Usage time: 4 months
Glove History: Warrior Messiah M3 Catcher, Smith 6000 Retro Catcher, Reebok Larceny Pro, Simmons 997, CCM EFlex Pro Glove, Vaughn 5500I am going to start this with a disclaimer that when I was younger I was very anti-Vaughn. I grew up close to Simmons and young me never understood why anyone would pay so much money for Vaughn equipment when you could get just as good Simmons equipment for the same price. Since I never used Vaughn equipment before this I still had a bit of this biased.
Initial Thoughts: Before I mentioned that the Simmons 997 glove I tried was the most broken in glove I have ever tried on in a store, when I received this glove it was easier to close than anything before (I have since found a Jacob Markstrom Warrior Ritual G2 that is ridiculous at The Goalie Crease). This glove felt pretty natural to close to me (something that I am pretty picky with is the break angle) and felt very light compared to my CCM Eflex Pro glove. The quality felt solid and extremely well made.
Fit: There is 1 velcro strap and a quick strap system that keeps your hand held into the glove. 1 velcro strap over the top of the wrist/back of your hand and the quick release strap is on your wrist. The 2 straps don’t allow for a tonne of customization, and while acceptable for me I could tell that if you tightened the velcro strap very tight you’d feel the pressure against your wrist. With a more padding on the undersized of the strap this issue could be resolved. The quick release strap actually pulled the wrist strap tight (I’ve worn gloves with this in the past where the strap was there but the angle it was placed never actually allowed for the strap to be adjusted). The palm material holds your hand in place but I found the leather in the Simmons 997 catcher and the Vaughn 7600 blocker to be nicer than this. Those gloves leather was softer and I felt it gripped my hand better. And remember, custom means custom internals and materials and this was not a custom glove. 7/10
Comfort: While not unbelievably uncomfortable this glove wasn’t amazing like the 7600 blocker was and like the Simmons 997 catcher was. This glove has the comfortable nylon material on the top of the hand that the Simmons has but it isn’t as prevalent in this glove. There is a nice shiny material that covers the quick strap that is very comfortable as well. My problems lie with the type of leather used and the lack of padding on the palm and the velcro adjustable strap. The leather is less soft and feels less grippy compared to the 7600 blocker and 997 catcher. The palm leather piece is also significantly less comfortable. It isn’t bothersome but I instantly wished there was more padding there. For the palm I wish there was again a softer leather and perhaps a slightly thicker piece of material as well just to give a bit more cushioning (this is not for added protection but just comfort). My other issue is the velcro strap (while over top of the comfortable nylon material) isn’t padded enough so if you tighten the glove a lot you’ll feel pressure points at the top of your hand where the strap is. While this glove doesn’t hurt or really feel uncomfortable, compared to the other gloves I have reviewed it is lacking severely in this category and thus the lower score. 5/10
Weight: I have yet to use a scale on any of my gloves so I am going strictly based on how it felt on my hand. This glove felt light and agile to the point that I found myself using my hands more and attempting to catch more pucks. It felt like the most balanced and lightweight glove I have used and feels much lighter than my CCM Eflex Pro.10/10
Durability: This glove was used about 3 months on top of my usage and besides the puck marks it felts basically new thus this is kinda hard to review the durability. With that said I know the metal eyelets will cause issues in the future and modifications/fixes will have to be made to that. I can’t comment on the palm material as it frankly hasn’t broken down yet and I won’t get the chance to use it until it does. The lower rating is because every glove that I have seen with metal eyelets has issues with them in the long run. 5/10
Protection: I used this glove against a couple NHLers and minor pro players with no issues. It isn’t nearly as protective as my practise Palm CCM Eflex Pro and I believe the Simmons 997 is more protective than this one as well. I could feel where the shots hit me in the palm and felt some discomfort when using this glove. With that said I never felt like my hand was at risk of injury compared to my Reebok Larceny. During the Simmons 997 Catcher review I mentioned that glove was missing the soft backhand protection that the Vaughn 5500 has, I was mistaken in that the Vaughn doesn’t really have soft back hand protection (at least not near the tips of the fingers). While the 5500 certain did its job protecting my fingers from the odd puck and slashes I felt it could’ve been slightly softer to just make for a more comfortable glove. I had no issues at all with the cuff and the only time I would feel a shot is directly in the palm. Because I don’t like to feel anything in my palm this one gets a slightly lower score. 6.5/10
Performance: For me here is where this glove REALLY shines. I mentioned before that this glove feels extremely lightweight and well balanced and because of that I found myself having a more active catching hand. The break angle is almost perfect for me and catching pucks with this glove was easier than any glove I have ever worn before. It truly felt like I was using a baseball glove and anything that would hit it would be caught. I found it very easy to trap pucks off my chest in plays where your glove comes in front of your chest to catch the pucks that hit your chest protector. Shooting was also easier for me with this glove. The CCM Eflex is harder to get around the stick and the Simmons 997 just felt too awkward for me to get a good grip on anything (totally just personal preference here). With this glove I could easily grab the stick Turco style and found me going out to play more pucks because of it. By far the best performing glove I have ever used. 10/10
Conclusion: I was absolutely amazed at how much I enjoyed the performance of this glove and now completely understand the Vaughn 5500/8800 and now CCM Eflex love and hype. This glove has been my best performing glove to date. While there are a few issues this glove is definitely one I’d recommend people to try out. If it wasn’t for my want of super protective and thick palmed gloves this (and the blocker) would’ve taken over as my main set easily. I just felt too many shots in the palm than I like and while not extremely painful it is a feeling I never like to have. 6.5/10