CCM RBZ Hockey Skate Preview

By Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing

 

For the second time in under a year, CCM is making a huge splash with the launch of a new product.  Last year it was the RBZ stick, this year it is the RBZ skates.

One of CCM’s goals with the RBZ skate was to leave a lasting first impression by creating a skate with the best out of the box comfort available. With the RBZ, CCM added a true ankle lock and heel counter, this allows your foot to sit more comfortably and stably in the skate from the start. In previous models – U+ Pro and U+CL – neither of these features existed, relying on the skate’s highly moldable foam to create a snug fit. For some players it worked great, for others it didn’t. The new build ensures that all players will sit correctly in the back of the skate, and then still be highly moldable for an even better fit.

 

The quarter package is called CCM’s Speed Core and is made from their Action form foam. It is extremely moldable for a truly customized fit while still providing pro level stiffness. The skate inner liner is a pro comfort Clarino leather. The material is comfortable, dries quickly and is non-abrasive while skating. The liner is also constructed to overlap at seams to create smooth edges and not leave any potential spots for discomfort.

The RBZ also includes the new CCM custom support insoles. These are designed with 3 different arch heights – low, medium, high – to create the perfect support for each individual player. CCM created a device that can determine the arch height needs of each player, based on their foot. The purpose of these is to create full contact between the foot and the skate. This improves speed on the ice through improved foot reaction speed. It also helps to properly align the body, reducing the risk of injury and increasing performance.

CCM also did some creative things with the lacing system. First the top eyelets are made of brass; this makes them stronger and more durable to reduce the risk of failure. The eyelet pattern itself is closer in the forefoot, allowing for a better foot wrap and more snug fit. In the top half of the skate, the eyelets are a bit stiffer and wider, providing adequate space for forward flex in stride. The RBZ tongue is made from pro-style white felt with injected foam. This helps to prevent lace-bite and the tongue will actually mold to your foot through heat molding and during the break-in period.

One of the biggest moves from CCM this year is the introduction of the Speed Blade 4.0 holder.  The holder features industry standard holes, so no re-drilling if you ever want to put the Speed Blade 4.0 on another manufacturer’s boot. The SB 4.0 is 4MM higher off the ice compared to CCM’s previous holder. This added height increases turning radius by 10%, giving you the ability to be more aggressive when turning without the risk of “bottoming out” the holder. The Hyperglide steel runner is a polished steel runner. It is designed to increase glide on the ice and reduce friction. Less friction combined with the harder steel provides longer edge life, meaning less lost edges.

The CCM RBZ Skates are up for pre-sale now on PureHockey.com and will be available in store on July 19th

 


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 TotalOne NXG Hockey Glove Preview

Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing

 

Getting the redesign for the 2013 season are Bauer’s Supreme glove, with the unveiling of the TotalOneNXG. Bauer’s anatomical fit glove, will be a natural, close to the hand fit.
One of the biggest points of emphasis in redesigning the Supreme glove was protection. Bauer added PORON XRD foam into the inside of the backhand of the glove. PORON XRD is one of the most advanced impact absorption materials in hockey. The foam is soft enough that it conforms well, creating a very customized fit inside the glove, and as mentioned has great protective properties.

Bauer also added what they are calling their “Pro-Fluence Palm”. This palm is a single layer construction, with strategic reinforcements. It has bonded PU zones in high wear areas, along with grip sections to maximize your stick control.
Another nice feature on the Supreme glove is the triple-segmented index finger, which adds a lot of control on your stick. The biggest improvement in my eyes was the work done to the glove’s cuff. I felt the TotalOne had a piece running on the inside of the cuff that really decreased wrist movement. The new pro style cuff is much more mobile, and a huge improvement. Look for these at Pure Hockey stores and PureHockey.com in mid-April 2013.


Easton Hockey: Invention vs. Improvement Part 1

By Kyle Stevenson

Easton’s new mantra? Invention vs. Improvement. It’s that simple. On March 21, we were lucky enough to get to talk to some of Easton Hockey’s top designers, learn about their new product and then demo it out on the ice. Easton sees a hockey equipment industry that is continually taking the best selling skate or stick and saying, “what can we do to improve it or put our spin on it?” Bucking this trend, the people at Easton went back to the drawing board and built products from the ground up. Invent, don’t just improve.

This strategy is staggeringly simple, but in a way brilliant. They brought in two guys, Dave Cruikshank and Scott Bjugstad, who really know their stuff. Cruickshank is a four-time Olympic speed skater and NHL skating coach. Bjugstad is an eight-year NHL veteran (1984-1992) who played on the 1984 US Olypic hockey team and then with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings and Minnesota North Stars. Easton brought them on board and let them do their thing. Good move.

While most of the industry tried to continue building stiffer and stiffer skates, Cruikshank considered the mechanics of skating and built a skate around that. The goal: build a boot to do what a player needs it to do, as opposed to building a boot and trying to make it do what the company thinks it should. If you look at a particular skate model and see it tending to breakdown a certain way, or in particular spots, it shows that players are trying to naturally do something in it that the skate can’t do. Cruickshank and the design team took the three major aspects of skating – Downforce, Push Direction and Tempo. Then he built a skate around them.

The Mako Skate is designed for more feedback on the ice and better control of your skates. The CNT (Connect) Holder and runner are named for their purpose -  to connect you to the ice. At first blush, even skating on them for a short period, it is clear they do just that. My first question was this – did they widen the steel? The runner itself felt so much more stable than Easton’s previous holder, the RBII. I was assured they hadn’t and it was simply the design that helped to give a hockey player that much more stable feeling.

I’m not going to go into much depth for review – check back soon for that – as I was only on them for a quick skate, but I was amazed at how quick you could get from one edge to the other. The other thing that caught me was how low you can get on these skates when turning. You truly need to get your mind over it and keep pushing it, because you won’t believe it until it happens. You just have to trust the edges and go for it.  I kept trying to turn harder and lower, thinking I was going to slide out, but the skates kept holding up. Its honestly something you don’t believe until you try it.

Easton Mako Skates are available now right here at Pure Hockey. Check back soon for Part II, where we will go through the technology and invention of the Mako 2 stick. In the meantime, here’s a video we did with Neil Wensley, Easton’s Product Manager for skates, that explores the skates a little more detail. Easton is really onto something here.