Product: CCM U+ Crazy Light (CL) Shoulder pads
Available at: most hockey retailers and several online stores
Also available in limited edition Midnight model
Price: €149 or $194
CCM’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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 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.
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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
Pro level hockey equipment available at great prices available by clicking on the above image