New for 2017, CCM has re-engineered their Extreme Flex line and has brought out a pad which is the lightest of all incarnations of the Extreme Flex models. The Extreme Flex 3 pad has uncompromised stability and explosive powerful pushes which enrich the goaltender’s game. Before we get into the full overview of the set, here are the specs of Extreme Flex 3 leg pads:
- Recessed foam with removable knee cradle wrap
- Jenpro/HD Toe Bridge
- No thigh protector
- Single break core, single break outer
- Tight Fit leg channel – 1 calf strap
- Deep soft boot
- Nylon leg channel
- Removable boot strap
- Single adjustable strap at and below the knee
The Extreme Flex 3 pads have a phenomenal construction which immediately blew me away. The graphic allows the goalie to create many unique color zones that can reflect older model Lefevre built pads, or even most recent graphics in the Extreme Flex line. In addition to the construction and graphic, the usage of CCM’s new proprietary “SpeedSkin” synthetic stamped material creates a new level for style and function. It functions better than weave material, but has a more flat look to it instead of a shine. This material is designed to increase the sliding and glide that a goalie needs during a game to get into position faster. SpeedSkin truly allows for easier slides and down movements on the ice. Whether it is a butterfly slide or a recovery into an RVH position, I felt that these pads got me into position faster and easier than any other pad.
Continuing on the build of the pad, the Extreme Flex 3 core has been re-engineered to have optimized weight distribution for all movements in the crease. The outer gusset has been dramatically thinned out on the top portion of the thigh to allow the pad to hug the leg and sit closer to the body. In regards to the thinner outside gusset, I felt that going down in size from my previous P4’s and EF1’s in a 33+2, to a 33+1.5 in the Extreme Flex 3 actually plays bigger and closes the five hole better than a taller pad did before.
The Velcro strapping system, specifically in the knee section, has been refined to include easy modifications for goaltenders that wear larger knee pads and want to angle their knee lock down to the calf. The new removable outer knee cradle wrap has a simple system where the outer Velcro knee lock can be kept laced in for the traditional style goalie who wants to keep the knee lock running directly behind the knee. Or the outer knee cradle wrap can be unlaced for the goaltender that might need more room in the knee cradle for larger knee pads or for those who want the pads to hang down more towards the five hole when the knee lock is angled down to the calf. This removal of the outer knee cradle wrap creates a very clean look in the knee area, free of any pieces which can catch on the pants or hinder a drop into the butterfly. Note, I have actually included my own tighter fit system for using the knee Velcro directly behind the knee and flipped the removable outer knee wrap to act as protection on the outside of my knee cap.
Behind the knee Velcro, CCM has created a new strapping system made of synthetic nylon which is pressed thin, hole-punched and coated, creating the illusion of a traditional leather strap but without the weight and potential wear the leather straps have. This new strapping system is found on all matching buckles as well. At first touch, these straps have a slight rigidity to them, but feel weightless on the back of the leg creating a great touch to the redesign of the pad.
During on ice usage, I noticed that the pads stayed in tight to the legs and felt very comfortable on the back of the leg. With all of the new added features, I felt movements to be very fluid and natural which allowed me to get right into position and transition with ease. Specifically, the SpeedSkin material actually caused some over sliding and once I was able to dial down the speed and increase glide, I was actually able to focus on more precise pushes not just powerful pushes which could send me out of control. Another note for this line is the audible sound the pads make when dropping down to the ice. The inside edge of this Extreme Flex 3 pad was sealing to the ice incredibly well and there were no pucks squeaking underneath the pad. Rebounds were still very predictable even though the pads have a visible knee roll section and were coming off of pad with a medium-fast speed. The pucks were not dying directly in front, but were directing out of harm’s way so there were no easy tap-ins or garbage goals.
With the combination of the new strapping materials, outer gusset being thinned out and the new weight of the core, the entire weight of the pad has been reduced by close to 20%. This dramatic weight reduction has given a new life to the already successful Extreme Flex line, but kept the stability and sturdiness that goalies prefer.
