A-B level hockey
Usage time: 6 Skates
Price: Demo set
My Proper Size: Bauer 1S/1X XL (36), CCM Eflex 3 35, Simmons 997 36, Warrior G2 35.
Weight: 2510 grams, 5.54 lbs
This was a demo set sent to a local store. I did not pay for the gear but CCM did not supply the gear to me to write a review.
Pad History: Battram Fury Retro, Bauer Scott Munroe Pro Return X60/One95 36+1, Bauer Scott Wedgewood Pro Return X60 skinned as RX10s 36+1, Simmons 997 36+2, Mike Condon Warrior G2 Custom Pro 34+2, Koho 588 RPM 35+2, CCM Eflex 3 34+2.
Review Category Overview:
- Initial Impressions
- Do they feel high quality
- Are they light or heavy
- Does anything stand out
- Do they fit true to size?
- How do they compare to other pads
- Thigh rise difference
- Score based on how they fit me
- How the materials feel
- Are there any hard points that create discomfort
- Do they required knee pads?
- How I strapped the pads and why
- Looking at the actual weight and balance of the pads
- Early signs of wear
- Materials or padding breaking down
- Worrisome design or places to keep an eye on
- Looking at the protective levels
- Not including built in knee pads
- Soft or hard rebounds
- Score based on rebound distance and controllability
- Sliding Ability
- Simply how they feel on the ice and slide around
- How the pads play on your leg, do the thighs overlap and get in the way
- Do they hinder movements
- Adding features when ordering
- Noteable customer service
- Bonus straps or accessories
First off these pads are a demo set from a local store. They are 34+2 and I require a 35” pad from CCM. These pads are also bone stock and my thoughts will be based on these pads which are a bit small.
Initial Thoughts: CCM/Reebok/Koho pads always had the stigma of being heavy and out of date pads. They generally didn’t push the boundaries with new technology or features and yet were always one of the most popular pads in the NHL and in retails. The saying “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” seems to apply decently well to the Lefebvre designed pads that now wear the CCM label. While these CCM Eflex 3 pads don’t have fancy new style of graphics, they have cut the weight from the previous Eflex 2 generation of pads down and wrapped the Eflex 3 in CCM’s new Speed Skin material. Speed Skin is similar to standard Jenpro (people have stated it is the same material but a different texture) that feels like it has grooves and thus a raised surface which ends up causing less material to touch the ice and theoretically makes the pads slide better because of less friction. The pads have become more barebones with standard nylon lining the knee and leg channel instead of thicker and heavier materials and CCM cut down the number of straps as well.
Picture of the new Speed Skin material and different binding material.
Fit: Since these CCM EFlex 3s are a demo set I can’t choose the correct size of pad that I need. While I can make these 34+2 pads work, their size does cause a few issues. I fit perfectly in 35+2 Koho and would require the same size for the Eflex 3. The size did cause some issues when I was trying to fix some comfort issues and it took a few skates to get the strapping right. Initially the toe ties were so loose that my pants would push the the pad further off of my knees and I’d have to manually reset the pad. When I strapped them tighter the shorter size was less of an issue as the pad stayed closer to my leg and the pad didn’t move as much. I did notice the thigh rises didn’t quite touch with my butterfly, which would have been fixed with the proper fitting knee size and the same thigh rise height. The CCM Eflex 3 fit exactly how I expected. There is no sizing adjustability for these pads besides different strapping and using the bootstrap around the back of the skate. 7/10
Comfort: CCM customization allows you to select softer knee options for a more comfortable construction. These stock Eflex 3 pads removed the softer knee construction in previous generations. While the knee block is a made up of a hard foam, the combination of my knee pads and the softer suregrip layer caused no issues during my play time. I wish I would’ve been able to play multiple games back to back to get a good sense of the knee block.
My original strapping setup gave me some issues with how the pads fit and felt on my leg. I originally strapped the calf strap too tight, which caused the pad to sit on my leg at an awkward angle. While this isn’t painful it is certainly awkward and uncomfortable, getting the strapping dialed in remedied this issue for me. The only other room for concern for me is the thigh rise, which is thicker than pads I have been used to and combined with my thick knee pads caused some issues when they overlapped.
Originally the thigh rises would interfere with each other, something I was able to adjust to but not something I really wanted to do with these pads. I prefer the pads to sit straighter on my legs and not on an angle as much as the CCM Eflex 3 do. 8/10
Showing the more open knee cradle on my Warrior Ritual G2s.
