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Help me pick a new set of gear! (Yes, one of those threads)


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Hey everyone, new to the site but glad to have found it.  Like all of you I've been off the ice for awhile, but games are picking up again and I'm in need of some refreshing with my gear.  

For a bit of history, I'm 34 now, and to begin my competitive years in high school I played in a set of Vaughn V1s.  Believe it or not I played in those until buying my current pads, some Reebok X28s, 3 years ago.  I played club through college but then took several years off, was a sub in some local leagues for awhile and have been playing on average 1x per week since ~2015.    

What am I looking for in a pad?

  1. A soft boot and some torsional flex below the knee.  I may be getting older, but my skating and quickness are still my biggest strengths - I play fairly aggressively positionally and need to be able to move around the crease quickly.  The X28s make that more difficult with how little they feel like they move with my leg below the knee.  
  2. A fairly stiff pad above the knee.  The X28s have turned into a floppy mess in the thigh rise, and that definitely seems to impact how well they seal up the 5 hole.  I don't need rock hard pads, but something that can hold its shape would be preferred.
  3. Something that slides well.  Anything, including my V1s and the X28s, slide well when the ice is fresh, but by the 3rd period I feel like I'm stuck in mud in these things.  
  4. Harder rebounds.  Not my #1 priority, but when the X28s were new they kicked off rebounds pretty darn well, especially compared to 15 year old V1s, and I definitely prefer that to a softer rebound.

An E-Flex would probably be perfect if not for numbers 3 and 4, so here's what I'm considering and why - 

  • Vaughn SLR2 Pro Carbons  These are probably my #1 choice as of right now.  Should give me the torsional flex below the knee I want, but with a good seal up top, decent rebounds, and probably no need for any custom options.  I like the idea of the calf pillows that are popping up in pads these last couple years, but that's about the only thing I think these are missing.
  • Vaughn V9 Pro Carbons  I wore Velocity pads for years, I should probably consider going back to them.  Would give me that feel below the knee I'm used to and prefer, but obviously in a modern pad.  They have the option to go no external break and stiff or extra stiff in the thigh rise, so that would check off #2.  I do think I'd need to change up the knee block in a custom order, though.  I checked out a set of the Pro (not Pro Carbon) V9s at a local store and they didn't feel nearly as stable as the SLR2 Pros and the knee block is a floppy mess.  I'd for sure want the SLR2 style knee block and probably the magnetic professor strap if I go this route.  
  • Lefevre L20.1s  These check all the boxes, but I have two concerns with these.  One is that I'm probably between sizes and don't have any Lefevre dealers close by to make sure I get the correct sizing.  The other is how high the boot sits on the skate.  I'm only 5'10" and can use all the extra coverage I can get, but it seems to me having a boot that sits so high up on the skate will reduce the overall width in the butterfly or the reach when extended.
  • GNetik IV  Seems to check all the boxes too.  Has a soft boot, nice and firm up top, decently firm rebounds and can seemingly be specced with firmer density foams in the face to improve that, Primo material on the inside edge and the torsional flex I’m looking for. 

Now, onto the glove.  I'm in a similar position with my glove as my pads.  I bought a set of Eagle gloves from one of the goaltenders on the local minor league team during my sophomore season, and played with them until I bought some XLTs on clearance from GoalieMonkey back in 2016.  The 590 break does not seem to work for me.  Here's a photo of the model of glove I played with below - 

s-l400.jpg

I have no idea what the specs are on that glove, but it looks to me like a 45* angle much like a traditional Velocity glove.  What's weird is that despite the much higher thumb angle on the 590, I'm constantly getting hit in the thumb with this thing and having popouts, seemingly because of the way it prompts me to hold my hand.  That would seem to tell me I should go for a 580 with an even higher pocket.  What's weird, though, is I naturally hold my thumb upright to begin with, rather than my fingers up like the 590 is supposedly designed for.  If I spend a good amount of time with my reaction ball, I find myself catching just fine but feeling like the pocket is too close to me, which would suggest I go with something closer to a 600 break, or a more traditional Velocity style glove.  The 590 is what feels most comfortable just picking up a glove off the rack, but I definitely want to make a change here.  Gun to head, I'd pick an SLR2 glove to go with the pads given the huge pocket and the thumb-up positioning of it and give it a go, but hoping some of you can help me out here.

