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.


Easton Mako Hockey Skate Preview

By Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing
One of the most anticipated hockey skate releases of this year is the Easton Mako skate. The Mako is built from the technology behind the MLX skate, which is now part of Easton through an acquisition. As those who’ve read this blog before know, I’m a big Easton fan and I wear Easton skates. After a couple years of doubt and trials, Easton has taken the extremely customized MLX skate and made it into a viable production model. Easton’s ‘Chief of Speed’ (don’t we all wish we could have a title like that?) Dave Cruikshank designed the MLX skate a few years back when he, as a skating coach, realized he didn’t have the ability to move in a natural, efficient way while wearing a typical hockey skate.


So Cruickshank set off to make the MLX skate, allowing for natural movement in an anatomically designed skate. This idea is the basis for the Mako skate design, giving a new sense of freedom with much less restriction than what you may find in other skates. Basically this is an attempt on Easton’s part to rethink hockey skates instead of continuing the pattern or slippery slope of all the manufacturers competing to just make the stiffest skate imaginable.


As far as features go, the Mako skate is loaded up. Some interesting new things really differentiate the Mako from its competition. The new tongue set-up is a nice, pro style felt tongue with a protective guard, but that’s not really the interesting part. Easton took the tongue and integrated its connection directly into the toe box. This gets rid of any overlap and negative space in the toe box. The tongue itself is also heat moldable, and forms a snugger, more customized fit.


Another great feature is the asymmetric design in the ankle, which allows the skate to fall in line with the direction you’re pushing. This generates power and stability through turns. The Mako makes high-speed cornering much easier, sharper and quicker. The skate also sits on the new CXN holder from Easton and the holder has a very aggressive pitch, working in tandem with the skate’s great range of motion to place you over the front of the skate, without being unbalanced. The pitch creates more downforce into the ice, leading to a more explosive stride and once again more powerful, quicker cornering. The CXN holder is super light and its steel comes stock with a 9 FT radius.


The very flexible Extendon guard promotes a huge range of motion, with very little restriction. The guard itself is actually replaceable with two simple screws. I personaly like this feature. From my time in shops, I saw a good amount of skates come in with a boot in fine shape, but a torn or broken tendon guard. I actually saw this mostly on newer skates with the really stiff guards. Tendon guards – like any other part of the skate – shouldn’t break on their own, but it’s always reassuring that if something happens to one, you don’t need to replace the entire skate. The only potential negative here is that there’s a small crease where the guard meets the rest of the boot (the attachment point) and if you skate barefoot, I see some potential for some abrasion there. But time will tell. It may or may not be an issue – we’ll report back when we test them out.


One of the other much talked about features of the Mako skate is the bake time. The skate is fully heat moldable. I heard someone describe it as the last step before going over to getting a custom skate. This is true. The skate is designed to be an extremely custom fit. It must be heat molded for an unheard of 16 minutes and then you’ll need to sit still in the boots until they are cool. So bring your iPad or a book when you go get these.

 

I think the Mako is really going to be a hit. It feels good right out of the box, and it really, truly feels like a slipper when it’s heated up. Easton has really done a great job with this skate and I highly recommend that you get out and try a pair on. They are well worth the attention they have been getting.


Reebok 20K Hockey Stick Preview

By Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing

The fall season is always a fun one, the season is starting up, and new equipment is being released left and right. One of the most anticipated sticks of 2012 is the new Reebok 20K.

The first feature you’ll notice when first picking up the 20K is one of my favorites, the new Dual Grip. This gives a matte, smooth finish on the bottom half of the length of the shaft, and Reebok’s Griptonite coating on the top half. What this does, is allows you to have great freedom to slide your bottom hand without your gloves getting stuck on an overly tacky shaft, but still gives you great grip to keep the stick squared on shots creating a lot of torque. I really like this feature, as I feel that I often get caught between the grip models being too sticky, and the clear models being too slippery. This is a great medium.
Reebok also utilizes their Pure Fiber technology in the 20K Stick for 2012. This process is Reebok’s way of constructing the stick to be a true one piece, as opposed to having a fusion point. This reduces the weight in the lower part of the shaft and hosel, by minimizing the amount of composite material needed.
The next two biggest technologies in the 20K are both involving the blade. Reebok’s upgrade to their blade wrapping technique, the Dual Matrix II. This involves angling the carbon fiber on the backhand side of the blade at 45? and at 90? on the forehand side. This causes tension between the sides on shots, creating a slingshot effect to generate what Reebok calls the “Hyper Release”. The other blade feature, and the one I’m excited about is the AccuBlade Technology. The heel of the blade has good stiffness, and the blade gets stiffer towards the toe, effectively eliminating blade torque on shots. Personally, I take most of my shots off the toe half of the blade, so a blade that doesn’t deflect back with shot pressure is huge.
The 20K is available at all Pure Hockey Locations and PureHockey.com