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Help Replacing Simmons Matrix pads (ccm blockade copy)


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New here thanks for the help!

So I've been playing in my Simmons Matrix leg pads(ccm blockade copies) for the last 15 years and I finally need to replace them and I need help.

I've done probably 30+hrs of research so far on all pads being made now and in the past 15 years and I can't find anything nearly like them. However I do see all "modern" pads moving toward a design like they were made with 15+ years ago!

The closest i've seen is either the new Bauer Supreme Ultrasonic's (with the built into the pad knee and calf pillow), or the Brian's Optic pads with the calf pillow. Watching so many review videos on youtube one of the things many complain about is how sometimes if you move your knee a little part of the pad comes off the ice. I've never experienced anything like this with the Matrix. They are either all the way down or all the way up, there is no in between and I love that.

It seems like there's a ton of experience here with gear from new to old. Any opinions on what you like or think I would like based on what i'm using are greatly appreciated. I clearly can't figure this out on my own at this point.

Thanks so much everyone!

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Start by understanding and accepting that ANYTHING you buy will be radically different that what you're playing in now.   There will be an adjustment period and it may be a lengthy one.  The next thing I'd focus on is that ANYTHING you buy will likely perform better than what you're in now, once you're used to them. If you have the means and desire to go current gen full pro, by all means do!  But if you'd rather look at a previous gen Pro pad or a Senior level pad it'll probably still be better made than what you've got and will effeminately outperform the Matrix's (again, eventually).

If it were me I'd compare Brians' two lines (don't sleep on the Gnetik IV, it's the best glove I've seen in 10 years and the pads are really underrated) and see which felt better.  Vaughn should get a sniff as well.  I play with guy who went from Matrix to SLR a couple years ago and he's been really happy with those.  AXIS also has the calf pillow you were talking about and I was impressed enough after demo'ing a set to place an order.  Finally, I've used Warrior G5's since the spring and I've been really impressed with how well they work even for an old fart with a fairly narrow butterfly.  They're super light which helps late in the game and they're the best sliding pads I've ever owned. 

I know I haven't really helped you narrow things down much, but that's tough to do without knowing exactly you like about your Matrix and what you'd like your next set to do better. 

One final idea:  Depending on where you live you might be able to get a demo set of gear from a local store.  I know some Perani's locations and Goalie Monkey both have demo programs in the US.

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19 minutes ago, Puckstopper said:

effeminately outperform

lol

Anyway, a lot of what Puckstopper wrote is great. I'd like to double up on the opinion of trying the Vaughn and Brian's stuff, especially their senior level items if you have the means and don't want to drop thousands.

Additionally, I think CCM does a really good job on their sub-pro level gear. I play with a few people using E-Flex 3.x and senior level retroflexes and both seem great. I have no experience with Bauer stuff that isn't top end.

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1 hour ago, mario3166 said:

New here thanks for the help!

So I've been playing in my Simmons Matrix leg pads(ccm blockade copies) for the last 15 years and I finally need to replace them and I need help.

I've done probably 30+hrs of research so far on all pads being made now and in the past 15 years and I can't find anything nearly like them. However I do see all "modern" pads moving toward a design like they were made with 15+ years ago!

The closest i've seen is either the new Bauer Supreme Ultrasonic's (with the built into the pad knee and calf pillow), or the Brian's Optic pads with the calf pillow. Watching so many review videos on youtube one of the things many complain about is how sometimes if you move your knee a little part of the pad comes off the ice. I've never experienced anything like this with the Matrix. They are either all the way down or all the way up, there is no in between and I love that.

It seems like there's a ton of experience here with gear from new to old. Any opinions on what you like or think I would like based on what i'm using are greatly appreciated. I clearly can't figure this out on my own at this point.

Thanks so much everyone!

Lefevre 20.1 and CCM Axis from this year also come with some padding in the calf.

I just talked to John at Simmons, he's the new owner that moved it to Buffalo.  He says he has the old dyes for the Matrix gear.  You might be able to get a sweet makeup with more modern internals.

As a last resort, you could look at Kenesky or Battram to do a custom one-off.  Heck, I think Battram had a Blockade clone in his lineup several years ago.

41 minutes ago, Puckstopper said:

Start by understanding and accepting that ANYTHING you buy will be radically different that what you're playing in now.   There will be an adjustment period and it may be a lengthy one.  The next thing I'd focus on is that ANYTHING you buy will likely perform better than what you're in now, once you're used to them. If you have the means and desire to go current gen full pro, by all means do!  But if you'd rather look at a previous gen Pro pad or a Senior level pad it'll probably still be better made than what you've got and will effeminately outperform the Matrix's (again, eventually).