That's a super long post, so apologies for that, but I appreciate the input very much!

Edited by AdamL
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First off, welcome to the site! Vaughn seems like a natural fit here based on your history and choices you listed. I'd go with them or Brian's if you're looking for longevity. The other option I'd throw in the mix are Vapor 2X from Bauer. I was surprised how much of a "hybrid" pad they felt like when I demo'd them. That being said, I haven't tried all of the new lines, but there's others on here that have and I'm sure they'll chime in with good info.

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20 minutes ago, motowngoalie said:

First off, welcome to the site! Vaughn seems like a natural fit here based on your history and choices you listed. I'd go with them or Brian's if you're looking for longevity. The other option I'd throw in the mix are Vapor 2X from Bauer. I was surprised how much of a "hybrid" pad they felt like when I demo'd them. That being said, I haven't tried all of the new lines, but there's others on here that have and I'm sure they'll chime in with good info.

Appreciate it!  Was actually just watching TGNs videos of the GNetik IVs and it sounds like a set of those with the HD foams in the face like he ordered them would be perfect.  

I'm surprised re: your comments about the 2X.  My local Perani's doesn't carry any pro level gear, but the even the regular 2x pads seemed really stiff.  No doubt they're good pads, but I didn't get the impression they'd be a good fit for me.

Edited by AdamL
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Something you aren't outward considering in your post is how the toe is cut (the angle at which it is) versus how high it sits on the skate.

If I have one actual regret on my Gnetik IVs it's that I got the toe cut at 80 degrees instead of stock (84 degrees) because it allows for so much torsional flex that my five hole sometimes opens more than I'd like when leaning here and there. A huge benefit to the more shallow boot/higher sitting pads is that your foot can rotate better and allow you to have a better butterfly seal, so do consider that. If you go the Gnetik IV route, I recommend a 4-boot, 2-knee, and 1-thigh flex profile overall. Even the 1 is still pretty flexible, but I wouldn't call it soft.

As such, I think your best bets from what you described that I can give an opinion are the SLR2 and the Gnetik IV since you can't easily get fitted with the 20.1. I would echo what some other posters have said: consider the MAX core Optik2, consider the Vapor 2X, I don't think you can go wrong with a V9, and maybe have some conversations about the 20.1s. It'd be great to be able to handle what you end up buying, but I know that isn't always the reality.

 

Gloves are harder to give advice on, I think, because feel is so much a part of it. I'm really partial to catching with a baseball feeling glove, but love stick handling with something that's fingers to thumb-meat closure.

Edited by keeperton
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Thanks @keeperton.  The good news is, like you said, I probably can’t go wrong with any of those choices.

The boot angle is certainly important. The Premier boot angle is supposedly 60*, which has been an absolute disaster as it pertains to my mobility, both on my feet or in the butterfly. 

I can get my hands on the senior level SLR2, V9, and GNetik pads here locally, but no possibility of getting them on the ice first.  I was initially looking to go back to Vaughn and checked out only those two and the Axis.  What was most strange was the V9 Pros were WAY stiffer than the SLR2 Pros.  Might have been just because the SLR2s have been in the shop for a year with people squishing them every other day, but that seemed odd.  When I go back to get my skates baked once they get here I’ll check out the GNetiks too.

Appreciate the input everybody.

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1 hour ago, AdamL said:

Thanks @keeperton.  The good news is, like you said, I probably can’t go wrong with any of those choices.

The boot angle is certainly important. The Premier boot angle is supposedly 60*, which has been an absolute disaster as it pertains to my mobility, both on my feet or in the butterfly. 

