Brand new for 2018, CCM has overhauled their flagship Premier line and brought out the LIGHTEST CCM goalie pad ever produced, the Premier II. Building off of an already successful Premier line, the Premier II has new specs sure to turn heads. Before we full dive into the full overview, we will review the CCM Premier II leg pad specs.
- Recessed Foam with Removable Knee Cradle Wrap*
- Jenpro/HD Foam Toe Bridge*
- Pre-Curved / Double Break Core / No Break Outer Roll
- Loose Fit Leg Channel – No Calf Strap*
- Shallow Soft Boot*
- Nylon Leg Channel*
- Removable Under Heel Boot Strap*
- No Knee Strap / 2” Elastic Only*
*Denotes Stock Options
For over a decade, the Premier model has been synonymous with butterfly goaltending, dating back to the Original RBK Premier 1. Goalies such as Marc Andre Fleury, Corey Crawford and Roberto Luongo have all worn the Premier throughout their career… and are still wearing the line today. While those goalies might still have their own strapping and modification preferences, they are still enjoying the overarching largest change on the line… the weight reduction.
It is no secret that the CCM Premier line was heavier and had some unique strapping configurations; the new Premier II line has a 20% weight reduction across each pad. While this is not the lightest pad on the market, this brings the line under 5.0 pounds per pad which is still lighter. For my specific set in 32+2.5, a single pad came in at 4.86 pounds right out of the box. There is a specific balance and reengineered core that CCM found to be an integral part of their Premier II lineup, especially noted with their pro goalies. As CCM noted there is a fine line in creating the lightest pad on the market while still keeping structural integrity and rigidity of a pad. On the spectrum of a light pad VS a stiffer cored pad, the core in the Premier II tends to be a notch towards the stiffer core to keep a better seal to the ice and not bend or twist on the goalie during key movements. While speaking on the weight savings, there are weight reductions in the actual shape of the outer calf wrap, recessed and removable outer knee cradle and strapping setup.
Internally, there is new Max Rebound Technology lining the entire face of the pad which is a specific foam layout dedicating to kicking rebounds out hard and fast. This harder rebound pattern gives goaltenders more time to recover and will help reduce second shot opportunities. Speaking personally about the line, I have always been a fan of harder rebounds and found this pad to be an absolute treat. With proper technique, pucks moved hard and away to the corners which allowed me to recover back to the post and gave my defense the perfect opportunities to initiate their play and remove other offensive threats.
Moving onto the back of the pad, this is the first CCM pad that has all leather knee and calf straps removed and replaced with strategic elastic strapping. Keeping similar designs from previous generations, there is a 2” wide elastic strap which comes out of the knee block and can attach directly across the knee or angled down to the calf. The attachment on the outside of the knee is still removable, which is perfect for those who wish to experiment with strapping options or different knee pad sizes. However, this piece has a totally different shape which promotes cleaner rotation if the goalie still chooses to angle behind their knee. Instead of the piece being a larger semi-circle, it is about 2.5” wide by 5” long which is just large enough for the Velcro from the knee strap to attach cleanly.
Building off of the Premier 1 mindset, where the top calf strap was the most important and integral to a pads successful rotation, there is still a top calf strap but it is now called the Quick Motion Strap System. This is a large “Y” style setup inside the pads sliding edge and the goalies calf, which goes into a 2” elastic strap which attaches via a Velcro on the outside of the goalies calf. This strap will help anchor the pad and keep the goaltenders leg firmly planted in the pad. There is some give in the elastic strap which allows for a faster drop velocity and recovery in and out of butterfly movements. My custom set came with 2 options as the pads come with both medium and large size straps. To note, I opted for the Large Quick Motion straps. These Large Quick Motion calf straps can also be lengthened by how the strap is actually inserted on the inside of the leg. This adjustment furthers allows the goalie to find their proper fit for the size of their leg.
Following the same construction as the Quick Motion top calf strap, a larger nylon strap closes off the entire leg channel. This strap begins on the inside of the calf, doubles through a loop on the outside of the leg channel and Velcro’s back on itself. This strap can be adjusted as tight or as loose as desired, but it is recommended to keep it more snug as it will help pull the calf of the pad tight to the inside of the leg. Another cool custom option from CCM falls under the “strap color” category, which in my case I chose Red. My boot straps, boot buckles and calf strap all match each other which adds more details to making sets look more custom!
A large difference between the CCM Premier and Premier II is within the boot angle. On the CCM Premier, the boot angle was at such a stiff and straight angle that it forced goalies to drop down in knee sizing to achieve the proper fit. Now, there is a similar sizing between the ExtremeFlex3 and Premier II. This is due to a slight change in boot angle which is not too soft or stiff, but has a spring-like feel which allows for deep pushes but will not break down or settle. The newer boot angle is a 60 degree boot shape whereas the EF3 is a 90 degree boot angle. On a personal note, I chose to go with a 32+ in the Premier II line because I felt that my 33+ EF3’s were a little bit too big in the knee and wanted a better fit in the knee section to give more security to ensure my knee will control the knee block.
Finishing off the knee area, there is a brand new material used in the knee block which gives the goalie phenomenal grip when down in the butterfly. This new design is the 3D Grip with injection molded EPP Foams, a shiny silver material with a specific grip pattern that caters directly to butterfly goaltenders but also gives perfect grip when leaning on the pad in the RVH position. This new 3D Grip block also has a very soft feel to it and allows the goalie to feel the ultimate amount of comfort and soft landing to save their knees throughout a session.
