Posts Tagged ‘protective’


Product: CCM U+ Crazy Light (CL) Shoulder pads

Size: L

Available at: most hockey retailers and several online stores

Also available in limited edition Midnight model 

Price: €149 or $194

 

ImageCCM’s U+ CL shoulder pads are the company’s flagship product in upper body protection. The company has gone a different way to many of the other manufacturers out in the market. While many others have gone to create bulkier pads, CCM has opted for going for a slimmed and “stripped down” look. This is due to its work and feedback from a lot of the players who wanted a slimmed down shoulder pad that would still offer great levels of protection.

 

The big play CCM has been making over the past few years has been its U-Foam technology which has been deployed in its skates but has now been integrated into protective equipment as well. The U-Foam, CCM says, is stronger than any traditional plastic used in protective equipment. If CCM marketing is to go by, using all CCM CL equipment would reduce your equipment’s weight by almost 2kg.

 

LooksImage

One of the things in terms of look of the pads is that they look like a modernised version of the classic pro pads of the 70s and 80s. The pads stand up to their name and feel, well crazy light, in terms of weight. However, some of the plastics and straps do have a bit of a “cheap” feel to them.

 

However, having worn the pads for two months now for training and games, the pads have been put through their paces. The materials, even at the thinner parts of the pads are really sturdy. However, there has been some minor fraying of the stitching work on the pads.

Protection

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The clavicle and shoulder blade protection in the U+ CL is one of the highlights of the pads

One of the things I was really impressed by in CCM when it first introduced the Vector line of protective equipment, the shoulder pads featured a floating sternum protection, as well as floating spine protection. The floating spinal support was something that was removed from the CCM V10 and U Fit Pro few years ago. CCM has now brought these two features back and they can be found (to varying levels) from pads like the CS, U+12 and U+8.

 

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The Shoulder cup and bicep guard cover the shoulder/bicep area really well leaving mininal exposure between elbow pads

Perhaps one of the biggest improvements on the pads has been the shoulder cups. In the past few models of shoulder pads the shoulder cups have left something to be desired for. In the U+ CL the shoulder cups protect the shoulder area perfectly, not leaving any areas exposed, which was something that happened with the CCM V10. The shoulder cups do not leave any areas exposed.

 

Compared with majority of pads out there, the shoulder cups on the CCM U+ CL do not add bulk to the pads and keep up with the overall streamlined look of the pads. Other manufacturers seem to have gone for bigger, bulkier cups and protection, but there’s a disadvantage in the design in that it could reduce your ability to move as effectively. With the CCM U+ CL, CCM has achieved optimum movement, fit and protection.

What CCM has kept as constant from its previous pads is the protection around the clavicle and shoulder blade.  The protection around the clavicle and collarbone is superb and protects really softens the blows from hits and is something that has not been seen replicated to the same degree of protection on other shoulder pads.

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The floating sternum (and spine) offer high levels of ventilation as well as protection

 

The sternum area of the shoulder pads, combines hard plastic as well as CCM’s U foam to offer optimal protection. Again, these materials do not reduce the movement of your body, but move with you. When comparing this area of the pads to others in the market, CCM has an edge here as again, many other manufacturers have made this area of the pads really bulky.

 

Fit:

ImageThe CCM U+ CL has somewhat different style of Velcro straps than other pads. The strips are shorter and in comparison to old CCM models, or for any other manufacturer, the Velcro strips are small. There is a bit of concern in the way the pads will fit as you don’t have as big of an area to make the pads fit properly. This is why it is critically important to make sure that you choose the right size, so if you are going for these pads, make sure you try on a few sizes before you buy.

 

Otherwise, the pads sit quite nicely on the body and there isn’t too much in terms of movement and the pads do not move from their desired position, but follow the body’s natural movement whilst skating.

 

What about the name and whether it is actually Crazy Lite? Well, yes, yes it is. It is the lightest modern pad on the market at the moment. You will notice the lightweight from the first wear of the pads and it can be a bit of a shock when you first skate with it on. Has it made me any faster? I haven’t noticed a huge difference, but the biggest difference has been in the mobility of the upper body.

 

The other thing is that the U+ Crazy Lite actually transfers the sweat off of the body and the pads are dry, which makes a huge difference through out the course of the game. Not only because the pads maintain their original weight,  but also help transfer the sweat off of your body, which in turn means you will recover a bit quicker.

 

Ventilation:

The pads provide a great degree of ventilation. There are vents on the chest and back of the pads and the sternum and back protection also has plenty of ventilation on it. The ventilation really helps keeping you cool and the materials stay dry, which does not add weight to your equipment as you sweat. In fact, the shoulder pads is the piece of equipment that doesn’t need real drying once you’ve come of the ice. Even after a bag skate.

 

Conclusion:

When we first got the CCM pads, we were not sure whether they would be any good and if they would provide good protection as CCM has gone against the current and has slimmed down the design and used materials that do not add bulk and strip down a lot of the weight off the pad.