I can get my hands on the senior level SLR2, V9, and GNetik pads here locally, but no possibility of getting them on the ice first.  I was initially looking to go back to Vaughn and checked out only those two and the Axis.  What was most strange was the V9 Pros were WAY stiffer than the SLR2 Pros.  Might have been just because the SLR2s have been in the shop for a year with people squishing them every other day, but that seemed odd.  When I go back to get my skates baked once they get here I’ll check out the GNetiks too.

Appreciate the input everybody.

Unless you're extrapolating, I mean entirely the angle at which the toe is cut (on the inside) for the sake of stance aggression; a 90 degree boot is hard to get used to when coming from something like a Velocity 1, but I'll likely be trying it on whatever my next pad ends up being (looking at potential Optik3 or 12.2). I think most of the pads you suggested and had recommended to you are about the same boot angle for what that is worth, or at least nothing as drastic as the Premier boot angle.

The SLR2 is known to be a soft "stiff" pad. I think they, and I think this is true with most Vaughn pads really, definitely soften up over time. I do remember when I tried the VE8s that they felt pretty stiff, but I would suppose their bend is more baked in or defined than the SLR series. The VE9s could just be stiffer too, someone here can likely weigh in.

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10 hours ago, AdamL said:

Hey everyone, new to the site but glad to have found it.  Like all of you I've been off the ice for awhile, but games are picking up again and I'm in need of some refreshing with my gear.  

For a bit of history, I'm 34 now, and to begin my competitive years in high school I played in a set of Vaughn V1s.  Believe it or not I played in those until buying my current pads, some Reebok X28s, 3 years ago.  I played club through college but then took several years off, was a sub in some local leagues for awhile and have been playing on average 1x per week since ~2015.    

What am I looking for in a pad?

  1. A soft boot and some torsional flex below the knee.  I may be getting older, but my skating and quickness are still my biggest strengths - I play fairly aggressively positionally and need to be able to move around the crease quickly.  The X28s make that more difficult with how little they feel like they move with my leg below the knee.  
  2. A fairly stiff pad above the knee.  The X28s have turned into a floppy mess in the thigh rise, and that definitely seems to impact how well they seal up the 5 hole.  I don't need rock hard pads, but something that can hold its shape would be preferred.
  3. Something that slides well.  Anything, including my V1s and the X28s, slide well when the ice is fresh, but by the 3rd period I feel like I'm stuck in mud in these things.  
  4. Harder rebounds.  Not my #1 priority, but when the X28s were new they kicked off rebounds pretty darn well, especially compared to 15 year old V1s, and I definitely prefer that to a softer rebound.

I usually don't respond to these posts, but you provided a lot of good background info so I'll take a stab.

I actually recommend EF4 based on what you've specified.  I've seen catalog pics of EF5 and left feeling pretty underwhelmed. 
Your pain points on 3 and 4 are actually pretty easily resolved with a couple tweaks.

Sliding:

Out of what I've tried, CORTech > Fastglide > Speedskin.  Many who have tried Brians and Bauer say Brian's Primo is better than Bauer CORTech. 
Fastglide and Speedskin perform great on fresh ice (edge to Fastglide on a fresh sheet), but for us beer leaguers I think Jenpro or Weave are the safer options - we don't get a zam every 20 minutes and if you're playing at any kind of decent level the ice is gonna be trashed at the end of a full 60.  Also note that since you're coming off a Vaughn V1 (14+ years old?) and a senior line Reebok pad, any pro level pad you get at this point is going to be an upgrade.  Spec weave on the sliding surface if you're going custom.

Rebounds:

Same deal as above - V1s are super soft pads and X28s don't have the MaxRebound in them.  Both lines are going to be a softer pad than a modern EF4. 
Key thing here is that EF5 will have a layer similar to MaxRebound that is designed to deaden rebounds.

