The True Catalyst 9X is True’s lightest stick to date. Taking some components from the Project X stick launch while adding some new blade technologies, the Catalyst 9X is 40 grams lighter than the 2019 XC9. True has also worked to improve durability at the same time which is a key focus for the entire Catalyst series.
While the feel, weight and new tech is amazing, the initial surprise for me on the Catalyst stick line was in the departure from the iconic “True blue” graphics. The use of bright yellow is a distinct new direction for the brand and now clearly separates it from their AX series. The Catalyst 9X features a mid-zone flex that loads easily and a stiff taper zone to maximize shooting and passing accuracy.
Two New Blade Core Technologies
BAT Technology – Braided Aramid Technology
True set out to replicate the feel of XCORE without the insert with a focus on dramatically reducing weight.
As a quick refresher, XCORE was the staple blade technology of the XC9 stick which utilized a compressed urethane insert in the heel of the blade. Although the puck dampening benefit was great, one of the complaints we sometimes heard was that it wasn't rigid enough.
In order to achieve their goal of balancing improved feel with reduced weight, True removed the XCORE insert and replaced the blade’s core with BAT Technology. BAT builds off of True’s BRT+ Technology but uses Aramid fiber (better known as Kevlar) instead of carbon. Aramid is lighter and dampens vibrations more efficiently than carbon for a better puck feel.
PASS Technology – Performance Advanced Strengthening System
The challenge was to build a less rigid blade without sacrificing durability. With more flexible blades, foam cores are more prone to breakdown, as there is more bending and twisting during play.
PASS is a new foam core technology that looks and performs exactly like a foam core but has a much higher strength property. Boasting a 50% higher compression strength for repeated impacts and 25% higher shear strength to resist foam breakdown over time, it certainly sounds promising.
PLD – Precision Laminate Design
Precision Laminate Design (PLD) is the optimization of fiber angles to provide stiffness and impact strength with each layer of material. In technical terms – there are fewer 0-degree plies used and more off-axis plies (15-45 degrees) to achieve stiffness while adding impact strength. In plain English – PLD allows weight reduction without a loss in impact strength.
True’s Axenic Technology returns. This seamless compression-molded shaft construction process gives an incredible feel for the puck which you notice instantly when stickhandling.
It took me a little while to get used to seeing a True stick that was black and yellow, but I think it brings a more modern look. There will probably be some True fans will take a bit longer to get on board with the new look but the product itself speaks loudest and this is a super lightweight stick that has feels great. Whichever side of the new look graphics you’re on, the Catalyst 9X is on point with how it performs.
Let’s face it, all the top end sticks are super light and feel great but if you’re paying top dollar for a performance stick you want it to hold up too. While we won’t know about durability for sure until the 9X is being played in rinks everywhere (fingers crossed that will be all of us soon), the new BAT, PASS and PLD technologies sound really promising to deliver on that elusive mix of performance and durability.
A handful of our staff were able to test the 9X on-ice and the reviews all came back really positive. Feedback included that it had good pop and shot placement was true (pardon the pun). There was also consistent feedback about it having nice puck feel when receiving hard passes.
While I spent a lot of time talking about new technology in this review, the most impressive thing to me is that True keeps raising the bar with releases like the 9X.
Whether you’re a True die-hard, or just looking for an excuse to spoil yourself when it’s time to get back on the ice, come by the shop and test out the Catalyst 9X stick in our shooting room to see for yourself.
Reviewed By: Chad Purdy
True Catalyst 9X Stick Gallery