Hockey gear with two-way protection, a promising trend…

The following is an opinion piece. No research studies were conducted, it is my opinion and I’m just a player who has spent his life in the game and around the gear industry.

There’s a lot of talk about in sports in general nowadays about head injuries and it seems there are many more concussions being reported. In my opinion, it’s a product of a few things. First and foremost, what we know and understand about head injuries in general. The medical community has shown the severity and consequences of concussions, leading players and coaches to take them a lot more seriously and make decisions with far more caution. Gone are the days of getting hit, sniffing the smelling salts and jumping back out for your next shift. This is for good reason – coaches, parents and players are beginning to make smarter decisions regarding concussions.

There are obviously more concussions being diagnosed today, partially because fewer concussions are being ignored and part because there are more occurring. I don’t believe that there used to be fewer and now there are a ton. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. I’m going to totally make up some numbers here, but hey, that’s the beauty of blogs – I get to voice my opinion! If there were 100 concussions that occurred back in the day, I’d guess 30-40% were reported and diagnosed. Today there’s more concussions happening and I’d guess 75-80% of them are reported. To the naked eye, it seems like there’s 3 times as many concussions happening, but I don’t believe it’s as huge as it seems.

In my own opinion, one of the problems is the advances in equipment. There have been some amazing, great advances in protective hockey equipment that have elevated the game. It’s a faster game, players are bigger (see: John Scott, Zdeno Chara, Tyler Myers), they hit harder, skate faster and shoot harder. Players are much more protected than in the days of leather elbow pads, tiny shoulder pads and no helmets, which is great!

The flip side of that coin is that the players are much more protected, which might be a bad thing! The protection level of modern day equipment gives many players a sense of invincibility. The attitude becomes “it doesn’t hurt me, it must not hurt him.” I say this because I believe in my heart of hearts, most hockey players have enough respect for the game and opponents that they don’t look to intentionally injure another player.

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Bauer TotalOne NXG Shin Guard, Shoulder Pad and Elbow Pad Preview

By Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing

For 2013, Bauer will be launching their newest protective line, the Supreme TotalOne NXG line. The NXG will be the anatomical fit line from Bauer, fitting naturally, and close to the body. A big upgrade to the entire line is the across the board addition of PORON XRD Foam, one of the most advanced impact absorbing materials in hockey.

Starting with the TotalOne NXG Shoulder Pads, there were many upgrades to this year’s model from the previous. Returning to the pad are things like the Free Flex chest, allowing maximum mobility, and the Thermo-Max+ Liner to keep the pad nice and light. Again it will have the removable abdominal pad, for more protection if you need it or less weight and more mobility if you choose.

The shoulder pad got its PORON XRD upgrade in the sternum area, for the some of the best heart protection you will find in any pad. The mid body of the pad was outfitted with Bauer’s Vent Armor foam, for great protection, while still being seriously light. The Vent Armor Foam was also added to the shoulder caps, with a really creative new design by Bauer, wrapping a layer onto the cap. The goal is to make the pad softer, and safer for both the player making the hit, and receiving it. The new cap softens impacts by 25% compared to the previous TotalOne model.

The NXG also has an adjustable, free flex bicep guard, with a sleeve fit, for the most secure and custom fit.
The NXG Elbow Pads have received mostly material upgrades rather than design. Getting the PORON XRD treatment in the inside cup of the elbow, this adds impact protection and comfort, as the foam will contour to your elbow. The cap has a softer outermost cover. The bicep guard and the forearm slash guard are now both made of Vent Armor Foam for added protection and reduced weight. It features the same anchor strap system as last years pad.

The TotalOne NXG Shin Guard comes back again with the F-One Shell, which is a layer of High-Density Foam sandwiched between two layers of hard plastic. The knee donut has been updated with PORON XRD Foam form maximum protection and fit. The shin pads fit naturally and close to the body throughout the kneecap and the shin to be comfortable and low profile.