If it were me I'd compare Brians' two lines (don't sleep on the Gnetik IV, it's the best glove I've seen in 10 years and the pads are really underrated) and see which felt better.  Vaughn should get a sniff as well.  I play with guy who went from Matrix to SLR a couple years ago and he's been really happy with those.  AXIS also has the calf pillow you were talking about and I was impressed enough after demo'ing a set to place an order.  Finally, I've used Warrior G5's since the spring and I've been really impressed with how well they work even for an old fart with a fairly narrow butterfly.  They're super light which helps late in the game and they're the best sliding pads I've ever owned. 

I know I haven't really helped you narrow things down much, but that's tough to do without knowing exactly you like about your Matrix and what you'd like your next set to do better. 

One final idea:  Depending on where you live you might be able to get a demo set of gear from a local store.  I know some Perani's locations and Goalie Monkey both have demo programs in the US.

Good post, but my local Monkey Superstore no longer has demo gear.  I was told the program has been discontinued company wide.  Given the current economic (and health/safety) climate, it doesn't seem prudent for companies to be offering demo gear right now.

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12 hours ago, mario3166 said:

The closest i've seen is either the new Bauer Supreme Ultrasonic's (with the built into the pad knee and calf pillow), or the Brian's Optic pads with the calf pillow

 

Almost all new "stiff" pads on the market have the calf pillow. Ultrasonic, Axis, Optik 2, and 20.1 all have it.

I would suggest maybe getting 2x internal breaks and 1 external on anything you get? By today's standards, I believe Matrix is a very soft pad.

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Thanks for the feedback everyone!

One question was what i like about the Matrix...and honestly why i'm afraid of new gear.

The main thing is the combined knee and leg channel. Its thick fits relatively tight around the calf and wraps around a little bit as well. So the way they work is that even though they fit pretty tight they also rotate and recover easily. I've had ankle problems for many years and haven't strapped my skates to my pads or even use any type of toe loop system. I've tried them of course but they always caused a strain on my ankle that would cause a pinch probably due to the calcium/bone spurs built up on my ankles from years of playing. 

I point this out because the way the leg channels fit makes them basically recover back from butterfly on their own without relying on any system hooked to skate to assist in this process.

I also feel like that because of leg channel and its support I feel like i get to the butterfly quickly and feel very "balanced" in it. The landing surface is large and just keeps you upright and balanced while in the butterfly. I can't say how modern pads feel from that perspective but i'm speculating this is an advantage with the full channel.

Before the pandemic I did take my pads to a Perani's and compare them to well pretty much everything there. The closest "feel" i could say would have been the Brian's Optik. I did try on SLR's and quite a few others. This was back in February, but at that time the only pads there with the calf pillow was the Optik's.

I like the idea of fully integrated knee block into the pads of the Bauer Supreme Ultrasonics....which I can't afford but the I read the line down the 3S also has the integrated knee and the calf pillow. My budget tops out around 1K.

Thanks again for the help and any more ideas opinions ect!

 

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I think you'll find pretty much any modern pad isn't going to have as intimately tight of a leg channel as something from the era of the Blockade. I understand what you're saying though and my proposal to you is that you should seriously consider getting anything with an upper-calf/professor/rotation control strap (synonyms) with hybrid elastic toe-ties. The professor strap will get you the kind of connection I think you're looking for in a modern pad. Additionally, if you have elastic toe-ties with a hybrid of lace you will be able to adjust the slack on them to take the pressure off of your ankle, but still provide you with the function of keeping the pad rotated within the desired range when recovering from your butterfly (most on this website are pretty in favor of prolaces as a whole, they make a good product. Link here: https://www.prolaces.ca/en/30-hybrid). Brian's already kind of has this idea with a spacer, but not entirely adjustable for extra slack.

 

Additional notes:

You will be totally okay without a bootstrap, a lot of modern pads don't even have one as a default. I totally recommend trying behind the boot instead of under to help with the connected feel but relieve your foot.

Maybe look into getting some stiffer booted skates to further help your ankles. My ankles are pretty bad compared to some and I benefited from stiff skates (I wear Bauer 2X skates right now, came from midend Grafs).

Probably out of your price range, by Factory Mad seems to completely fit your desires here. I have no idea how flexible Dennis is on pricing, but it's basically bespoke goalie gear with his base design.

Worst case scenario for toe-ties just get some looser elastic ones or use loose laces. I have used ECOproFOAM makes decent ones, less heavy duty than Prolaces. I play with a guy that uses no boot strap or toe-ties on Vaughn VE8s, no idea how he maintains his rotational integrity, even after watching him. I suspect he doesn't drive his legs very hard with his feet and nudges with his gloves.