Quote

An E-Flex would probably be perfect if not for numbers 3 and 4, so here's what I'm considering and why - 

  • Vaughn SLR2 Pro Carbons  These are probably my #1 choice as of right now.  Should give me the torsional flex below the knee I want, but with a good seal up top, decent rebounds, and probably no need for any custom options.  I like the idea of the calf pillows that are popping up in pads these last couple years, but that's about the only thing I think these are missing.
  • Vaughn V9 Pro Carbons  I wore Velocity pads for years, I should probably consider going back to them.  Would give me that feel below the knee I'm used to and prefer, but obviously in a modern pad.  They have the option to go no external break and stiff or extra stiff in the thigh rise, so that would check off #2.  I do think I'd need to change up the knee block in a custom order, though.  I checked out a set of the Pro (not Pro Carbon) V9s at a local store and they didn't feel nearly as stable as the SLR2 Pros and the knee block is a floppy mess.  I'd for sure want the SLR2 style knee block and probably the magnetic professor strap if I go this route.  
  • Lefevre L20.1s  These check all the boxes, but I have two concerns with these.  One is that I'm probably between sizes and don't have any Lefevre dealers close by to make sure I get the correct sizing.  The other is how high the boot sits on the skate.  I'm only 5'10" and can use all the extra coverage I can get, but it seems to me having a boot that sits so high up on the skate will reduce the overall width in the butterfly or the reach when extended.
  • GNetik IV  Seems to check all the boxes too.  Has a soft boot, nice and firm up top, decently firm rebounds and can seemingly be specced with firmer density foams in the face to improve that, Primo material on the inside edge and the torsional flex I’m looking for. 

If you do go with either Vaughn, you will probably need to add stiffeners from the knee up to get the performance you want.

Note that 20.1 does not have any torsional flex in any part of the pad.  It plays more like a Premier than an Eflex.  I do like my set a lot and feel they are an upgrade from my EF4. 

Quote

Now, onto the glove.  I'm in a similar position with my glove as my pads.  I bought a set of Eagle gloves from one of the goaltenders on the local minor league team during my sophomore season, and played with them until I bought some XLTs on clearance from GoalieMonkey back in 2016.  The 590 break does not seem to work for me.  Here's a photo of the model of glove I played with below - 

s-l400.jpg

I have no idea what the specs are on that glove, but it looks to me like a 45* angle much like a traditional Velocity glove.  What's weird is that despite the much higher thumb angle on the 590, I'm constantly getting hit in the thumb with this thing and having popouts, seemingly because of the way it prompts me to hold my hand.  That would seem to tell me I should go for a 580 with an even higher pocket.  What's weird, though, is I naturally hold my thumb upright to begin with, rather than my fingers up like the 590 is supposedly designed for.  If I spend a good amount of time with my reaction ball, I find myself catching just fine but feeling like the pocket is too close to me, which would suggest I go with something closer to a 600 break, or a more traditional Velocity style glove.  The 590 is what feels most comfortable just picking up a glove off the rack, but I definitely want to make a change here.  Gun to head, I'd pick an SLR2 glove to go with the pads given the huge pocket and the thumb-up positioning of it and give it a go, but hoping some of you can help me out here.

That's a super long post, so apologies for that, but I appreciate the input very much!

Do you hold your glove fingers at 1 o'clock, 2 o'clock or 3 o'clock?  If you're a 3 o'clock guy, you are looking for a 90 degree.  

FWIW I spent a season in the 590 and never went back as I couldn't hold onto anything with it either. 
I had a little more success with the 600.  For me, the 580 does still have an unnatural feeling break, but it's also the best performing glove that I've used. 

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Thanks @Chenner29.  I do think the EF4 and L12.1 would fit my style of play, but after watching a YouTube review saying the EF4s were the “worst sliding pads he’d ever worn” that definitely made me pause.  The Primo/Quickslide Brian’s and Vaughn use is definitely appealing.  I use a 3/8” hollow and am an aggressive skater, so my crease is chewed up by the time the third period rolls around. 

