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2020 - The Year of the Gear


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The Year of the Gear

Maybe I am getting too sensitive to a few comments on the ‘gram, maybe this whole TGN thing has gotten big enough that’s its not “cottage” anymore, maybe the equipment companies are putting a larger focus on social selling, or maybe it’s inevitable that some haters got picked up along the way… but it feels like there is some skepticism in my posts about some of the 2020 releases. For my money, 2020 is going to be looked back at one of the best years for new gear in history… Is there a better way to kick off the new decade?

Did I queue any eye rolls yet? Probably and figured I’d get a few… let’s flush this out though and see why there’s so much hype. But, before we go on though, please consider one thing first… My credibility is on the line anytime I say something like “get excited about new product X”.

I will be the first to admit that TGN is supposed to be fun. I never want goalie pad graphics or glove breaks to be taken too seriously. However, please don’t overlook that it’s taken an immense amount of work to get everything TheGoalNet related to this point. There’s been a ton of help along the way, it’s not a solo effort at all, and I truly appreciate all the contributions from the #GoalieCrowd or the insider company support.

The one thing that is most personally tied to my credibility is the reviews. If I say something has hot rebounds and it does not, this could all fizzle out pretty abruptly. If it’s not obvious, I take what is said in the reviews seriously. It’s my hope that the reviews and deep dives are informative and educational to everyone. Pro level goalie gear is insanely expensively and I want to make sure no one is wasting their cash. With this approach, it’s my hope that I have built up some credibility within the #GoalieCrowd.

That anticipated credibility is what sparked this article. I would never say a product is good if it stunk. I would never be interested in a piece of gear if it didn’t have an interesting story around it. That brings us to 2020... This year IS going to be VERY exciting.

Since TGN has started, there’s never been a bigger year in goalie equipment. Many could argue that in recent memory 2014 was bigger with OD1N’s first emergence or GNetik and EFlex both launching as 2013 product was a massive year… But, TGN Didn’t exist then.

 

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The biggest launch to date since TheGoalNet has started was Optik. Looking back 2 full years later, Optik was a much bigger release than I realized in the moment. I feel like many of the new products we have seen since then are definitely Optik inspired and it’s a topic that sorta flies under the radar.

 

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That’s the perfect tie in to 2020 products because Optik 2 was the first to release. As mentioned a moment ago, Optik is a pad that seems to be very often imitated. As to be expected with any completely new product in any space, there were a couple oversights with that line. To put this in context, let’s not forgot iPhone 1 didn’t launch with picture messaging. I love that Brian’s was very open about updating those features with Optik 2 and it truly is Brian’s most polished line to date.  The glove is the best I have used thus far. The Max core pads deliver on being more stable than FLY or FLX.

 

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In summary, Brian’s took all of the great performance of Optik and corrected the few shortcomings. It’s a very complete product without many holes in it… Exactly how’d you want someone to describe the technical aspect of your game, right?

 

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And for the stuff not yet at retail, I can safely to get excited...Even with my credibility on the line!

With everyone doing “best of the decade” lists, it’s tough not to reflect that mentality with goalie pads. I would say that OD1N / 1S was the biggest release of the last decade. To me, it awoke the sleeping giant that was the goalie department of hockey’s biggest brand. In hindsight, it completely changed how we talked about goalie pads. “How fast do they slide?”, “how big  are the rebounds?”, or “is that graphic printed?” are not topics before discussed before OD1N.

 

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In 2020, Bauer is providing the biggest update to their line since the 1S. With each new Supreme and Vapor release since 1S in 2016, Bauer has subtly evolved the product line. With a technologically advanced base product to start with, Bauer has had the fortune of just focusing on refinement. Improving the durability, making custom options available at retail, etc have been their focus. I think the 2X Pro was the culmination of those efforts.

 

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With Supreme Ultra Sonic, Bauer is back to surprising the market with new features. Unfortunately, can’t share too much at this time, but there is something on the pads that is a first to market feature. It’s something I had been wondering about for years and was curious why it wasn’t on pads… I had just assumed it was considered “too performance enhancing” by the NHL and illegal. Fortunately for us, its not and I can’t wait to try it.