The CCM U+ CL is an elite, top of the range shoulder pad. Despite a slim look, it provides great levels of protection at the key areas (sternum, spine, shoulders and clavicles). CCM has gone the opposite way of many other equipment manufacturers and has gone with a slim, low profile look. It is like the old school shoulder pads of the 80s, except on steroids.

The pads are great, even if a bit pricey. However, if you are after an elite shoulder pads that provide superior protection, it is worth looking at. However, the CCM U+ CS and U+12 still offer similar levels of protection and might not break the bank.

 

Pros:

  • Light weight
  • Lean and stripped design makes it a dynamic shoulder pad
  • Superb floating sternum and spinal protection
  • U foam in shoulder cups minimises impacts
  • Perhaps the best clavicle/collarbone protection in the market
  • Good ventilation

Cons

  • Can look a bit cheap (It is in fact durable, but many have commented that it looks flimsy)
  • Costly when compared to other top of range pads
  • Velcro attachment areas are small compared to others (Choose your size carefully)
  • After two months, some stitching work has frayed a bit. 

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Pro level hockey equipment available at great prices available by clicking on the above image


Bit of a different post, this time. I came across a company called Protech Dent, part of Akervall Technologies. The good folks at Akervall Technologies sent me a few of their Protech Dent mouth guards to review.

As a hockey player, mouth guards are something that I’ve began to obsess over. Playing as an 18 year old and moving to a half visor, I felt that a mouth guard was an essential piece of protection. But I have not found one that truly fits and I have tried them all. I have tried ones that you can pick up from your supermarket’s sports department, I have tried ones from Shock Doctor, Reebok and very expensive ones, but I have not found one that fits and feels comfortable.

Many would recommend that I visit a dentist to get one custom made, but there is such a huge cost of those in this country it simply isn’t feasible. So onto Protech Dent then:

What came out of the box was somewhat surprising. Where normally when you buy a mouth guard, you would receive one that has the usual shape, but not with Protech Dent. Protech dent in its base form is actually a 1.6mm ‘disc’ and my first thought was, there is no way this will fit or work. The material looks quite flimsy and carries no bulk. The product promises that it will create a snug fit and will protect your teeth because the material is harder than conventional mouth guards.

The moulding process is much the same as other mouth guards. You heat it in water and wait till the material turns clear. After that it is a simple case of fitting it in your mouth and moulding it according to your teeth. Once the product returns to its original colour your mouth guard is complete.

I found the fitting process simple. My previous mouthguard, Reebok Smart Mouth, was overall a messy process with the putty ending up everywhere and I remember spitting chunks of blue goo out of my mouth nearly a week after I had fitted it. Additionally with the Smart Mouth, the material would not stick properly and would come off in use. Further to the fore mentioned mouth guards, I’ve often found that during the moulding process the edges and the outer surface of the mouth guards can become rough and, at least in my case, have caused mouth ulcers due to the sharp and rough edges cutting my lip from the inside.

I have to admit that once the Protech Dent mouth guard had finished I was even more surprised. The flimsy 1.6mm disc did turn into a mouth guard that was truly unique to my teeth. The material was harder than others I have used, including Shock Doctor, Reebok and Itech to mention but a few.

However, on a negative side, I find that the snug fit that the brochures and fitting instructions promise, is a bit too snug. Where the mouth guard fits nicely around my teeth, it takes a while to take the mouth guard out of your mouth. This might be because I have sustained dental damage from cross checks and high sticks in the past so my teeth tend to be a bit sensitive to pulling it out.

However, when I compared the ability to speak, breathe whilst skating, drinking in between drills/shifts with the Reebok Smart Mouth, the Protech Dent one was the clear winner in all categories. I was speaking with ease and clearly and the mouth guard was not falling off its place. It didn’t hinder my breathing and I actually felt that I’m getting the same performance as I would do as playing without a mouth guard. The ones I’ve used from Reebok and Shock Doctor feel like I’m losing an edge because the size of the mouth guard limits the breathing and air intake, leaving me gasping for air a lot sooner. So another HUGE plus to the Protech column.

I think the more important thing I’ve found out is that the mouth guard matches the marketing collateral word for word and does what it says on the tin. The fit is indeed snug, though as I said, I find it a bit TOO snug, the material is light weight and sturdy, it helps your performance because it is easy to breathe with it and speak so guys know you are calling for a pass or telling them to keep their heads up. All in all with Protech Dent, it feels like you are not wearing a mouth guard at all.

The only test I did not carry out was to see how good it is at absorbing impact and to be honest, I don’t think any sane person would freely take a shot or a stick in the face. However when worn during a game, I did get punched in the mouth when screening the goalie and I’m happy to say that I didn’t sustain any dental damage and I scored from the situation, so there.

I would warmly recommend this mouth guard to any hockey player, both pro and amateur or to anyone involved in contact sports or martial arts.

You can buy the mouth guards through http://www.protechguard.com

By the numbers:
Ease of use and fitting: 5/5
Customisation: 5/5
Comfort: 4.5/5
Fit: 4/5 (only because I find it difficult to take out)
Overall: 4.5/5