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In the beginning... and in this case that's early March 2019... I made the decision to not only move from CCM to Bauer... but that if I was making the switch I might as well go all out and go True Design. While unavailable for retail customers at the time Bauer had already committed to doing so and I wanted to get ahead of the game. I contacted Vince Arnone (@thevincenzoarnone on IG) who had already done a litany of custom designs for NHLers, KHLers, Juniors, College, and Beer League goaltenders. After a number of iterations we arrived at a relatively simple vintage design... my intention being an homage to vintage gear while embracing the minimalism of modern pads... so textured brown leather... traditional vertical/horizontal lines... but none of the strapping or waffle you'd see on other vintage sets... Fast forward to early June 2019 I was finally able to start working w/ the True Design team at Bauer. With my design in hand we started. For those of you who haven't looked into the process much... it goes like this... You submit an image/sketch of what you're looking for to Bauer. It can literally be a scanned doodle on a napkin, a sketch on one of the templates from a My Bauer Custom Goal Gear catalog, or like in my case a digital image. Included in the price of True Design, you get 3 revisions w/ Bauer. Their designer's render your initial submittal onto the pads and you can reply w/ changes you'd like to have made... move stuff... change colors... or start over entirely... but you only get 3 renderings. My advice to anyone looking to do this... read the True Design Brand Guide to understand what MUST be on there... then start off w/ a good image in the first place. Doing so will reduce how much you have to change at all. Some of you may remember I posted some images for feedback on my final mock up and they were very minor... logo colors and faux patch colors... the rest I was already good with. Also, having the functional specs ready helps the renderings as well... 45 degree knee blocks... boot strap etc... that will all be included in the renderings. Wait. Given I was one of the first at retail to get a design in... and that every Pro Bauer was working with was likely doing it at the same time I was... and that this is a new process... I knew it would take some time. Bauer never quoted a lead time up front but once the order was in SAP I received a date from my retailer... ~15 weeks from the date it was entered. Long... but again... it's new territory so I waited. The actual delivery was at 14 weeks... so Bauer did it right IMO... they didn't over promise. You'll notice some clear differences between the vision Vince and I came up with and V003. One of the main driver's was the size and contrast demands for Bauer's Branding... both the Bauer name and Series. The Bauer and Series logos themselves are a raised heat transfer so color options were limiting as well. In digesting that news I looked at images of vintage gear and realized that really... branding on the face of the pad was only on knee rolls or patches... so I moved Bauer to the roll and added a simple patch with the series at the top of the pad. In my research I also came across a Saginaw Spirits set of pads in which Bauer printed an American flag at the top of the pad only to have it be partially covered by binding... so I made a point to tell Bauer to locate it lower on the thigh to avoid that from happening to me. The same went for the glove and blocker... I opted to move things around to make it work within the branding guidelines. Aside from that... I went with black backing on everything and said GO! The process itself through Bauer was smooth. I'd receive a rendering... analyze/obsess every subtle nuance I could find... make a good list of changes I wanted to see... send it back same day or next day. Bauer held to their 72 hour or less return on changes with a new mock up... so from Design 001 to Design 003... it was 10 days... June 18 to June 28. With the cosmetics decided... and while I had functional specs already laid out for the most part... next you finalize those specs. In the time I went through the process Bauer tweaked their excel file from a r1.A to r2.0. I'm not sure what Rev they're on now but I can't imagine it has changed much. You'll reference your Custom Graphic number found on the lower right of the rendering... and from there start clicking. Screenshot of my spec sheet... 14 weeks later... I received this pictures via text while excitedly speaking with the shop and all that anticipation and joy was gone in a flash. You'll notice something wrong here... the faux Bauer patch on the face of the outer roll... well that should be on the outer gusset of that roll. Not ok. I reminded myself that this is a new process... new territory... and that I trusted the retailer and more importantly Bauer... to make it right. The shop contacted Bauer and relayed my disappointment and desire to have the pads remade correctly. The question was asked if I would accept them for a reduced price... but that discussion ended quickly as reminded them that if I didn't care about the aesthetics much I wouldn't have gone w/ True Design. With no push back Bauer advised the shop to release the equipment to me and that they would get cracking on a new set of leg pads printed correctly. In the mean time I was free to use this set and would return them upon receipt of the new ones. I cannot speak to whether that is standard practice for Bauer... but I can say that I think it's fair. I have no issue in paying for the product in full so long as it's the product I ordered. For now I will leave you to bask in the images below of the set... more to come on initial overview (specs, weights, dims, etc)... and on ice impressions from someone coming from a CCM EF1 Retroflex to a much more firm pad...