 

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With the gloves, Bauer has continued to refine the product line as referenced above. I believe Ultra Sonic’s new internal features on the glove and blocker will win over some of the previous skeptics. My self-included in that group. If I was doing superlatives, I would not rate the current Bauer gloves as the most comfortable… That could change.  

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Anyone heard of Axis? This is CCM’s first completely new line since 2013. It replaces what is probably the most iconic line goaltending history with the Premier.  As with the other unreleased gear, the technical specifications of unreleased gear needs to be respected… but I feel like CCM truly made a goalie pad designed to fit exactly what today’s goalies are asking for. This is based off Premier and EFlex feedback from their number 1 position in the NHL, feeder leagues, and at retail. Although this pad replaces the Premier, I could definitely see CCM converting some goalies who would traditionally custom order a stiffer version of the EFlex too.

 

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Warrior is a brand that I have yet to demo, but I feel like they have one of the most loyal followings of any brands. It feels like once Warrior converts a goalie with the recent releases, they rarely go back. It’s also extremely impressive considering they don’t rely on the NHL based marketing scheme that nearly any other major brand has relied on since the beginning of hockey equipment.

 

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With the G5, I expect Warrior to enhance their existing product. I think the interesting part will be how they tell us about the new features. I would look for Warrior to explain the technology in their product and how it can benefit you as a goalie like we’ve never seen before.

Vaughn is another brand I have not spent too much time on ice with. I have demoed a couple different Velocity pads over the years and used some Jimmy Howard pro return stuff for a few months. I have not personally tested any of the newer Velocity or SLR lines. With V9, it feels like Vaughn is updating a lot of the items they been “chirped” about over the years.

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The VE8 magnetic straps and carbon impregnated plastic are gone in favor of technology I believe goalies will respect. According to the marking literature I have seen, Vaughn has added full Velcro strapping and true carbon fiber inside the product. The Quick Slide, which debuted on SLR2, is on the pads as well. To me, at the moment, Vaughn is the most conservative brand in the industry. Goalies are usually able to jump from 1 release to another without skipping a beat. I anticipate the V9 to be Vaughn’s best Velo to date and also something people should be able to easily convert to from V7 or VE8.

 

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(THE WHITE PAD PICTURED IS NOT THE NEW PAD!!!

Last, but definitely not least, is the reemergence of Lefevre. In another day or 2, we will know the specifics of what’s next. Their manufacturing partnership with CCM, serving the pro goalie clientele, has ended. There’s 8,000 rumors circling, but not concrete facts are public yet. I am pretty confident that the next steps for Lefevre do NOT involve True or Warrior, as some have speculated, but I will be waiting for this announcement with the rest of the #GoalieCrowd. I do not know the full story yet either… With whatever they do, I expect to see their gear in the NHL immediately. I wouldn’t expect Lefevre to vacate the NHL like JRZ did when the Bauer relationship ended.

So for anyone who wonders why there is soooooooo much hype on social media around the 2020 releases… Do ya get it now?!?!?!?!

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@TheGoalNet great post. I am surprised to hear that anyone questions your reviews/opinions. Everything you’ve posted always struck me as reasonable, thoughtful, and fair. One of your strengths is your positivity about playing the position and innovations in gear. Perhaps some people perceive that as “fanboy-ism”. Nevertheless, keep doing what you’re doing. As you’ve said, this site has come a long way and will only continue to get better. 

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Fanboyism is NOT being exhibited here. I understand (more than s LOT of people) that if you want to have relationships with gear companies, you have to tread lightly with some reviews. You can express what you don’t like, but hard-hitting reviews will make certain you don’t have early access to things. Enthusiasm for playing and trying out new gear is far from being a fan boy.

I had an independent bike part review page. Because I wrote some things that were less than complimentary, I ended up paying full freight for items and even earned a cease and desist letter. And I was STILL accused of being a fan boy when I would give a great review. 

Keep doing what you’re doing @TheGoalNet

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TGN great forum, your product evaluations as well as those from the members are very good. I like the little things eg: help from members in finding products ( latest example I inquired about - cut proof sock undergarments).