Moving onto the blocker:
I know a lot of people believe that a blocker is just a blocker, nothing more. However, I am a firm believer that a blocker can be the most integral piece of a goaltenders stance and presence to the shooter. Here are the specs of my Extreme Flex 3 blocker:
- Regular hand
- Regular sized palm
- Shallow/curved finger protection
- Suregrip palm
- Centered palm position
- Bindingless edge
CCM makes one of the best blockers on the market with a tried and true design which has been re-engineered on the Extreme Flex 3 to offer the best combination of feel and protection. The Extreme Flex 3 blocker has a thick HD board directly over the back of the hand which allows for pucks to redirect to the corner or glass with force. The new Shallow finger protection is a longer index finger piece which covers more of the opening where the stick sits in the sidewall. This piece is engineered to give maximum coverage on the stick and index finger to prevent any pucks from riding up the paddle into the finger, while still creating maximum movement and mobility to put the stick and blocker into the right position.
To further reinforce the index finger area, CCM has added a full wrap around shield of D30 in a mesh shield on the back of the palm. This proprietary material helps keep the finger protected from any odd shots, but also adds comfort to the fingers when closing the hand around the stick.
During on ice play, I found the suregrip on the palm too actually be a little more tacky than other blockers I was using, which made me reduce the grip tape I had taped onto my sticks. The balance of the blocker was extremely familiar to me and using the adjustable cuff I was able to get full articulation in my wrist movements to allow the blocker to fully present to the shooter and redirect pucks to safety. The use of SpeedSkin in all of the zones keeps the clean look across all pieces of gear, but does not have any positive effect of improved slide or glide as this piece is rarely needed in that way.
And onto the glove:
The Extreme Flex 2 was one of the most popular gloves we have seen sold at the retail level and numerous Pros have switched over to the comfortable 600 break for a reason and I was very excited to see the ingenious designs the CCM team came up with to improve the line. Here the specs of my Extreme Flex 3 glove:
- Regular hand
- Pro palm
- 600 One-piece cuff
- Double Straight T
- Regular palm size
- White skate lace pocket
This Extreme Flex 3 glove is a beautiful continuation of an already superb catch glove which will bring a lot of positive changes that goalies are looking for. First, the cuff shape is different from the previous generation which is noticeable almost immediately. The new cuff shape is similar to that of a 590 cuff as where there is some more shape towards the top “thumb” side of the cuff to help gain coverage and clip any pucks which are fired above the goalies hand. This new shape also makes the glove tuck a little better against the body when trying to close off the gap between the cuff and side.
Next, CCM has continued their lineage of D30 material in the base of their EF2 glove, palm of the Premier glove and now in the external palm on the Extreme Flex 3. This additional material and padding can be found on the thumb and pinky side of the palm stitching and is noticeably more padded than previous models. This D30 adds in protection against any potential stingers from pucks that do not find their way into the pocket.
Looking right into the pocket itself, you will notice a brand new DEEP Double T pocket that is redesigned for improved sight into the pocket and great puck retention. This T is a U-shape build where it connects in a circular base into the perimeter lacing. This design is beneficial in allowing for a smooth closure while remaining rigid to prevent the base of the T from beginning to fold in on itself. Within the spines of the T, you will notice no binding running between the 2, making for a wider opening which allows the goalie to easily see right into or through their pocket. The 2 spines are reinforced to that pucks will not to start weakening them over time and pucks will not ever slide through. The pocket itself is very wide in terms of visual presentation and has more volume and shape to it, compared to a ‘V’ or cone shape seen on a traditional single-T pocket.
A very small, but positive change I noticed was in the backhand build where the Extreme Flex 3 has changes across the outside of the wrist to cover more of the hand when closing the glove. This small addition makes the closure smoother and adds protection for any odd slashes that might get through while covering the puck.
On ice, this glove actually gave me a few more challenges to get used to the angle and closure as I was accustomed to a different glove. Nonetheless, the features and performance lived up to every design addition. I found the glove to present itself as a very large surface to the shooter and the graphic layout creates a nice camouflaged blend to the netting behind me. In terms of shooting and making passes it was incredibly easy and the glove had a very natural grip with minimal effort.
The Extreme Flex 3 is a new breath of fresh air combining with the homage of the Lefevre family design and rich history in the CCM name. I have thoroughly enjoyed the addition of SpeedSkin, D3O in strategic areas and the reduced weight in this line. This Extreme Flex 3 line will be a continued force in the goalie world when they hit stores April 28th, 2017.