Once again thank you to ThinkingJack and Warrior for making me a #WarriorVIP and hooking me up with this stick. I am extremely grateful and appreciate it.
I should have written this review a while ago, but I got caught up in reviewing my newest sticks and some goalie equipment. I apologize for the delay.
Warrior Covert QRL 100 Flex W03 Backstrom
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,Warrior Covert QRL W03, CCM Ribcor Trigger P29
Weight: 409 Grams
Length: 60 inches
Usage: 8 Months
Grip: I mentioned in the initial impressions for this stick that I was not a big fan of grip sticks. While my preference still lies with matte finished shafts the Warrior Covert QRL did a pretty decent job introducing me to the world of grip sticks. The gloss grip on the QRL is not the tackiest of materials and honestly had no adjustment period from my prefered non-grip sticks to their grip variants. I do really like the Pro CorTex Grip, which is 3D like teeth that line the shaft for added grip and feel. In my opinion the 3D ridges work well with the grip material since the grip is much less tacky compared to other brands. While the QRL grip isn’t my favourite shaft texture (nothing beats Warrior Velvet grip yet), if I were to grab another QRL I would probably pick up the grip version. 9/10
Aesthetics: This section is almost ruined by Warriors latest release of limited edition sticks, which includes 2 different designs for the top end QRL. These limited sticks (seen below) are throwbacks to Warriors earlier days when they had extremely complicated names for the different levels of performance. These throw backs look great in my eyes and make the QRL seem slightly less impressive. The Warrior Covert QRL stick does a good job of advertising the brand and Covert line heritage. The colour pallet is the same as the previous Covert line in the QR1 family and overall design is fairly similar as well, yet Warrior did an excellent job in making different changes to really distinguish how this stick looks compared to its predecessors. I am a fan of the baby blue, orange and black colour scheme and I really like how Warrior used negative space for the Warrior branded text on the shaft. Instead of making the colours baby blue, Warrior made the background baby blue and the Warrior letters black. This design looks even more impressive in the next stick down in price point in the Covert QRL Pro stick. With the QRL Pro Warrior decided to leave the blank carbon fibre visible throughout the shaft instead of painting it black. Since blank carbon fibre is one of my favourite design choices I am slightly disappointed that the stick I have doesn’t have this feature. On the QRL Pro it looks exceptional in the Warrior lettering, light bounces off the carbon weave to show off details and the letters pop even more against the baby blue background compared to the black letters on the QRL. Perhaps I am too easy with liking different stick branding, as I like the bold aesthetics of the QRL I also like the more understated approach that CCM has taken on the Ribcor Trigger. Either way I think the QRL is a great looking stick and Warrior did an exceptional job of continuing with the Covert QR heritage. 9/10
Curve: I like heel curves, and while I have been able to get used to the Warrior W03 I still miss my trusted W05. I didn’t have all of Warrior’s curve options when I got this stick and went with the curve that I felt would be best suited to my defensive style of game. I have been able to adjust and must admit that the increased curve has helped with stick handling, but I still miss my heel curves. 8/10
Blade: The blade on the Warrior Covert QRL is one of the more lively and pingy blades I have ever used. My previous stick being the Sherwood EK60 was a lively blade in itself, but the Warrior just feels slightly more alive and almost thinner. The blade is also extremely stiff and I have never felt the blade twist or give when taking a shot. The pingy blade gives the QRL great feedback when stickhandling and shooting, but I feel some touch is lost when making and receiving passes. I prefer the lively blades when stickhandling as I feel like I always know exactly where the puck is when it touches my stick, even the slightest of movements are able to translate the puck’s position on the blade. I feel the pingy blade is slightly worse for passing though, as pucks feel as if they jump off of the blade when receiving hard passes or making long stretch passes. I understand soft hands allow you to cradle the puck, using the slightly dampened blade in my CCM Ribcor Trigger makes it easier for me to handle the harder passes. 9/10
Feel: I mentioned the excellent and stiff blade earlier already. The balance of the stick is fantastic and it does a good job of being lightweight but still being noticeable. I never feel like the stick doesn’t have a blade and always feel in total control of the stick. The lack of weight also helps with making the stick extremely mobile in terms of movement, you never feel bogged down when moving your hands or attempting to move the stick (something I feel time to time when using much heavier goalie sticks). While this stick is slightly heavier than the Sherwood EK60 I really don’t notice the difference between the 2 in terms of weight. The one thing I’d make note of is that this stick plays considerably less stiff than the Sherwood EK60 or even other sticks I have used in the past. This 100 flex QRL plays about the same as my 86 EK60 and 87 Easton RS. My thoughts on feel haven’t changed with this stick since the first day I used it and the Warrior Covert QRL is one of the best overall feeling sticks I have used, my only minor complaint is receiving passes which was covering in the blade section above. 9.5/10