Bauer Nexus Protective Gear Preview

Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing

 

Bauer’s new protective line for 2012 is the Nexus 1000 series. This line was designed 100% based on customer feedback to Bauer, from pros all the way down to beginners. They wanted more classic, wider-fitting protective equipment, so Bauer went and designed the Nexus line, which is a volume fit all the way through, from the shin pad, the shoulder pad, and the elbow pad. It features Bauer’s new EPP foam construction, which is a lightweight EPP foam and posesses superior impact-dispersion properties compared to previously used foams, while still being lighter. The Bauer Nexus 1000 Shoulder Pads feature that lightweight EPP foam and they designed the chest panels to be in different pieces, so it won’t be one big piece. This won’t restrict your movement, but will still be very protective. They have the poly bicep guard, which has a nice hard plastic for impact absorbance, so if you take a slash or a hit from some dirty hacker, it’ll be nice and protective for you. The shoulder caps are anatomically designed, which means they are designed to match the shape of your shoulder, so they will sit more flush and be a lot more comfortable. They also won’t sit too high or look goofy. The back pad, along the spine and down and through the abdomen by your kidneys, will feature that same lightweight EPP foam, with poly inserts all over them for a little bit more protection. Finally, the inside of the entire pad features Bauer’s THERMO-MAX+ liner which will wick away moisture keeping it nice and light during the game.

 

Next up is the Nexus 1000 Elbow Pad. This elbow pad features Bauer’s anchor strap and it’s a really comfortable strap that holds dow nicely, it’s adjustable and not at all like the pads that have the straight sling in them that you’re sliding your arm through with no adjustment. Very nice and comfortable. It has that lightweight EPP foam and poly insert on the forearm wrap, and then it’s a hard plastic, covered elbow cap. Again, this features Bauer’s THERMO-MAX+ liner to wick away moisture and keep you nice and dry and cool down during the game.

 

The Bauer Nexus 1000 Shin Pad features an anatomical design in their shell. It’s has a poly shell up in the knee and down in the shin. The shin has some slight little ribbing to it which will provide a little bit stronger of a structure and allow for it to take a little bit more of a beating. On the back is the calf wrap, with lightweight EPP foam and a poly insert just for a little bit more protection. Similar to what you saw in the elbow pad, it has this kind of anchor strap – it’s called the shin sling, which will be a little bit more comfortable strap to keep your shin pad nice and tight to your leg. This pad also includes the stretch Velcro straps – what Bauer added is adjustability; there are 2 different spots you can put it in for each strap, one higher and one lower. It’s just going to be a little bit more of a comfort thing and you can customize the fit a little bit more. On the inside, it’s got a pro mesh liner, which actually is completely removable.  It’s a really breathable liner, and it’s also nice, you can take that thing right out and throw it in the wash and your bag won’t stink quite as bad as normal. This pad is actually very similar to something I was wearing for a long, long time, the old Bauer Vapor 10 shin pads, which I was wearing when it was the top model pad. It’s got that nice wide fit, a very similar design on the shell, and it sat back on my knee very well, a nice wide surface for shot blocking. I just loved those pads and this pad really reminds me of those old Vapor’s, especially that really breathable liner and it’s got a nice hold in the knee. This pad, like I mentioned with the whole Nexus line, was designed by basically player requests. And this what all the players were looking for, something that fit like that old classic style shin pad, a little bit wider face, a nice deep fit and that’s what they did for the Nexus 1000 shin pad.

 

So that was the Nexus 1000 line, and for those of you interested in that, you may also be interested in the Nexus Pro line, it’s exclusive to Pure Hockey. It shares most of the same features as the Nexus 1000, with the nice limited edition black color. As you can see, it’s got the same adjustable straps, removable liners, anchor straps, the shoulder pad has the same thing, it’s got that triple bicep pad, so again, the Nexus 1000 line, and the Nexus Pro line, available at Purehockey.com and all Pure Hockey locations.

Here’s a video we did recently, so you can see the Nexus 1000 line with some close-ups. Let us know if you have any questions!