Edited by keeperton
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Won’t be cheap, but have a look at Factory Mad PROTO. The one piece inner leg protector reminds me of the Blockade and you get to work with Dennis who can tailor the gear to fit your needs. 

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Thanks everyone,

I had never heard of Factory MAD until posting here. I looked into them and you guys are right, the Proto's are as close as I've seen. I'm at least going to contact him through their site and see if i can possibly afford them. But everything about them looks exactly like what i'm trying to re-create.

Thanks, i'll let you know how this works out.

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Follow up question, I've never worn knee pads or guards as my current pads have the thigh board and that has been enough for me.

What do you guys recommend for knee protection with modern pads? I'm thinking since i'm going from nothing but knee braces that i would want something relatively minimal (knee braces are a wrap around style with some side stabilization)

Thanks again

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There are some good knee pad options out there, just make sure they either tie into your pants or that you subscribe to the garter belt that goes with some of them. I use warrior without any issue, but I wouldn’t hesitate to try the Vaughn offering as well. I tie the warriors to my pants. 

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18 hours ago, mario3166 said:

Follow up question, I've never worn knee pads or guards as my current pads have the thigh board and that has been enough for me.

What do you guys recommend for knee protection with modern pads? I'm thinking since i'm going from nothing but knee braces that i would want something relatively minimal (knee braces are a wrap around style with some side stabilization)

Thanks again

Look at PAW, she makes awesome knee pads and have an option to either tie into your pants or garter belt. They are pretty simple and don’t get in the way. I’ve had mine for 8+ years and still protective as day one. I put socks over mine and use tape to hold in place. The elastic has stretched out since they are used so much but the tape keeps them in place. 
 

instead of the clamshell style of most modern knee pads they are a one piece that hinges near the knee. I used to wear compression/ volleyball knee sleeves under them and never had an issue. Sarah makes each set to your specification so they can leave some extra room to accommodate your braces. 

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18 hours ago, mario3166 said:

Thanks everyone,

I had never heard of Factory MAD until posting here. I looked into them and you guys are right, the Proto's are as close as I've seen. I'm at least going to contact him through their site and see if i can possibly afford them. But everything about them looks exactly like what i'm trying to re-create.

Thanks, i'll let you know how this works out.

I’ve might of skimmed over this portion but have you thought of upgrading to modern pads? I was like you and have only used Simmons since I started playing and had soft Vaughn style pads and they were pretty simple as far as traditional strapping and such. I have since switched to my first modern pad(warrior) and it is night and day. The new pads  are so much lighter and slide so much better. I didn’t know how I would like/ handle stiffer new pads but I wouldn’t go back to softer pads. 
 

went from Simmons 997< 586(velocity knock offs)< warrior G5’s. Both Simmons were double break and my warriors are single break but close better than my double breaks. I have a narrower BF along with messed up knees, dislocated both knees several times Along with jumping out of airplanes for the Army. I feel less stress on my hips, ankles, and knees with new pads. 
 

I know pad stiffness and flex are all personal preference but I would urge you to try, if you can, some new pads to see how you like them. 

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I am thinking of trying to get some very cheap "modern" pads from sidelineswap just to be able to try something newer. And i did come across something interesting some cheap Bauer Supreme One.5 pads that have a thick leg channel. Might be worth a try

Another question, I still don't like the idea of knee pads, what about the more recent under pant thigh guards? any opinions on them?

image.png.946837f5a819b25f13261516b383a723.png

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4 hours ago, mario3166 said:

I am thinking of trying to get some very cheap "modern" pads from sidelineswap just to be able to try something newer. And i did come across something interesting some cheap Bauer Supreme One.5 pads that have a thick leg channel. Might be worth a try

Another question, I still don't like the idea of knee pads, what about the more recent under pant thigh guards? any opinions on them?

image.png.946837f5a819b25f13261516b383a723.png

Like thigh wraps? I don’t think I’ve seen those for a while now. You might be able to get some still. 
 

have you tried knee pads? They really aren’t that bad and once you break them in and get use to them you don’t really even notice them.

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On 8/21/2020 at 8:19 PM, Taco said:

Won’t be cheap, but have a look at Factory Mad PROTO. The one piece inner leg protector reminds me of the Blockade and you get to work with Dennis who can tailor the gear to fit your needs. 

I was just going to write the same thing. He could probably do a couple mods to make them more like Matrix if you needed.

 

Also, @mario3166 if you're in MI, Dennis might be up to hosting you in his shop? That would be a very unique ordering experience

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