How the coronavirus is creating an NHL stick shortage

The coronavirus is impacting the health and lives of many around the world. There have been 43,708 confirmed cases and 1,018 deaths linked to the illness, according to CBS News. With the Chinese government stopping travel and work, companies are being impacted. That includes companies that make sticks for the National Hockey League.

Around 75% of sticks used on the ice by NHL players come from Chinese factories, with Bauer, CCM and True Hockey all getting products and components from the country, NBC broadcaster Pierre McGuire said during the Sabres vs. Red Wings game on Tuesday.

A travel halt in China means the league has not received a new shipment of sticks since January and, according to McGuire, NHL equipment managers have informed him there is a "major shortage."

Bauer told the Boston Globe that the claims are not totally accurate, but that does not mean they aren't concerned. 

Players are also aware that there is a stick shortage, and with no insight on when travel will resume, they are being extra careful with what they do have. 

"I've been kind of looking for some, and I think they're kind of slowed up a bit for obvious — for a good reason," Boston Bruins forward Charlie Coyle, who uses CCM sticks, told the Boston Globe. "So I am trying to make do. Trying not to break too many right now."

Anyone who has watched even a few minutes of a professional hockey game knows these guys go through sticks a lot more than someone playing pond hockey with their friends, and some players are reportedly trying to limit the number of sticks they use. According to McGuire, one equipment manager told him players were "using a one-stick limit for practice and maybe two for games."

Dan Mecrones, who overlooks pro league and player endorsements at Warrior, an equipment company that does not ship out of China, told the Globe that players who endorse other brands have reached out to him about a potential switch. He also said his company was extending hours to ensure they have enough sticks to provide other players, if it comes to that.

Bauer Hockey CEO Ed Kinnaly eased some of the concern, telling the Boston Globe that the company has "backup stock in the U.S. and Canada to meet these needs."

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