Warrior AK27 and Winwell GX8 are both too stiff for me and I haven’t used another stick around the $180 price point. With that said all of my high end sticks were considerably less than the $180 this Vara Pro sells for and a quick look around lists the Easton V9/V9E for $140 locally (both of which I feel shoot MUCH harder and better than this). When Verbero releases videos of ex-pros saying it shoots as good as the high end stick I fully expected it, but that is simply not the case here and to say I am disappointed in the shooting performance of this stick is an understatement. 5/10
Passing: With the firm blade and curve I had good experiences with passing with this stick but for long stretch passes I could feel the stick flex a bit too much for my liking. On some sticks with a lot of kick the flexing on the passing helps release the puck quicker, but with this since I never felt a strong kick the flexing of the stick never added to the pass power. Since that is always a tradeoff for sticks that aren’t extremely stiff I can’t really bring that as too much of a negative besides that it didn’t add power like my other sticks did. I did find it slightly harder to give saucer passes with this than it was in my RS or DT1ST but I was able to adjust fairly quickly. The firm blade really helps in regards to passing. 8/10
Durability: This stick has Verbero’s Durotec Resin Coating which is supposed to “High Impact DuroTec Resin Coating that produces a tougher blend for added durability.” Now I am not sure if that coating is below or above the paint but this stick has been chipping pretty significantly, more so than other high end sticks I have used for a similar period of time. The toe is a bit cracked as to be expected with pucks, skates and boards being jammed up against it, but the bottom of the blade itself is where the durability of this stick really shows. The top layer of the blade is cracked and can be pulled completely off, the crack also goes deeper than the paint and I feel the structural integrity of the carbon fibre is mostly gone. With that said the blade hasn’t felt softer when I use it but the results so far have not been promising or give me confidence in this stick. I can’t comment on the stick losing its kick like my DT1LT since this stick never felt like it had a kick to begin with. 6/10
Feel: This stick is advertised as being extremely lightweight and that is one of the first comments everyone has with it, Verbero did make a stick that feels almost featherless and when you put it in your hands it feels lighter or very close to sticks that actually weigh less. The reason being is the balance of this stick where the blade feels like it is non-existent. With other lightweight sticks (EK60) I can always tell where my blade is because the stick feels like it is heavier at the blade. With the Verbero the blade feels so light that when skating it really felt I was using a stick with no blade at all, which takes some getting used to and personally I like how the EK60 feels compared to this (my Easton RS also felt like the Vara Pro in where the blade feels basically non-existent). Now puck handling the stick feels good since I don’t feel the blade is very dampened and you always know where the puck when stick handling or shooting. 7.5/10
Closing: I tried to use this stick as my goto for many months and frankly was really happy when I finally put it away for good. I honestly can’t remember scoring a goal because of an absolutely perfect shot or even creating an opportunity for a goal on a perfect shot. Now I am no goal scorer but I am pretty good at getting fast and low shots off from the point that either make it to the net or are very easily tipped by a forward in front. With the Vara Pro 9/10 times I felt like I didn’t get all of the shot and I wished I was back to using my used and abused DT1LT. In fact during my leagues playoffs I ended up retiring this stick for good as I didn’t want to feel like I could’ve done something better with a different piece of equipment that was sitting on the bench. Now to be 100% transparent I did not pay for this stick, with that said at $179.99 USD I cannot even come close to recommending this stick. The only sticks I have used that this out performed are $60 price point sticks. Needless to say I am extremely disappointed with the performance in this stick. Overall Score: Price I paid ($0): 6/10. Retail ($179.99) 4/10