Speaking with my personal preference, I have always been a Premier aficionado and loved that line. Getting in to the newest generation and best iteration (in my opinion) of the Premier was something that I absolutely enjoyed and felt very comfortable in. The downward movement and seal to the ice was perfect. Coming from the SpeedSkin on the EF3’s, I was very comfortable with using this material. The new harder Injection Molded EPP foam, coupled with the smaller knee size, I felt incredibly stable in all butterfly slides and movements. The new outer knee lock attachment integrated perfectly with my CCM Pro knee pads and still gave me perfect pad rotation.
Now, let’s move on to the blocker!
“A blocker is just a blocker…” Right? Wrong! This piece is the most overlooked pieced of equipment but CCM has created some specific changes to the Premier II line to showcase differences from the EF3 line and created a new style specific for butterfly goalies. Here are the specs of my Premier II blocker:
- Regular Hand
- Regular Palm Size
- Centered Palm Position
- Bindingless Blocker Face Edge
- One Piece Cuff
- Curved Finger Protection
- Suregrip Palm
All specs on this blocker are stock
Continuing on the success of all Premier style blockers, CCM did not sacrifice their style and protection yet added new specs which create a different function. The first noticeable change is within the backhand wrist opening, now called the One Piece Cuff. Yes this is still a spec used for gloves, but the blocker One Piece Cuff spec is a larger piece of foam that wraps entirely around the wrist and fills any negative space between the wrist and back of the blocker board.
Next, CCM has redesigned the index finger portion of the sidewall and connection point for the index finger protection which is called the Curved Finger Protection. This spec is similar to what was on older model Premier blockers; however the redesigned sidewall coupled with the Curved Finger pad gives goalies added protection and seal along the stick. Continuing on the success of the ExtremeFlex3, there is a full wrap of D3O Material entirely wrapping around the index finger to protect against any pucks that might roll up into the stick and jam the index finger.
Another change that most goalies might not notice is within the binding setup on the sidewall of the blocker. Now, CCM is offering a true Bindingless blocker, not only on the face of the blocker but on the sidewall too. This provides the goalie with a very clean look, but it also improves the durability by removing the binding that used to stick out and get worn on the side of the stick.
Last but not least, continuing on the weight reductions in the pads, CCM has reengineered the weight distribution and blocker foams to give a lighter feel on the goalies hand. This 24% weight reduction will allow for goalies to make even quicker blocker saves and easier stickhandling efforts.
On the ice, this blocker performs better than expected. I found the new One Piece Cuff to help provide some rigidity on the back of the wrist so when pucks came off the board, the blocker does not bend back as much and this helps control rebounds. The Curved Finger protection sealed perfectly against the stick and gave me the confidence needed to engage in a blocking butterfly. Whether I was in my stance or playing the puck, the suregrip palm was a perfect touch to give me the feel I was looking for. The weight reduction was something I almost took for granted as first, but sliding my hand back into an older Premier or even an EF3 blocker seemed laborious to move in.
Everyone’s favorite part of the review, the glove!
Dating back to the Koho 590 glove, the 590 break has been very popular with goaltenders over the last 15 years and there are new specific designs on the Premier II glove that keep goaltenders in the beloved 590 / 60 degree closure. Below are the specs for my Premier II glove:
- Regular Hand
- Regular Palm Size
- 590 One Piece Cuff
- Game Ready Palm
- Double Straight T
- White Skate Lace Pocket
All specs on this glove are stock
The Premier II glove has continued the perfect lineage along the CCM Premier yet has the new key features to give goalies extra protection and visibility into the pocket. The D3O Material is visibly seen on the outside of the palm protection and acts much like an extra pro palm, which helps reduce the likelihood of stingers if a puck is not caught clean in the pocket.
In the pocket of the glove, CCM has taken the massive success from the EF3 glove and added the Double Straight T as a stock option on the Premier II. This pocket allows the goalie to completely see into the pocket and still yield for a soft catch. At the base of the spine of the T, there is a U shaped design which keeps for a clean attachment point and also promotes an easy break in and game ready feel right out of the box. The spines are stiffened up to give a better shape and depth to the pocket giving the goalie the maximum depth allowed to help cradle pucks.
Internally, there is a new Velcro setup across the fingers to give a better fit on the inside of the glove. While the rest of the strapping setup will look familiar, this new strap across the back of the hand will create a better overall fit to keep the hand in the glove and give the best closure.
When using this glove on the ice, I quickly remembered why it is still heavily preferred amongst multiple NHL and pro level hockey players. The 60 degree closure feels very natural on the hand and the larger cuff gives me the proper confidence I need when sealing in tight to my body. The Double T was awesome to use and it allowed me to see right through the pocket when catching pucks giving me a better and easier visual attachment when tracking.
The CCM Premier II line is specifically designed for the butterfly style goaltender who would like to utilize all new strapping features and have the lightest pad that CCM has ever put out. The Litecore, Quick Motion Strapping and SpeedSkin material all promote a seamless and easy butterfly. The harder rebound control gives goalies extra time to recover and will help eliminate second chances. If you are a butterfly goalie looking for a super light pad that kicks out hard rebounds, with a glove and blocker built for the same style, the CCM Premier II line is for you!