Very unexpected and personally unpleasant news for me, but we say goodbye to the legendary Bauer Supreme sticks.

Bauer Supreme
Bauer Supreme

I can’t say that I am a big fan of this family, and it was not close to my style of play, but the name (Supreme) has long been the hallmark of the brand. Many things changed in my attitude towards Supreme with the release of the ADV model and the subsequent launch of its mass-produced UltraSonic version.

This stick is still number one in my ranking. I agree that it is quite different from previous Supreme sticks, but for me, it was definitely for the best. The most versatile model in terms of shooting capabilities (due to its specifics, not everyone could adjust to its handle), with simple puck handling and a weight equal to the then-current Vapor FlyLite.

Previously Bauer abandoned the philosophy of three families for skates and protective equipmen. In the first case we were offered Bauer Vapor and Supreme in the new Fit system, which largely compensated the abandonment of the Nexus line.

In the second case, it was decided to release a Pro Series kit, which became a very successful alternative to the Nexus. But things are a bit more complicated with the sticks. There will be no replacement for Supreme, and the technology (and philosophy) of this family will not be transferred to Vapor and Nexus.

But it’s all emotions, but in business, everything is controlled by numbers, and Bauer had several reasons for this decision. Sales statistics showed that the interest in Supreme hockey sticks dropped significantly (has been falling for several years), and Vapor and Nexus had more interest.

By the way, the Nexus is now the most popular choice in the Bauer stick segment. Before that, it was the Vapor for a long time. It turns out that the Vapor/Supreme pair is quite popular in the skate segment, in protective gear, but in hockey sticks it would be Vapor/Nexus. Why not just rename the popular Nexus sticks to Supreme, since that seems logical? The survey showed that the customer today does not care so much about choosing a product of the same family in different segments and each position can be chosen independently.

Second point is – it would take a lot of effort to explain that the technology and philosophy of Nexus now carry the Supreme name.

As a result, it would have created more confusion among those who play with Supreme and Nexus hockey sticks. The pandemic played an essential role in this decision, prompting the manufacturer to be proactive for optimization and business efficiency.

Reducing the number of lines without losing the level of customer satisfaction is a new challenge for the brand today. Bauer Vapor and Nexus should cover the needs of players to the fullest extent. It simplifies the work of retailers. The customer will have an easier choice, and the retailer will not need to buy more products, find space for their placement in the store hall, and will have fewer residues.

Analytics also contributed to this decision. Bauer studied tens of thousands of goals (more than 45,000) to draw new conclusions: the game is changing, it is getting faster, and the philosophy of Supreme clubs is becoming less and less relevant. Today you have to be fast, have a shorter amplitude, and a high responsiveness of the stick to make a good shot. It allows you to shoot before the defender attacks. It also makes it harder for the goalie to react faster.

As a result, the Supreme line is going away, while the Vapor (ultra-low deflection point) and Nexus (medium deflection point) families remain relevant. The life cycle of each line will also be 24 months, which means that Bauer will introduce a new generation of sticks every year in turn: Vapor – 1 year – Nexus – 1 year – Vapor, and so on.

It is important to note that Bauer now does not emphasize the shooting style in separating the Vapor and Nexus families, as it was before. Both lines will meet the modern dynamic criteria of the game, and some details will distinguish them.

That’s what I thought when comparing the Vapor HyperLite and Nexus GEO. They were close in functionality and playability but differed in details: the shape of the grip, the feedback to the puck (clearer or softened and blurred), and its ease of handling, the responsiveness of the grip when flexing. It gives some distinction in their use, but I would guess – differences could be more profound further down the line.

Is this the end of the game? Supreme sticks will remain available for ordering by professional players, and it allows continuing playing with the models of this family by purchasing pro-stock sticks.

This information is relevant to the UltraSonic, but I don’t exclude that there may be variations with older models as well. Time will tell. History is cyclical, and today’s loss of relevance to the three-family philosophy doesn’t say it won’t return in the future. So I’m quite willing to accept that Supreme will return to the Bauer stick category after some time.

Published by Sergei Ermilov
November 25, 2022 (Updated November 25, 2022)