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91 days of Stamkos: Day 39, Bauer power

Who loves Steven Stamkos enough to make him one of the faces of their brand? Bauer does.

Detroit Red Wings v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

What does a player’s equipment say about the player? In the case of Steven Stamkos, it points to a few interesting things. First, that he’s had a long-standing sponsorship deal with Bauer that does not seem to be at an end, and second, that Stamkos is willing to try out technologically innovative gear.

Players tend to regard their equipment like the people of Middle Earth regarded their weapons: players give them mythic back stories, they care for them carefully, and they prepare them as if they are preparing for battle. For example in one extended clip for Bauer, Stamkos discusses the various rituals he enacts with his gear.

In this clip, Stamkos mentions that he always tapes his stick with the same color, and draws eyes on the blade if he’s in a slump, or tosses it briefly into the garbage to symbolize that it should give him a garbage goal. If he’s streaking, he’ll keep the same stick, saving it for games rather than practicing with it, and keeping it for as long as he can.

Stamkos also likes to incorporate red into his stick, because it picks up the colors of the goal light. With all of these rituals and traditions, it’s a shame that sticks don’t stick around for long enough to earn names, kind of like how Aragorn renamed the re-forged sword Narsil, “Anduril.”

Bauer has a stick curve named after him — the PM9 “Stamkos/Malkin” curve. Stamkos uses a Bauer Supreme stick. Whether or not he uses his own curve is hard to say, but here are a few Bauer spots in which Stamkos demonstrates his skill with his blade. Can you tell which curve it is?

The famous “Breaking Things” one:

The “Field Goal Challenge” one (spoiler, he makes 91 yards):

And the “Driving Range” one:

Bauer also furnishes Stamkos’ footwear. As of 2015, photographs identify him as wearing Bauer Vapor 1X skates, and photos from November 2016 (before his accident) show him in very similar shoes. If it works, don’t mess with it!

So far so good, but Stamkos’ helmet gets into some sticky territory. Back in 2012, at the NHL All-Star Game, Bauer made a big fuss about an innovative helmet called the RE-AKT. They called in Claude Giroux and Stamkos to talk about the helmet, and Stamkos revealed that he is open to exploring different types of gear if there’s a solid technological reason for the change.

Stamkos cited concussion statistics in his willingness to try out the RE-AKT helmet. In the Bauer video, he says:

It was alarming in the last year and a half, the amount of concussions that were being diagnosed, and the amount of time guys were missing, obviously with Sid and his situation. That opened up a lot of eyes as well, and we talk about it more, and people become more aware. I can only speak for myself, but I've really started to take an interest in knowing about the technology and the equipment and what's the safest.

You're never going to not have concussions but you're just more aware of what happens now, and obviously you're erring on the side of caution when it comes to those injuries. But obviously when you see technology like this, as a player you definitely feel a lot more confident and comfortable going on the ice.

Players do realize the risks that they take when they go on the ice, but obviously as a player you don't have the knowledge of the technology that bauer does in order to put it into the helmet. As a Bauer athlete, I definitely feel a lot safer going out in products like this.

Sadly, the Bauer RE-AKT helmet did not work quite as promised, earning only one ranking in the STAR performance test from the Virginia Tech helmet testing lab. Bauer has since redesigned the RE-AKT helmet, with the newest version of the helmet, RE-AKT 75, earning a ranking of three STARs.

Does Stamkos still wear the RE-AKT? He does not. Current photos show that he wears the Bauer 4500, a helmet that comes with the sad but legally necessary disclaimer that “Experts state that concussions are mainly due to acceleration or deceleration of the brain, and helmets may not prevent concussions caused by these forces.” Bauer 4500 only earns a one-star ranking on the STAR chart, so let’s cross our fingers that Stamkos’ wheels will always carry him away from trouble.

One bit of gear is left, Stamkos’ gloves. According to Bauer advertising, he wears the Bauer Supreme Totalone gloves.

Keep dem mitts safe, Stamkos!

Despite the fact that Stamkos has not done a video for Bauer since 2014, he still appears on their site as an endorsed athlete. Bauer has gone through some troubled times recently, with its parent company in the midst of legal battles due to falsifying profit. But Bauer keeps signing new hockey players to endorsement deals, so perhaps not all is lost. I hope so, for the sake of future ads in which Stamkos destroys stuff!