Stickhandling: With the lightweight and lively blade stick handling with this stick has been very good. Unlike some lightweight sticks in the past I never “lose” the blade of this stick and always know where it is. The stiff blade gives me confidence when handling the puck since it gives great feedback to how the puck is actually behaving on the stick itself. The excellent balance helps the stick feel like a natural extension to your hands and never feels unwieldy. To be completely honest I am not the best stickhandler on the ice, I am more of a defensive forward (or defenseman depending on the team) than the dangler and sniper. But the QRL has helped me in the stickhandling department because of its lightweight, great balance and pingy blade. I have more confidence that the puck is not going to roll off of the blade while I am moving because of the instant feedback the blades gives your hands, and if I do lose it it is considerably easier to find again or poke away from danger because of the balance and lightweight of the stick. The Warrior Covert QRL is my best stickhandling stick to date. 10/10
Shooting: If I wrote this review a month ago I would’ve told you the Warrior Covert QRL is the best stick I have ever shot, with the fastest release with the most consistent shots I have ever used. But I must say the QRL has been surpassed by the CCM Ribcor Trigger in that regards. That isn’t to say the QRL is not a quick releasing stick, in fact my shots with it are some of the quickest releasing I have ever shot thanks to its T3 Dagger taper. The quick release of this stick helps get off shots while under pressure from defending opponents quickly, you don’t really have to worry about proper technique or loading the stick and can allow the stick’s flex and low kick do most of the work. Some defenders like using mid kick sticks for booming shots from the point, but I prefer low kicks to allow me to quickly get a low shot off between defenders legs without having to wind up. A quick sidestep to find an open lane and the puck is already going towards the net for a tip in front.
The stiff blade helps translate puck feel extremely well to your hands when shooting, if you make a mistake and flub the shot you can usually tell why immediately. The blade never opens up on winding slap shots, but I feel the curve and the low kick launch my shots over the net. I have to work to reel in my slapshots to keep them below the crossbar.
The Covert QRL is a stick that can do most of the work for you, and the quick release and low kick help you shoot off balance or off of the wrong foot much fairly easily. My shots still launch extremely quickly and hard coming off the QRL, and it is the second best shooting stick I have ever used. 9/10
Passing: As mentioned above in the curve section I prefer heel curves to assist with my passing. While I was able to adjust and become better than previously I feel the heel curves are still my favourite curves for making saucer passes and having the most control. For the rest of the stick the Warrior Covert QRL excels in this category. I had issues with low kick sticks in the past when receiving or giving hard passes. When making stretch passes the low kick would flex too much and my hard pass became a shot… which became uncontrollable to the intended target. With the QRL I am able to keep the low kick in check while making those long and hard passes. I have also rarely experienced the stick flexing when receiving passes. My only complaint for this stick is the blade stiffness, which I feel makes the puck bounce or jump off of the blade when making and receiving passes. The blade is so lively that even when cradling a pass the puck seems to just bounce off of it ever so slightly. Again this is one of the drawbacks of an extremely pingy blade. 8/10
Durability: My previous Warrior stick experience was with the Covert DT1LT, a stick that really amazed me with it’s quick release and shot power when the stick was new. A few months of use and the stick started to lose its pop and started feeling noodle like. I am very happy to report that the Covert QRL has featured no such degradation in performance. The stick feels the same as it did the first time I got it onto the ice and the blade is still as firm as ever with no visible cracks or chips anywhere. While my Sherwood EK60 has excellent durability it never quite had the release my DT1LT or this QRL did so I believed a trade off for durability came by sacrificing the quick release. The Warrior Covert QRL has proven my thoughts wrong in this regard, and has held up remarkably. While I take care of my stick I do not baby them, I block shots and am not shy from taking slapshots. Five months later and the Warrior Covert QRL feels as good as new and has changed how I look at durability in high end sticks. 10/10
Closing: I am unbelievably happy with the Warrior Covert QRL so far and am extremely grateful to Warrior and ThinkingJack for giving me the opportunity to review this stick. The QRL is in the top two of the best sticks I have ever used. It’s lively blade is excellent for shooting and stickhandling all while Warrior’s work on durability has certainly shown since the DT1LT stick lines. The Warrior Covert QRL is one of the fastest releasing and shooting sticks on the market and is backed by excellent durability. If you are looking for a high end low kick stick with a lively and pingy blade the QRL should be at the top of your list. 9/10
Heel had what looked like tiny air bubbles in the finish when I got it, the issue has not worsened or affected performance.
Showing off the shaft details and texture.
Toe has very little damage.
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