Review: Dragon Hockey Hydra

Dragon Hockey is an up and coming brand based in the UK. This is the top of the range Dragon Hockey stick, it comes in a lovely black finish with a stealthy gray logo and Blue detailing, this one also has BFH on the back but you can customize with your own initials. The stick is 95% carbon, a touch compound on the face and features their I-core technology. My review stick weighed in at 518g and had a balance point at 37.6cm from the head. The stick sports a low bow with a 24mm bow with the max bow point being 23cm from the head of the stick.

Feel

The stick is very well balanced out ot the box. It has a high balance point and a low weight and so feels very light headed on the ball, this translates to excellent feel on the ball. Because the head is so light on the ball you can feel the extra weight as soon as the ball touches the stick, so you are always aware through the feedback on the ball where the ball is on the stick. This feel gives you a lot of confidence to pull off tight skills when under pressure as you know exactly where the ball is. This stick was a dream to perform lateral and V-drags with, as you have so much confidence on the ball position. There is always drawbacks that can be associated with certain attributes, because the stick is so low weight and the head is so light if you are not in a strong carry position at the point of a tackle coming it it is very for an aggressive tackle rto power through your stick, this is also true with stick tackles coming through the back of your stick, if your not strong on the ball, the tackler will knock the ball away this can make it very difficult for umpires to spot and so they might not award a free hit in your favour.

Hitting

With the sticks head being so light I was unsure about how the stick would hit the ball, as a head heavy stick tend to hit a little harder, but the Dragon didn’t disappoint and packed a surprisingly powerful hit for such a light stick. It also has a huge sweet spot as there were very very few hits where I felt any real feedback from mishits. Because it features such a large sweet spot it makes it easy to aim shots into the corners of the goal, this is because as long as you are hitting with good technique and hitting through the sweet spot the ball follows the line of the swing and you can control the elevation with the balls start position. I found it especially easy to smash the ball into the bottom corner of the goal. It is also great for clearing the ball down line. Because of the angling of the face makes it easy to lift the ball if you have it in front of your left foot, but it is not a full low bow so it is easier to hit the ball flat then some other dragflicking sticks but it is still important to remember when getting used to the stick. I am not going to lie to you and say its the hardest hitting stick out there, but I don’t think that the slightly reduced power to be really noticable when shooting or making long passes.
When slapping the ball you get good power and accuracy. You can add deception to the slap passes by rolling the ball down the bow to alter the hitting position. The power transfer and the sweet spot are very similar to upright hitting, so you hit the ball hard and accurate.

Reverse

The Hydra has a good reverse edge for hitting tomahawks. While it is not the thickest of edges I found it was excellent for generating power and blasting the ball at goal. I this stick fantastic for hitting the ball into the roof of the net picking out a spot right under the crossbar. I did find it hard to hit the ball flat to the ground with this stick, I could skim the ball along the deck so it was always low but wasn’t flat to the ground. This is off putting for teammates going for deflections at the back post, when you are shooting low and across goal. I found the stick to be good for upright reverses, as long as you were hitting through with the head of the stick, I found when I was hitting higher up the stick I wasn’t generating enough power to trouble a goalkeeper.

Flicking

Ths stick is for flicking as it features a low bow profile, the head is slightly shaped to help you get under the ball a little easier so that you can lift the ball onto your stick. Once you get under the ball it is easy to lift the ball over sticks past tackles or lifting it into space to run onto. With the ball in the air you can also do some midair redirections to take the ball away from a defender after avoiding a tackle. It is light head is great for using 3D skills as it it only takes a small amount of effort to lift the high enough to raise the ball over a stick.
It is just as easy to fire the ball into the goal as it is to lift it away from an incoming tackle. Once you are under the ball you can push the head of the stick in the direction you want to place the ball and as long as you follow through with the head of your stick then the ball will go where you are pointing. Because of the bow you can roll the ball up the stick a little and then whip through so the ball rolls back down and back off the head to add power to your flicks as long as you have the time. If you have the time to use the bow then you can easily ping the ball off the underside of the crossbar on a stroke so that the keeper doesn’t even have time to react.

Dragflicking/Aerial

Because this is not a full low bow, it doesn’t generate the same power as other rival sticks with a larger bow. But as with any stick with smaller bow you can still generate a lot of power with the correct technique but you can’t compensate as easily as with full low bows when things do not go as planned. Now because the stick requires you to focus on technique I think this stick is easy to aim with as you are concentrating the whole time while you are dragflicking, and as such you are more focused on directing the flick. The stick is also good for disguides flicks, you can use the bow similar to with slider passes to change the point of the release in a way that is hard for goalkeepers to read, it is easier with this stick then with a lot of other sticks I have used, I think this is due to the light head of the stick making it easier to maneuver the stick around the ball to make it so easy to disguise your flicks.
Even with the bow not being a full low bow this stick is still able to throw overheads about 30 yards relatively easily. The light head makes it easy to whip up through the ball around your right hand as a centre point making it really good for short distance aerials as you can get the ball to elevate very quickly upwards. For short (25-35 yard) aerials the accuracy is very good, you can almost drop the ball onto your players stick. Once you get your overheads passes under control then you can stretch this range out slowly, and I imagine with enough time with the stick you can probably stretch this passing range out to 50 yards but I was only able to get it up to about 40 yards during my review time with the stick and found that outside of this 40 yard range my accuracy dropped the further I tried to launch the ball down the pitch. Depending on your space when launching overhead passes you can gain extra distance if you don’t elevate the ball as quickly, 45 degrees is the perfect angle for both height and distance, but with the Dragon Hydra you can put the ball up at a 60 degree angle to drop the ball down so it’s easier to control and also throw a pass at a 30 degree angle to add more distance but the ball may bounce past your player when it is coming down. To me this control over aerials was one of the standout features of this Hydra sticks shape.

Summary

The Dragon Hockey Hydra stick is a great all rounder stick for any player. It is very well balanced and the light head is excellent for close skills and yet the stick still packs a punch when hitting. I really liked the using this stick for playing around in friendly interclub games as it was so fun to dribble around with and was great for short passes and flicks It is especially a great choice for any player who is looking to add power to a dragflick over a mid bow or a mid low bow stick but is not wanting to go to a full low bow. The stick I think would also be fantastic for anyone who uses a lot of overhead passes as with practice you can gain excellent accuracy.
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