Cascade M11 Hockey Helmet Review

By Jeff Copetas, VP of Marketing & E-Commerce

Last week the kind folks at Cascade sent me the spec sheet and some photos of the brand new Cascade “M11 Pro” hockey helmet, which is due out this spring and will be the successor to the M11. As you probably know, the M11 was born from The Messier Project, which is a collaboration between NHL Hall-of-Famer Mark Messier and a collection of other NHL players – and also players of all ages from the AHL down to regional youth hockey players. The aim is simple – to make a helmet that provides the best possible technology and protection possible.

While NO helmet will prevent concussions, the original M11’s core mission was to minimize the risk of concussions as much as humanly possible through technology. I won’t go through the technology here because that’s not the point of the post today – and you can find plenty of information out there on the technology behind it, especially at The Messier Project’s page. Suffice it to say, about a year-and-a-half ago when I was in need of a new helmet, I did relatively extensive research into the technology behind helmets. I say “relatively” because I’m a men’s league player who usually plays twice a week, sometimes three, so the hitting is minimal. I am at far less risk than the high school or college player who plays the hitting game, but nonetheless, one still has to be mindful of such things, even in men’s league play. If you’re in the hitting game, this is potentially one of the most important purchases you’ll make. Your parents probably feel even more strongly about that one.

OK, so what’s my point then? Well, I want to give you a little detail about how my 1.5 year old M11 has held up and if it is standing the test of time well enough. We call this our “long-term reviews” here on the blog. In doing some quick math, I’ve had the helmet for about 72 weeks now and since I’m playing twice a week, let’s just say that I’ve used it around 150 times (the total is probably more, but I’ll stay conservative). I chose the black M11 with some red trim; it’s a combo and I left the stock M11 cage on there. Some people are picky about cages, I am not, though after watching Daniel Paille of the Bruins on Pure Hockey’s Gear Tips from the Pros series, I now love the idea of either getting a cage or painting the inside of one white for slightly better sight.

What really sold me on the helmet (moreso than the technology) was the comfort. For me, there was nothing even close. I tried the Bauer 9900 series, the 4500 series and I also tried the Easton S19’s and threw on a Reebok 9K for good measure. Nothing even approached the comfort I had in the M11. So with the relative lack of contact in men’s leagues, it wasn’t much of a decision. As soon as I put on the M11, I knew I was buying it. Negatives? Well, it doesn’t look too much like a traditional hockey helmet and Cascade has taken their lumps for this. For me personally, looks take a distant back seat to comfort and protection anyway, so I don’t care. I know a lot of you do very much care about  how it looks and that is certainly fine. I think if you look at the M11 Pro pics from the link above, you’ll see that Cascade is going down the road towards a more trad-looking helmet anyway.

So, the helmet itself has held up incredibly well. There are absolutely NO cracks anywhere. The straps and snaps are all original and have held up perfect, the interior pad inserts have the expected minor wear-and-tear associated with 150+ uses and have not dislodged once. The chin-piece is original and as you can see, in pretty amazing shape. The cage-stops (J-clips) and its screws are also still original and have not moved one iota, unlike a lot of my past helmets, where the screws always seemed to loosen and needed frequent tightening and/or entire J-clip replacement. The cage itself, somehow, has virtually no rusting or discoloration on it, something I have never experienced in a helmet. Granted, everyone cares for their gear in different ways, I always air mine out on a rack after playing, so cage condition, much like most of your other gear, is entirely based on your care for it. The one thing I have had to replace is one of the top screws which holds the cage to the helmet.

I like to keep my helmet ever-so-slightly on the loose side. Too tight and I just get headaches, so I get as close to tight as I can without casuing that to happen. Even though I do play non-hit men’s league, hits still occasionally happen – as do accidents and collisions – and I can tell you I’ve taken my fair share of whacks on the helmet from pucks, errant sticks, collisions, etc. The thing has held up like a champ. As far as comfort, it’s still there. Insanely comfortable.

All of this obviously bodes well for the M11 Pro that’s coming out soon. But if you’re thinking about the orignal M11, from my perspective you cannot go wrong. This is a really solid, comfortable hockey helmet and well-worth the price. You have a vast amount of colors and styles to pick from right here. You can also build your own custom M11.  Pics below, ask us if you have any questions!


Easton E700 Hockey Helmet Review

By Kyle Stevenson (Pure Hockey Marketing)

While working here at the Pure Hockey office, I’ve had a unique chance to try out some equipment I might not have necessarily tried out or bought otherwise. The latest example was that I got home with an early Christmas gift back in December – a chance to test out the new E700 hockey helmet from Easton Hockey. Let me start by saying that I have been wearing the Bauer 4500 (the timeless classic!) exclusively since I was in middle school. Never even bothered to look for an alternate.

Some people have the misconception that Easton has only been in the helmet business for a few seasons and therefore probably aren’t the best option. This thought actually couldn’t be further from the truth. While Easton may have recently jumped into the hockey helmet business, Easton Bell sports is the largest and one of the most trusted helmet makers in sports. The company produces helmets under several brands, all of which are highly popular within their respective sports. Bell Helmets are one of the most popular motorcycle and dirt bike head protection makers, while Riddell is one of the most widely worn football helmets available. Giro makes high performance and highly popular bicycle helmets, and Easton is one of the most prominent Baseball/Softball helmet producers out there.

That’s all fine and dandy, a glowing review and brag sheet for Easton Bell sports, but what differentiates them from many other companies is the way they manage to apply their innovations to each product across multiple sports. There are obviously very different demands for a bicycle racing helmets and  hockey helmets, but Easton has broken down products to more basic technologies and found ways to apply new technologies across the board.

The first thing I noticed when I picked up the E700 was the weight. This helmet is just silly light. I pulled it out of my bag and it definitely drew some glances – and eventually ended up being passed around the room for all to see. And the lightness of the helmet was the most commented on feature by everyone in the room.  Another thing I noticed was that the helmet is very well balanced; it wasn’t too heavily weighed in the front or the back so as to make my head lean or uncomfortable.

The biggest worry I get when I see or hold a really light helmet is protection, when a helmet feels light like that, it tends to feel pretty weak and not all that safe. The E700 is a huge improvement in this department. The helmet feels very sturdy, which I did not think was the case with the S-19.  The E700’s ventilation wasn’t the greatest, but it wasn’t really a problem either. I put my Oakley visor on it and it fit well with no issues getting it on. My only real issue that could potentially stop me from wearing it is an extremely shallow one, even though I do love the design itself – so sleek –  and the matte black is just filthy looking and the helmet is relatively high profile. It appears pretty large on your head.

I thought that the S-19 Helmet was pretty rough sitting on my head, it created some pressure points and I didn’t find the padding particularly comfortable. The E700 is honestly one of the more comfortable I have put on in recent memory. The comfort padding really offsets the hardness of the EPP foam, a feat I find rare with EPP foam helmets. The Giro Fit system does a great job of getting under the back of your head and really contouring to keep the helmet in place. Fitting the helmet is effortless, literally, just put it on and the Giro Fit holds it in place. I think this is a huge improvement over the S-19’s baseball cap style fit system, which was annoying to change and tough to get perfect.

All in all, I thought Easton’s E700 Helmet was a great all around option. One of the first helmets to make me seriously consider bailing on the 4500. At $149.99, it is a higher quality, and more comfortable option than its predecessor the S-19, and for a lower price. You can get yourself one of these helmets by clicking right here.