Exclusive On Ice Review: CCM Extreme Flex 4 Pro Custom Senior Leg Pads, Glove and Blocker!
Brand new for 2019, CCM Goalie has introduced the newest incarnation in their Extreme Flex franchise, the CCM Extreme Flex 4 Pro Custom Leg Pads, Glove and Blocker. With the Extreme Flex line introduction in the summer of 2012, the EF4 line proves to build off of the massive success to bring out perfect key upgrades to make this line the best it has ever been.
CCM EF4 Custom Leg Pads
Starting with the leg pads, the EF4 is designed to be a hybrid based pad with specific torsion flex and feel to provide solid stopping power, all with key cuts in the core to make the pad flex and engage during any movement. This entire designed is titled as DuaLiteCore technology.
DuaLiteCore Technology promotes torsional flex throughout the entire goal pad for goalie specific movements. Now, we all know that today’s goalie pad is meant for a butterfly style goalie, but the pad will have “give” and a slightly softer feel to make certain movements easier. The core of the EF4 pad will still create a solid seal on the ice, but the flex at the boot and shin will allow the goalie to get into a deep stance and go through deeper movements without the pad fighting against their body. In turn, this makes movements easier and reduces stress on the body. Not only is this found in the core of the pad, but the boot features a 90 degree Ultra Soft Boot which will flex and “spring” on top of the goaltenders foot throughout use.
This design is quite possibly the softest boot design that CCM has ever released, but don’t let that confuse you… this pad does NOT shrink or sit too low on the body. Our sizing has stayed consistent with CCM and found the boot design to truly help engage the skate blade in our stance, recoveries and downward movements.
Another new change that CCM has incorporated is on their knee wing. On the EF3, the outer knee wing was removable via a lacing bridge which took some time to get on or off. Now, the outer knee wing is attached by two small pieces of elastic with Velcro that allows to the goalie to adjust the pressure on the outside of the knee wing or just remove it entirely. If a goalie chooses to remove this entirely, it can take just seconds!
In conjunction with the new outer knee wing design, if you are a goalie who prefers to strap their knee strap down to the calf, CCM has upgraded the Velcro on the outside of the calf wrap to include binding to help prevent any premature wear or snags on the material itself.
At the top of the calf, CCM has redefined their Quick Motion Strap System to include a better feel on the back of the leg. Now, the QMSS is attached more firm on the inside of the leg and has an adjustable glide to provide easier adjustments if the goalie prefers. Adding on to the design from the Premier II leg pad, the EF4 now has a single calf strap on the back of the leg channel. This calf strap is made of durable nylon and Velcro which runs from the inside of the calf wrap, across the back of the leg and passes through a plastic loop to reattach to itself.
The leg channel shown here is the stock option, Tight Fit – No Calf Strap option. Now, the calf wraps have a new design where they are slightly shorter across the back of the leg, are trimmed along the boot so they do not come down as far and feature a new nylon material on the inside of the leg to promote better rotation. As seen in the photos, the inner calf wrap barely extends past the boot strap pocket, but does not extend past the boot strap buckle on the outer calf wrap.
Finishing off the boot channel, the EF4 comes with a new bungee style design that allows for easy attachment and rotation. This bungee cord is capped with SpeedSkin ends covered in Velcro so they can be passed through the skate and attached on the top of the foot. This design allows the pad to sit tighter to the skate while at rest, but when the foot is engaged in movement, the skate can extend away from the pad and function just like older toe tie skate lace would. The bungee design essentially gives the best of both worlds to the inner toe does not wear out, the toe ties are easy to put on and the foot can extend out of the pad.
To summarize the first few uses with the EF4 pads… wow. This is the best incarnation of the ExtremeFlex series so far. We have been seriously impressed with the weight reduction, (bringing our 32+2 pads to 4.8 pounds per leg), the simplified strapping system and the solid seal we have to the ice. Despite the softer face and hybrid design, the rebounds were moving far enough out of the danger areas and we did not feel like we were losing time in recoveries. To note, these pads come with 99% of the stock specs that you would find on a pad off the shelf.
CCM EF4 Custom Blocker
Building off of one of the most successful blocker builds in the industry, CCM has provided specific tweaks to their EF4 blocker which provides quick adjustments and a broken in feel right out of the box. Throughout almost all zones, we have utilized the SpeedSkin material. No, blocker’s don’t necessarily need SpeedSkin to slide, but the durability properties of the material is our main reason for why we kept it on the glove and blocker. Same with the leg pads, we have a single stripe of weave material separating the White and Black to create more shading.