Strapping: CCM has been said to be behind the times in pad design, and strapping is a category that CCM is still catching up to other more innovative companies and designs. These CCM Eflex 3 pads still have traditional buckle leather(ish) straps at the knee and boot/ankle while using wide elastic on the knee and calf replacing the more traditional leather strapping of the Eflex 2s.
The calf strap.
While customizing the Eflex 3s, CCM offers 2 different styles of straps. White leather and CCM’s new QK5 straps in 5 different colours (white, black, red, navy, and royal). The QK5 straps are thinner, lighter and more stiff than traditional leather style straps. The feel like a plastic like material, but don’t necessarily feel cheap and I welcome these new lighter style of straps.
Unlike other brands, CCM does not offer a new style of stretchy lacing or toe ties. The traditional straps are removeable in the boot/ankle and knee, but removing the boot straps is much more frustrating and annoying compared to the simple system on my Warrior Ritual G2s. The straps on the CCMs are attached to a piece of plastic that is tucked tightly into a flap on the boot. I never tried to fully remove the bootstrap as I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get it back in for the next user.
I do appreciate CCM offering different angles for their boot/ankle strap, but I feel CCM is still trailing behind the competitors in this category. 6/10
Weight: CCM and Lefebvre have had the stigma of being heavy and out of date pads in terms of a technology and weight. The CCM Eflex 3 take a step towards a modern pad significantly cutting the weight of previous generations, but at the same time are still almost a full pound heavier than my similarly sized Warrior G2s. While the Warrior Ritual G2s are known as some of the lightest pads available, they are also a generation older than these CCM Eflex 3s. With that said these CCM Eflex 3 pads still feel light on your legs and never feel like they are weighing you down and limiting performance. Unlike my Warrior Ritual G2s, the CCM Eflex 3s feel like a pair of lightweight traditional pads whereas the G2s feel light extremely light weight blocks. CCM has made improvements in creating a lightweight pad, but they still fall behind the previous generation superlight pads. 7/10
Durability: With my limited usage and not knowing the history of these pads I cannot comment on the durability of the CCM Eflex 3 pads. I can say the Suregrip layer on the knee block still looked new with little wear. I did notice some binding wear on the thigh rises where the two pads rub against each other, the wear bar in this area is a different material than the new Speed Skin and is somewhere I’d watch for.
I didn’t see any signs of the famous CCM premature knee block wear, but again I didn’t have enough time with these pads to see if that is still an issue.
These pads do have an exposed binding on the sliding edge, but it is regressed enough that it shouldn’t come in contact with the ice and there is a smooth piece of pad with no binding where the ice will be frequently sliding on. N/A
Protection: One of my issues with some modern pad design is the lack of leg and foot wrap, while I understand you are not supposed to get hit in these areas, I appreciate the extra protection and wrap. CCM does a great job of really enclosing your leg and ensuring your ankles are still covered by the outer and inner calf wraps. I am a huge fan of this style and design.
These CCM Eflex 3 pads also have the outer knee wing flap that I would prefer to move further out to the very edge of the pad to open up the knee channel for my bigger knee pads. If I bought these stock I’d probably remove the flap in the stock location. 10/10
Rebounds: I fully acknowledge pad rebounds are completely personal preference. I have been using Warrior Ritual G2s which aggressively kicked rebounds out and mostly past danger, these CCM Eflex 3 are on the softer side for rebounds, but are nowhere near my old Wedgewood Bauer X60s. While the Eflex 3 are softer, with hard slap shots you can still expect the pucks to bounce off with a decent force. Softer shots and shots that hit the thigh rise would lead to a dampened rebound. Along with the softer face, the knee rolls of the Eflex 3s produce softer rebounds than I’d prefer. The softer thigh rise and knee rolls also created a few situations where I had no idea where the puck went after making a save I didn’t track well. 6/10
Sliding Ability: The past few years the goaltending community has seen some remarkable improvements to pad design and technologies that have created quicker sliding pads, the transition to my Warrior Ritual G2s was the first time I realized a pad could actually make a difference. Moving to the Koho 588 made me realize why goalies would sacrifice sliding ability for the feel of a Lefebvre style of pad. CCM introduced and advertises their new Speed Skin technology with their “Slide with Speed” slogan. From my experiences with the Koho 588, I had my doubts that the Eflex 3 would be even close to the sliding ability of my Warrior Ritual G2s. I am pleasantly surprised to report that the Eflex 3s are the real deal, and while I am not sure if the increase in sliding ability is attributed to the Speed Skin material or how the Eflex 3 are constructed I can say they are the best sliding pads I have used and surpassed my Warrior G2s.
