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Graf DM1080


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A few people have asked for my thoughts on the Graf DM1080s, so, here we are.

Some preamble: I sustained a pretty nasty high-ankle sprain last April, and really couldn't play any meaningful hockey until mid-January of this year. Attempts to play didn't go well, and it was eventually found that I had also sustained a minor tendon tear in the back of leg/ankle. I had been in a pair of VH skates with Bauer cowling, but was interested in trying the new(ish) Grafs - in my younger, more competitive days, I always wore Graf skates, so I'm familiar with the general feel of them. I knew they'd allow me more mobility with my ankle (a lower, more open boot compated to the more form-fitting VH), though I didn't know if that'd be a positive thing.

A pair popped up on GGSU, in what I assumed to be my size, and at an absolute steal of a price. So, I snapped them up.

I returned to the ice roughly a month ago, rocking my new Optik setup, and, the Graf DM1080s.

Appearance: These skates look GREAT. Black cowling is always a plus, though the previous owner opted for the standard blades instead of the black blades. Oh well. The previous owner had also altered the cowling, giving it the "Carey Price" cut. More on this later.

Weight: To be honest, holding both the VH and Graf skates in each hand, I can't really discern much of a weight difference.

MISC: The build quality is, as expected, great. The tongue is a super, super thick felt, which is very comfortable.

So, some may say it'd be foolish to jump right back in wearing so much new gear, but I'm of the mindset that if you have your fundamentals down, you should be just fine - new equipment should never be an excuse. My immediate impressions were that the Grafs probably ran a half-to-full size large, as I have a bit of extra space around my toes. The front toe box also seems wider - they feel spacious, but not bad.

The feel of the 4mm blade is nice - I've been using 3mm on my VHs, and I'm considering switching back. The steel is high quality, and has held it's edge very well. The height of the stock steel is comparable to standard Step Steel, and combined with the cut-out cowling, gives a VERY good attack angle. Each push feels quite solid.

The cowling on my left skate failed somewhat spectacularly last weekend. I had to extend a bit to stop a quick, low wrister, which hit the cap and blasted pieces of plastic all over my crease. I was annoyed by this, especially as I was at a one-day tournament that saw me play almost immediately after my first game, and wouldn't have time to inspect the damage. I figured I'd be generally ok, as the toe box construction on Grafs are stated to be double the thickness of other brands - but, I was a bit wrong on this. The impact had cracked the plastic down the bottom of the cowling, allowing the blade to flex and move considerably on pushes. I'm lucky it didn't break during my second game, as I could've injured myself. I can't blame this failure on Graf, as the cowlings had been pretty seriously modified, which was probably the cause.

I was able to get the cowling replaced quickly, though I now have a two-tone pair of skates, as I could only get a white cowling on such short notice. I've played one game with the mismatched cowling, and didn't notice any glaring differences between the cut and non-cut skate.

I'm happy I've been able to give the Graf DM1080s a solid try. There are aspects of them I prefer to my VH/Bauer setup - the lower pitch of the Graf cowling, and the 4mm steel. The difference in ankle room/support is interesting, but I won't be able to make any real observations on that until I switch back to my VHs for a bit, which may start tonight (if I can get them sharpened). I don't have any real complaints; the sizing issue isn't a big deal.

If you get the chance to give the Graf DM1080s a spin, and are familiar with Graf, you'll likely be quite thrilled. If you're like myself, and are looking to try something a bit different, you'll also probably be quite pleased.

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thanks @Murray for the detailed review, very useful! Answered most of my questions but wanted to get your thoughts on the stock, non-Price cut cowling.

Prior to this review I sort of assumed the taller steel and new slimmed down cowling on the 1080 would mitigate any attack angle issues, and sounds like you’d agree (for most stances, generally speaking)? If so I’d likely not want to mod it, especially after hearing about the  shattered toe piece. 

I was also a little weary of the taller 4mm steel but sounds like you had no issues and almost prefer it. All good news. Thanks again man, great review!! And good to hear you’re back at it. Injuries suck, just coming back from rotator cuff surgery myself!

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So, I've flip-flopped back and forth between my Grafs and VHs for a few games now, and hopping back into the VHs was a pretty quick reminder of how much difference a custom-fit boot makes. The feel for the ice, energy transfer...the 3mm steel feels much nimbler, though two sharpens haven't sussed out an odd edge issue on the right blade...

I did play with the Grafs this morning, though, and likely tonight - but the word that's crept into my mind now is "clunky".

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