Starting on the build of the blocker, we have kept all of the stock specs to match what you would find in the store. The internal HD board is centered on the back of the hand and has stayed the same to provide hard rebounds to get pucks out of danger. Continuing on the ExtremeFlex design, the back of the cuff is the “Half Piece” option which opens up the back of the blocker and has an option for lacing the cuff tighter if the goalie chooses. Here, we have removed the lacing and really tried to maximize the openness on the back of the hand.
Right near the Half Piece cuff, you will find another upgrade to make the blocker even easier to put on. Similar to the cinch strap on a pair of goaltenders pants, the wrist strap has a pull through loop with a tab on the end to be able to easily adjust the tension on the wrist. This adjustment provides more dialed in feel to give the goaltender the wrist mobility they desire.
Next, CCM has kept their Straight Finger Protection to provide a snug seal against the stick to protect the fingers from errant pucks. Not only is the Straight Finger protection more snug against the stick, but it is longer than the Curved Finger option so it sits better under the sidewall. We personally find this design to seal best on the stick and provide perfect movements while in the stance.
Combined with the Straight Finger design, CCM has reinforced the main index finger on the EF4 blocker with a full wrap around segment of D3O foam to provide even more protection against errant pucks. This D3O wrap is extremely visible and can be seen how far it wraps around the entire finger. Next, CCM has gone with a Grey Nash stock option for the palm which is slightly thinner than the SureGrip material. This is meant to give goalies a broken in feel immediately so they can grip the stick with ease. It differs from the older Beige Nash option in that it has better wear and durability over time so it does not feel gritty on the hand.
Adding to the already superb fingertip protection, the EF4 has been upgraded and now features a full wrap across the fingertips to add protection from errant pucks coming underneath the blocker. While this might seem like a normal piece of protection, the EF3 did not come stock with this addition so it is now a perfect piece to showcase.
CCM EF4 Custom Glove
Building off of the key successes of the Extreme Flex glove, the ever popular 600 break continues to reign supreme as the Extreme Flex 4 has refinements t the internal break, wrist strapping and liner to match catching easier than before. The same as the blocker, no the glove does not necessarily need SpeedSkin to slide, but the durability properties of the material is our main reason for why we kept it on the glove and blocker. Same with the leg pads and blocker, we have a single stripe of weave material separating the White and Black to create more shading.
Looking at the glove, the EF4 comes with a 600 break which is considered a 75 degree break. The glove would be best described as pinching your index finger to your thumb. The cuff of the EF4 still comes with a slightly refined shape from the original EF1 and EF2, but it helps fill necessary gaps where pucks might have slid right past the cuff.
While the glove comes stock with a Game Ready palm, there is D3O across the entire palm break of the glove just in case a puck is not caught clean in the pocket. This raised pad truly helps provide extra protection and make it feel more like a Pro palm.
The pocket features the stock Double T pocket where this new shape helps create a better visual look into the pocket all while maintaining a soft catch. This pocket is huge and truly sits past the hand to help grab pucks to the side or above the hand. Also, gripping the stick with the glove makes for a solid hold and easy to make hard passes to teammates or clearing attempts off the glass.
Internally, the wrist strap has been reworked for an easier and quick adjustment style. Whether you put your glove or blocker on first, the exposed wrist strap through the side of the wrist cuff will let the goalie make adjustments on the fly. For the actual liner of the glove, the Extreme Flex 4 glove has a Grey Nash liner which provides a smooth, luxurious feel while still giving enough grip to hold on to the glove.
Wow. The EF4 set is truly the best version of the EFlex line to date. We have found that we are able to achieve an incredibly solid seal to the ice, control pucks away to the corners, recover with ease and reduce fatigue with the lighter product. Nash liners have proven to provide a comfortable feel right out of the box, the simplified strapping on the pads has shortened the time getting dressed and undressed before ice times and we have been able to make more saves in our gear than we imagined. If you are looking for the a lighter version of the EFlex line, all with simplified strapping and more game ready gloves, this CCM EF4 line is for you!
This article was originally published on April 26, 2019, and has been updated with new information.