Have to laugh at you questioning how long I played in the V1s, but it’s true. My folks bought them for me heading into my junior season in high school, so that was 2002.  I played 2 seasons of travel and 4 seasons of club in college in them ending in 2008, but then I didn’t so much as put on my skates for probably 6 years after that.  Started out as a sub in 2014ish playing in all my old gear, got on a team full time a year later and finally replaced everything over the course of about 18 months, and the pads were just about the last piece.  I found the first picture I took of them on my phone and it was Feb of 2017.  I only bought them because they matched the colorway of the XLT gloves and, well, I was stupid.  

Appreciate the input re: your L20.1s.  I definitely think I’d prefer some torsional flex below the knee, but the FRS allows the pad to be worn pretty snug it appears and they offer so much ankle mobility that I think they’d still work for me. Would hate to be wrong, though.

As far as the glove, I naturally want to hold my thumb at 12 o’clock, so I guess that puts my index finger at about 10 o’clock.  Thanks!

Edited by AdamL
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8 hours ago, Chenner29 said:

 

Sliding:

Out of what I've tried, CORTech > Fastglide > Speedskin.  Many who have tried Brians and Bauer say Brian's Primo is better than Bauer CORTech. 
Fastglide and Speedskin perform great on fresh ice (edge to Fastglide on a fresh sheet), but for us beer leaguers I think Jenpro or Weave are the safer options - we don't get a zam every 20 minutes and if you're playing at any kind of decent level the ice is gonna be trashed at the end of a full 60.  Also note that since you're coming off a Vaughn V1 (14+ years old?) and a senior line Reebok pad, any pro level pad you get at this point is going to be an upgrade.  Spec weave on the sliding surface if you're going custom.

 

ive tried all the pads surface on market exept vaughn but i consider vaughn material the exact same as brians

 

CORTech / PRIMO / weave on my jrz ( yes you read right the pads balance is perfect ) / fastglide from lefevre  / speedskin ... my friend with lefevre said the same thing about is fastglide and my weave because we switch your gear something for testing 

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2 hours ago, AdamL said:

Thanks @Chenner29.  I do think the EF4 and L12.1 would fit my style of play, but after watching a YouTube review saying the EF4s were the “worst sliding pads he’d ever worn” that definitely made me pause.  The Primo/Quickslide Brian’s and Vaughn use is definitely appealing.  I use a 3/8” hollow and am an aggressive skater, so my crease is chewed up by the time the third period rolls around. 

 

Hey Adam, where are you located?   I know for a fact (i.e. I've used them) that the Perani's in Columbus has a set of Axis pads that they loan out for demos and I believe that most of their bigger locations got demo sets as well.   I would agree that EF4 should be off your radar and that they were the worst sliding pads I'd used in years, but my Axis set is surprisingly flexible where I want it to be and the rebounds are HOT!  One spec I changed was to get a weave sliding surface and with that change they're lightyears better than my EF4's were.   As always, breaking in the glove is the worst part about buying CCM.

Of the sets you've listed I'd be looking at the Brian's the most closely.  Not only will the GIV hit all of your targets for pads, but the glove should feel pretty close to the Eagle you had as well.   I also really like the SLR2's, but I'd recommend swapping to the V9 glove to get closer to your old Eagle. 

One final recommendation would be to check out the Warrior G5's.  I ordered that set with the "pro" stiff thighrise and am super impressed with how the pads flex at the ankle and knee, but stay stiff otherwise.  Personally I preferred the sewn in pocket of the GT2 glove over the removable/adjustable liner on the G5 (simply for break-in) so I might go G5 pads/blocker (the blocker is awesome by the way) and a GT2 glove.   The stock GT2 break angle was pretty close to the 590, so I'd check out the 60 degree.  I went that way with my G5's and am much happier with this glove as it feels closer to the Vaughn T5500/Ve8 2-piece break that I regard as virtually perfect. 