Looks like 2020 will be exiting look forward to maybe ordering some new pads for my son.

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52 minutes ago, Punisher Goalie said:

@TheGoalNet great post. I am surprised to hear that anyone questions your reviews/opinions. Everything you’ve posted always struck me as reasonable, thoughtful, and fair. One of your strengths is your positivity about playing the position and innovations in gear. Perhaps some people perceive that as “fanboy-ism”. Nevertheless, keep doing what you’re doing. As you’ve said, this site has come a long way and will only continue to get better. 

I don't mind being challenged at all... but there seems to be some backlash on Instagram over Axis. People are acting like I am saying the gear is good. I am just saying it's awesome that CCM has a completely fresh new product. I honestly feel like everyone stepped their game up this year and I can't wait

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52 minutes ago, Punisher Goalie said:

@TheGoalNet great post. I am surprised to hear that anyone questions your reviews/opinions. Everything you’ve posted always struck me as reasonable, thoughtful, and fair. One of your strengths is your positivity about playing the position and innovations in gear. Perhaps some people perceive that as “fanboy-ism”. Nevertheless, keep doing what you’re doing. As you’ve said, this site has come a long way and will only continue to get better. 

Also need to remember that major social networking site always come with this added layer of toxic users that are just anything above what you'd see here. Hell, I'm no model user and I'd be a saint in comparison. :P 

@TheGoalNet good post. I know I've been skeptical of the perceived "over hypeness" of the Axis and Super delux with cheese lines but I don't think I've ever crossed into the territory of questioning your ethics/intentions. I just have a hard time getting attached to the hype of any new release as, well, it's a goalie pad. There's only so much that's new that can be done at a time.

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I share your excitement for 2020 @TheGoalNet!  

Our release in 2020 from Warrior is going to blow goalies away.  I am sure of it.  I have never been more excited for a launch than I am for this year.  So much focus and hard work building up to this year's release.

That said, I share your excitement for the other brands as well.  You can really tell there is a concerted effort in the industry to make equipment perform better than previous iterations.  I, personally, am excited to see current Warrior Goalies gain all the benefits of our new 2020 products. I am also excited to see how current non-Warrior Goalies wrap their brains around the new performance advantages in our gear that are exclusive to Warrior.  

2020 is going to be a fun one.  Agreed that it will be a landmark year goalies look back on in years to come.

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1 hour ago, Big2 said:

TGN great forum, your product evaluations as well as those from the members are very good. I like the little things eg: help from members in finding products ( latest example I inquired about - cut proof sock undergarments).

Looks like 2020 will be exiting look forward to maybe ordering some new pads for my son.

Yes, I want as many reviews from as many people as possible on the forum. The more opinions we have the better.

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28 minutes ago, Kirk3190 said:

I share your excitement for 2020 @TheGoalNet!  

Our release in 2020 from Warrior is going to blow goalies away.  I am sure of it.  I have never been more excited for a launch than I am for this year.  So much focus and hard work building up to this year's release.

That said, I share your excitement for the other brands as well.  You can really tell there is a concerted effort in the industry to make equipment perform better than previous iterations.  I, personally, am excited to see current Warrior Goalies gain all the benefits of our new 2020 products. I am also excited to see how current non-Warrior Goalies wrap their brains around the new performance advantages in our gear that are exclusive to Warrior.  

2020 is going to be a fun one.  Agreed that it will be a landmark year goalies look back on in years to come.

I don't want to steal your thunder, but if I understand your new product explanation strategy correctly... I think it's the right direction forward and I hope your competitors follow. It would would really help the industry modernize and hope goalies better understand how much better new is. Can't wait to see it!

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1 hour ago, coopaloop1234 said:

Also need to remember that major social networking site always come with this added layer of toxic users that are just anything above what you'd see here. Hell, I'm no model user and I'd be a saint in comparison. :P 

@TheGoalNet good post. I know I've been skeptical of the perceived "over hypeness" of the Axis and Super delux with cheese lines but I don't think I've ever crossed into the territory of questioning your ethics/intentions. I just have a hard time getting attached to the hype of any new release as, well, it's a goalie pad. There's only so much that's new that can be done at a time.