Sliding with the CCM Eflex 3 is an interesting experience, firstly you can hear the raised grooves in the Speed Skin material on the ice which caught me by surprise the very first time. Secondly the pads feel like they almost lag and get caught up on the ice when you first push off from your stance, initially they feel similar to the slow sliding Koho 588 RPM pads I used in the past. But a moment later and the Eflex 3 feel like they take off across the ice, almost like gliding overtop of it. I didn’t feel this lagging effect when starting out on my knees, it almost feels like the pads have to get completely flat on the ice before they really take off and the moment they do the CCM Eflex 3 pads slide better than any pad I have worn before. I feel like the grooves on the Speed Skin cause the pads to sit slightly above the ice (you don’t notice this at all) on the raised ridges, and thus reducing the contact surface and reducing the force of friction on the pads and ice. 9/10
Mobility The width of my Passau kneepads caused the CCM Eflex 3s to sit at an angle on my leg, something that I am not completely comfortable with. This caused the thigh rises to overlap and interfere with each other and ultimately causing me to change my stance and movement to a more unnatural (for me) style. With that said, the softer style of pad and thigh rise made moving while in the butterfly, and along the posts significantly better than with my Warrior Ritual G2s. The pads felt more connected to my and less boxy, making sliding while on the ice more natural feeling compared. I would describe sliding in the Warriors feeling like sliding inside a stiff 3-sided box, where your legs pushes them in certain directions but they never really feel like an extension of your leg. The Eflex 3 are completely different in that manner, they truly feel like they are an extension to your leg while moving and flexing exactly how you want them too. If I could get the pads to sit straighter on my leg while still wearing my larger knee guards the Eflex 3 would feel perfect, but for me I’d prefer the pads to sit straighter before working better sliding on the ice. 7/10 (All of my issues outlined here are just because of personal preference. I know people who would prefer how these pads are made and sit on your leg).
Intangibles: On the CCM Premier pads CCM did a nice job of adding their logos onto the elastic calf and knee straps. Small touches like these give the pads an overall higher quality of feel by showing off branding and making thicker straps to grab onto. Some people have had issues with Pad Skinz or Pad Wrap sticking to the Speed Skin, these pads came with some wrap and were stuck on well, but I did not test the pads out with the wrap on them. Unfortunately this design choice did not carry over to the Eflex 3 pads. The front logos are no longer sewn or embroidered into the outer roll, but instead embossed into the material with a screened on text for colour. It looks and feels a bit cheaper than before but is better than recent offerings from Bauer.
Just like the CCM Super Tacks Pants, the CCM logo on the side gusset of the pads is made up of an interesting textured like leather material.
CCM does a great job of offering a plethora of customization options and a wide variety of colours now in 3 different materials. I wish their customizer had a better display of what the different options are, but it is nice to have the ability to design the pad compared to the cookie cutter options on Bauer and Warrior pads. The strapping system is outdated and cumbersome on the Eflex 3 compared to much more attractive options on Brians, Vaughn and Warrior offerings. I don’t believe these pads come with knee guards, which is a nice bonus in pads like Bauer which include their highest retail offering (which while not good, are easily sellable). They also don’t come with multiple styles of straps like other brands have started to do. Another unfortunate point is that the pro line of CCM Eflex pads are no longer made in Canada (it has been like this for a few years now). The CCM Eflex 3 pads don’t come with any extra bells and whistles and come pretty bare bone, but the customization options are still great and should be applauded. 6/10
Conclusion: CCM has figured a way to make the Eflex 3 slide like the best sliding pads on the market, while still offering a more traditional Lefebvre style of pad. You no longer have to sacrifice performance when for the feeling and playing style of CCM and Lefebvre pads, making the CCM Eflex 3 a very attractive and viable flexible style of pad. While they are not the perfect pad for my play style, their performance and lighter weight make them a serious contender and the traditional style and feel of the Lefebvre pad is not lost on these more modern interpretations. I would happily recommend the CCM Eflex 3 for any goalies looking for a softer face and more flexible style of pad. 8/10
Make sure you check out the review for the matching blocker and catcher here and on my YouTube channel.
While I also hate to promote my other things, it has become evident to me it is important to get a viewer base that will help me continue doing reviews like this (I can’t afford to always buy new equipment!).
So please check out my twitter @mattsave1 and follow me there (I post a lot of contests so I make it easier to win free stuff!) as well as my Instagram@hockeyreviewsca and subscribe to me on YouTube