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1 hour ago, Puckstopper said:

Hey Adam, where are you located?   I know for a fact (i.e. I've used them) that the Perani's in Columbus has a set of Axis pads that they loan out for demos and I believe that most of their bigger locations got demo sets as well.   I would agree that EF4 should be off your radar and that they were the worst sliding pads I'd used in years, but my Axis set is surprisingly flexible where I want it to be and the rebounds are HOT!  One spec I changed was to get a weave sliding surface and with that change they're lightyears better than my EF4's were.   As always, breaking in the glove is the worst part about buying CCM.

Of the sets you've listed I'd be looking at the Brian's the most closely.  Not only will the GIV hit all of your targets for pads, but the glove should feel pretty close to the Eagle you had as well.   I also really like the SLR2's, but I'd recommend swapping to the V9 glove to get closer to your old Eagle. 

One final recommendation would be to check out the Warrior G5's.  I ordered that set with the "pro" stiff thighrise and am super impressed with how the pads flex at the ankle and knee, but stay stiff otherwise.  Personally I preferred the sewn in pocket of the GT2 glove over the removable/adjustable liner on the G5 (simply for break-in) so I might go G5 pads/blocker (the blocker is awesome by the way) and a GT2 glove.   The stock GT2 break angle was pretty close to the 590, so I'd check out the 60 degree.  I went that way with my G5's and am much happier with this glove as it feels closer to the Vaughn T5500/Ve8 2-piece break that I regard as virtually perfect. 

I'm in Indianapolis, actually.  The Perani's here is certainly better than not having anything at all, but their selection is pretty small and they don't have any demo gear.

The GNetik line is quickly moving close to the top for me after reading some more about them.  May try to stop by the store today to see if they have any GNetik X pads to at least look at and size up, and a glove to try on.  Seems like Brian's releases their new lines in the fall, though, I wonder if a GNetik V line will coming out shortly.

Thanks for the G5 suggestion.  I can appreciate Warrior gear and think I might actually enjoy wearing it, but their stuff just doesn't give me the fizz.  I'm more interested in training and individual skill than gear, but this being my first custom set I plan to order, I want something that gets me a little excited.

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I think I made some progress over my lunch break.  I packed up my skates and went to Perani's to check out what they had again.  I actually tried on the V9s and the SLR2s this time, and I can pretty definitively say I'd prefer the V9s.  Vertically the SLR2s weren't any stiffer than the V9s, but torsionally I could feel a difference when crouching on one leg to simulate a lateral push, and especially when in the RVH.  Just that extra little bit of flexibility felt really nice.  Unfortunately they didn't have any GNetiks there, only the Optik 9.0s.  I haven't at all ruled out the GNetik 4s, so I'm down to those and V9s.  The V9s definitely need a more "pro" style knee block, though, in my opinion.  Something firmer and more rigid to the pad would make those just about perfect.  Not looking for an Ultrasonic knee block or anything, but the way Vaughn completely disconnected the top side of the knee block from the back of the pad is the strangest thing.

Made some progress on the glove front as well.  They didn't have any 580s on the rack, but I did try on a bunch of others. First was a GNetik 3, which has the same 35* break of the 4, and it instantly felt like home.  The Optik 9.0, CCM 600, and SLR2 all felt basically exactly the same to me, with more of a thumb to index pinching motion and a slightly more upright pocket, the GNetik felt like more of a hand squeeze like the 590 I'm used to but with a more natural (for me) positioning of the pocket given how I hold my glove hand.  The shop didn't have any regular V9 gloves in stock, but they're bringing one in from another store for me to try out.

Nobody cares, but on the blocker front I'd skip the V9, it's a bit of a mess.  The mobility was not good and the side board is oddly soft and not square.  The SLR2 blocker, though, is fantastic.  More snug to the back of my hand than the XLT I have now, but better mobility and quite a bit lighter.  Felt very similar to the Bauer blockers everybody loves so much, though no idea how rebounds compare.  I liked the Optik 9.0 blocker well enough and it's almost identical to the GNetik 4 it seems, so I think it'll either be a full GNetik 4 set or a V9 pad+glove, SLR2 blocker combo for me.

Edited by AdamL
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