I know i asked you before on another thread about your comments, but this it not meant for you... the Instagram space and the current sentiment toward Axis it what got my head spinning. It's cool CCM has a new line. I think it's well thought out. Does it work well on ice and do goalies buy it is what we have to wait for Spring to find out!

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9 minutes ago, TheGoalNet said:

I know i asked you before on another thread about your comments, but this it not meant for you... the Instagram space and the current sentiment toward Axis it what got my head spinning. It's cool CCM has a new line. I think it's well thought out. Does it work well on ice and do goalies buy it is what we have to wait for Spring to find out!

Everything is meant for me. Duh.

I wonder if CCM is starting to be lumped in with Vaughn as a "dinosaur pad" and them trying to re-vamp the entire line is bringing out the doubters and haters?

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1 hour ago, coopaloop1234 said:

Everything is meant for me. Duh.

I wonder if CCM is starting to be lumped in with Vaughn as a "dinosaur pad" and them trying to re-vamp the entire line is bringing out the doubters and haters?

I would agree with that. I think everyone thinks the Premier line didn't change from 2006 until now. The P2 is arguably my favorite pad since TGN started. That was a huge change for CCM. However, if you didnt have old Premiers to compare it too... doesn't look that different, which means it does not correlate well to retail.

IMO, must of the issues any of us have with equipment are due to the retail industry, the companies figuring out to market to the goalies of tomorrow, or manufacturing processes.

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2 hours ago, Kirk3190 said:

I share your excitement for 2020 @TheGoalNet!  

Our release in 2020 from Warrior is going to blow goalies away.  I am sure of it.  I have never been more excited for a launch than I am for this year.  So much focus and hard work building up to this year's release.

That said, I share your excitement for the other brands as well.  You can really tell there is a concerted effort in the industry to make equipment perform better than previous iterations.  I, personally, am excited to see current Warrior Goalies gain all the benefits of our new 2020 products. I am also excited to see how current non-Warrior Goalies wrap their brains around the new performance advantages in our gear that are exclusive to Warrior.  

2020 is going to be a fun one.  Agreed that it will be a landmark year goalies look back on in years to come.

I currently have a set of GT2s. Great pads. The G5’s dropping in the Spring correct?

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53 minutes ago, RyanR3KC said:

I currently have a set of GT2s. Great pads. The G5’s dropping in the Spring correct?

Yep!

49 minutes ago, Max27 said:

great post TGN. Although i just got into g4s im very excited to see how @Kirk3190 and the folks at warrior upgrade an already very impressive G4 Line!!

Thanks Max!  You will definitely be impressed!

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1 hour ago, Kayen said:

For someone with bad hips I'm disappointed that all the newer pads are getting stiffer and stiffer. Nothing *off the shelf* quite works for me without hip pain, and going up to pro/custom isn't in the books for me. 

Maybe check with a smaller manufacturer? Simmons, Boddam, Kenesky, and soon Lefevre will have softer offerings. Simmons or Kenesky is very price friendly.

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9 hours ago, TheGoalNet said:

Maybe check with a smaller manufacturer? Simmons, Boddam, Kenesky, and soon Lefevre will have softer offerings. Simmons or Kenesky is very price friendly.

The problem is, typically with the smaller manufacturers you do miss out on the bleeding edge technologies and innovation that is afforded to the main players via their much larger R&D budget. 

When you look at "softer" senior level pads like the CCM E4.9, Bauer 2X, RGT2 Senior, none are what you would consider a soft pad. 

With Brian's you have the Gnetik 8.0 whose chassis is based off of a much older OG Gnetik Pad, and no sliding tech has been added. With Vaughn their VE8 'Pro' as with their senior stuff is heavier, thicker, and lacks sliding tech too BUT does strike the softer pad want. 

I'm sure my pad preferences aren't too common anymore, and my terribly bad hips are an anomaly, but that said FFS, I'm only 27 haha. 

