Part 1 of a 2 part blog post:
It’s a fact that I’ve learned to accept: I spend way too much time on the internet surfing goalie-related material. From online forums and social media groups to video reviews and even sorting through our GoalieMonkey reviews, every day I find something interesting; something new that I can take home. With so much time spent online, I have found that one of the biggest mysteries surrounding goalie gear lies within the Reebok, CCM, and Koho lines of equipment. I agree, it can get confusing and often the differences can only be seen first-hand with the product on the ice. This week I introduce a two-part blog outlining the history and differences between the three lines of Lefevre gear. Three brands, multiple families of gear within each, it really can get a bit confusing. Let’s figure it out.
A bit of a backstory:
Canada Cycle and Motor Company (CCM) opened its doors for business in Weston, Ontario, Canada in 1899. With the bicycle market in Canada on the downswing by 1905, CCM decided to shift its attention to the rapidly growing hockey equipment market and thus CCM Automobile Skate was established. By 1940, CCM dominated the hockey skate market, with over 90% wearing models such as the Tackaberry hockey boot with CCM ProLite blade. CCM would continue this dominance, carrying the momentum all the way into the 1990s when the brand’s owner acquired Sports Holdings Corporation, becoming The Hockey Company shortly thereafter. Easy enough right?
Meanwhile, a Finnish brand by the name of KOHO began its dominance in the hockey industry with the production of sticks in the 1950s, ultimately producing full lines of skates and protective hockey gear. In the 1990s, KOHO brought in a designer by the name of Michel Lefevre, along with his 30+ years of experience designing gear for the likes of NHL pros such as Patrick Roy and Jocelyn Thibault. With the KOHO name to back the increasingly popular Lefevre designs, the brand exploded in the late 90’s and early 2000s, becoming a staple for NHL and pro goalies around the world. Reebok acquired both the KOHO brand and The Hockey Company in the 2000s, ultimately dropping the KOHO name in favor of RBK/Reebok during the 05-06 NHL lockout with Michel Lefevre and his son Patrick continuing to provide their revolutionary new ideas from the design aspect.
This company structure still stands today, with Reebok Intl. Inc. serving as the parent company for the CCM, KOHO, and Reebok names. (As a side note, Reebok Intl. is now a subsidiary of Adidas AG, however remains independent of operations). After the KOHO name was dropped from goalie equipment, Monkey Sports, Inc. managed to bring back the name with none other than the Lefevre family as the designers and Jonas Hiller (then with the Anaheim Ducks) providing design consultation. The CCM Brand tooka short hiatus, however has also reentered the industry with the Extreme Flex family of gear.
Long story? Yes, but where does that leave us? Still three lines of gear, three brand names, one designer.
Let’s break down the gear. We will focus primarily on the leg pads, as each are associated with a particular style and leave the gloves for a future blog topic.
After the 05-06 NHL lockout, Reebok introduced the Premier Series of gear, their flagship pure butterfly style of pad, providing maximum coverage for goalies who prefer to utilize the stiff front face to redirect pucks to the corner for easy recovery. Six generations later of the Premier line, the concept remains the same and the demand is greater than ever. Noting the request of Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens for an increasingly softer and softer pad from the Premier line, Lefevre worked directly with Carey to design a more ‘hybrid’ style of pad, offering a softer face with greater flexibility and mobility. To differentiate it from the Premier line, the CCM brand was reintroduced with the Extreme Flex family name. Meanwhile, Goalie Monkey and Lefevre have steadily developed and fine-tuned the Revolution series of pad under the KOHO name to provide goalies with a combination of butterfly and hybrid styling, offering a stiffer face with softer boot and knee breaks.
So we’ve associated a style with each pad model, but this is still quite vague. In the next post we will get technical and dive deeper into each of the features that set them apart.
In the meantime, check out the full lines of each brand and see if you can spot the differences!
Reebok Goalie Leg Pads here: http://www.goaliemonkey.com/equipment/leg-pads/sr-goalie-leg-pads/brand/reebok.html
CCM Goalie Leg Pads here: http://www.goaliemonkey.com/equipment/leg-pads/sr-goalie-leg-pads/brand/ccm.html
Koho Goalie Leg Pads here: http://www.goaliemonkey.com/equipment/leg-pads/sr-goalie-leg-pads/brand/koho.html