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CCM Extreme Flex 4 Review


ZeroGravitas
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Introduction

COVID-19 has been driving me crazy. With nothing to do and being unable to skate, I've been reduced to writing a review on some gear that everyone on these boards has already read about and played around with at their local hockey stores.

Basically, I'm writing something that will have no use for anyone.
But I'll do it because I'm bored.
And you'll probably read it because you're bored too.

I ordered these back in March 2019 and received them in May 2019, so I've had them just over a year - and they are the best set of gear I have owned to date. I can't stop winning with them. I might be something like 25-5 in these pads, including a notable men's league tournament weekend in which I went 4-1, 1 SO, 1.6GAA.

Leg Pads

My CCM Extreme Flex 4 leg pads are 33+1.5.

My pad history:
Koho 590
RBK Premier 2
Brian's Focus
CCM Extreme Flex 1
Passau Stolz
Warrior Ritual GT1
Warrior Ritual GT2

Specs are below.
Stock options - which is probably what your local hockey shop has, unless they've ordered SMUs, is the center column. My specs are on the right.
I've bolded where I've deviated from stock.

I went with a stiffer boot option because I felt that the stock Deep Ultra Soft was too soft. I like my gear to play consistently and for it not to break down too much and hoped that getting the Deep Soft boot would keep the boot from getting too mushy down the round. My reasoning for getting no outer break on the pad is similar - less breakdown over time. It has the bonus of having a very clean look, too.
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Extreme Flex 4 is a huge change for CCM. Heck, it's almost a brand new pad - the internal core, strapping system, toe ties and knee cradle have been revamped. All of these changes add up to probably the most popular pad in retail right now.

In the last couple years, there has been a big push in the goalie gear industry to pursue lightness. CCM has been quite slow in doing so - it wasn't until Spring 2018 that CCM debuted the Premier 2 pad, which was the first significant weight reduction in their gear line up. Meanwhile, Warrior has had the Ritual pads since 2013-ish, Bauer has had 1S since 2016-ish, and Brian's debuted the Zero-G model way back in 2009?

While these pads are still not the lightest on the market, it is impressive that CCM has been able to reduce the weight without sacrificing the structure of the core. One complaint I had with my old Warrior RGT 1 is that the thigh had too much torsional flex and softened up much too quickly. CCM claims that the pad is 15% lighter with the new core, but it feels much lighter than that.

The new core is surprisingly stiff above the thigh, which I noticed helps keep the pad sealed in the butterfly. I've since learned my lesson: I don't chase lightness when thinking about pad purchases. The most important thing is the consistency of the core. I've skated a lot of games with these CCMs and there is no sign of them breaking down internally whatsoever.

Other great features include the new rubberized knee cradle.20200413_183536.thumb.jpg.5b86caee5f9fa41cf85e1dad7a14b159.jpg

It's nice and soft and squishy and grippy. It is very comfortable to land on. It's rubbery and textured and not nash/cloth based like the EF3, which could absorb water and tear after too many uses.

The new strapping system is also excellent. With essentially three straps - knee cradle, quick motion and calf strap, you're all set.

The bungee toe laces ala Pro Laces are excellent as well. They are stretchy and allow your foot and ankle to move while not being restrictive. They never come undone and I never step on them and cut them the way I always seemed to with regular skate lace.

These pads seal amazingly to the ice. When I butterfly, I can feel every part of my leg and pad is in contact with the ice, which gives me a reassuring feeling that nothing is going to beat me low.

That said, Speedskin is... meh. I don't notice much, if any, improvement over regular jenpro or weave. Not to say that the sliding is bad - these pads slide just fine - but I just don't see any improvement coming from regular jenpro on my GT1 or weave on my GT2.

Catcher

The catcher is stock. The CCM Extreme Flex 1 was my favorite catcher that I had ever used - it gobbled everything up. Sometimes it felt like it had a mind of its own and I didn't even have to watch the puck to grab it. This was a bit of a homecoming for me. Like the rest of CCM's line up, it is not the lightest piece of equipment around, but it is built solidly. It feels just right on my hand. The pocket is in a natural position relative to the rest of my hand and that makes catching a breeze. My hand position relative to the pocket in my previous glove, a Kenesky, was something I could not get used to and I had a difficult time catching pucks. The EFlex4 has a very natural pocket position and closure. The closure is a little different from what I remember the EFlex 1 was like, but I have adjusted.

If I could do it all over again, I'd go with the Pro palm. I've taken a couple shots directly on the palm or in the break that stung.

My glove history:
RBK Premier 2 Pro (590)
Reebok Revoke Pro Zone (590)
CCM Extreme Flex 1 Pro (600)
Kenesky Custom (T-5500-style)
Warrior Ritual GT2 (60 degree)

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Blocker

Blocker is basically stock, too. I went with the straight finger protection as that is what I was used to and felt that the curved finger protection might get in the way. If you've worn a CCM/Reebok blocker in the past, this is the same. Beefy sidewall and plenty of protection for the fingers. It is not the lightest blocker around, but it plays consistently and the protection is second to none.

My blocker history:
RBK Premier 2 Pro
Reebok Premier 3 Pro
Reebok Revoke PZ
CCM Extreme Flex 1
Kenesky Custom
Warrior Ritual GT2

As you can see, I've got a type when it comes to blockers.

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Unfortunately, I've experienced a little bit of wear on the finger protector. Bit a bummer.

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Family photo before the first skate.

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Edited by ZeroGravitas
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