Hockey: Day of the Banana Stick

During a practice session seven years ago, the Chicago Black Hawks' Stan Mi-kita split the flat, straight blade of his hockey stick into a haphazard V-shape.

Without pausing to change sticks, Mi-kita continued playing and to his sur prise found that he could rip off a shot faster and harder with his crooked cud gel. Soon he and Teammate Bobby Hull were warping the wooden blades of their sticks into scooplike curves by soaking them in hot water and wedging them under door jambs overnight.

Changing the Style. While some rival players scoffed at...

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