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15 minutes ago, Kayen said:

The problem is, typically with the smaller manufacturers you do miss out on the bleeding edge technologies and innovation that is afforded to the main players via their much larger R&D budget. 

When you look at "softer" senior level pads like the CCM E4.9, Bauer 2X, RGT2 Senior, none are what you would consider a soft pad. 

With Brian's you have the Gnetik 8.0 whose chassis is based off of a much older OG Gnetik Pad, and no sliding tech has been added. With Vaughn their VE8 'Pro' as with their senior stuff is heavier, thicker, and lacks sliding tech too BUT does strike the softer pad want. 

I'm sure my pad preferences aren't too common anymore, and my terribly bad hips are an anomaly, but that said FFS, I'm only 27 haha. 

You could wait until the V9 "pro" pads come out, or check out the Pro V Elite senior pads. They are both soft (the pro v elite uses the ve8 core), and they will both offer quickslide. (I'm assuming the v9 seniors will because the pro v elite ones have it.)

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5 hours ago, Kayen said:

The problem is, typically with the smaller manufacturers you do miss out on the bleeding edge technologies and innovation that is afforded to the main players via their much larger R&D budget. 

When you look at "softer" senior level pads like the CCM E4.9, Bauer 2X, RGT2 Senior, none are what you would consider a soft pad. 

With Brian's you have the Gnetik 8.0 whose chassis is based off of a much older OG Gnetik Pad, and no sliding tech has been added. With Vaughn their VE8 'Pro' as with their senior stuff is heavier, thicker, and lacks sliding tech too BUT does strike the softer pad want. 

I'm sure my pad preferences aren't too common anymore, and my terribly bad hips are an anomaly, but that said FFS, I'm only 27 haha. 

That's sorta the issue. The trend is mostly stiffer pads. The NHL guys all have mostly stuff that is stiffer than what you buy at retail anyway.

If you are not in position to buy the pro grear, and no one would blame you!, and you don't want the lack of tech from Simmons...

I would just stalk eBay or Sideline Swap for used custom gear that was ordered in a softer spec

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Transparency.

Reviews that are made by people who receive free gear for that purpose can't be fully transparent as to not foil their relationship with the companies and get cut off. Then again, if a company can't take hard criticism about their products, how the hell are they supposed to improve them.

It's true that we all have different likes and expectations, especially from the experienced and high level players, but it shouldn't shy a reviewer from saying it like it is. An educated consumer will take the one review with a grain of salt and make up his own opinion after either several reviews or having tried out the gear themselves.

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9 minutes ago, RichMan said:

Transparency.

Reviews that are made by people who receive free gear for that purpose can't be fully transparent as to not foil their relationship with the companies and get cut off. Then again, if a company can't take hard criticism about their products, how the hell are they supposed to improve them.

It's true that we all have different likes and expectations, especially from the experienced and high level players, but it shouldn't shy a reviewer from saying it like it is. An educated consumer will take the one review with a grain of salt and make up his own opinion after either several reviews or having tried out the gear themselves.

When I reviewed products, many did not want the negatives out there, but were happy to listen to your complaints, particularly when it was a pre-production piece. One bike manufacturer was infamous for their ad on the next page after a review on their product, or the coincidence had it, and furthermore- this particular magazine never gave a bad review of anything that came through it’s offices.

When I was totally independent was when things got weird.  I exposed fibreglass  instead of carbon fibre on a brake lever and shit hit the fan!

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10 minutes ago, bunnyman666 said:

When I reviewed products, many did not want the negatives out there, but were happy to listen to your complaints, particularly when it was a pre-production piece. One bike manufacturer was infamous for their ad on the next page after a review on their product, or the coincidence had it, and furthermore- this particular magazine never gave a bad review of anything that came through it’s offices.

When I was totally independent was when things got weird.  I exposed fibreglass  instead of carbon fibre on a brake lever and shit hit the fan!

Trade secrets (cutting corners) exposed is a company's version of the Grim Reaper. As consumers, we need to know this to protect ourselves and our wallets.

As an avid cyclist (ex racer) myself, I'm sure the industry has a large dark cloud hovering over them on this topic, especially the carbon industry.

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