CCM Tacks Hit Stores: Better Steel, Edge + Attack Angle
The new CCM Tacks goalie skates make their retail debut today, and based on InGoal testing over the past five months, goalies are going to be impressed.
Unveiled in the last issue InGoal Magazine, the CCM Tacks brought the technology, performance and reputation of a line already used by top skaters everywhere and rebuilt it completely to benefit goalies everywhere. They thinned out the cowling to improve attack angle, added impact resistant D3O, a heel loop for goalies that no longer want to run their bootstrap under the bottom of the skate, and stiffened the boot to improve responsiveness between the foot and a skate blade that now comes standard with a “black steel” oxide treatment for a better edge that lasts longer.
The first thing that jumps out is the the new ProliteG Black blade and a significantly leaned out Prolite GS “Lo-Curve” cowling secured to the boot through a slick carbon fiber composite midsole. The new cowling is 12 per cent lighter than its predecessor because the edges have been significantly reduced so they no longer wrap around the outside of the foot.
CCM decided not to remove the cowling entirely, however, leaving the front of a traditional toe cap to maintain added protection at a time when more goalies are wearing their pads loose enough to expose the skate to shots. While that tiny gap at the big toe between the new, slimmed down cowling and the inner black toe box leaves a little room for an even greater increase in attack angle, the new CCM Tacks skate still improves attack angle by nine degrees compared to the original Reebok cowling, and by over three degrees compared to the RBZ cowling.
For your average 6-foot goaltender with a 20-inch floor-to-knee measurement, each degree saved means they have to raise their knee roughly 0.41 inches less off the ice to establish an edge to push laterally. So in the case of the new CCM Tacks cowling, goaltenders should need to lift their knee almost 1.5 inches less before they can grab a push edge compared to last year’s RBZ cowling, and more than 3.5 inches less than with the original Reebok cowling.
That should allow goalies to grab an edge faster, while also reducing how far the pad comes up off the ice to make a butterfly recovery push—which means there is less space for a puck to slip under during that movement and it should be faster to get that pad back down to the ice.
Test goalies also felt their ability to hold an edge from a lower, wider stance was noticeably improved in the CCM Tacks, something they attributed to a combination of the improved cowling and the Black steel, which seemed to hold an edge better than traditional steel. As for that new edge lasting longer, the responses varied and are purely anecdotal, but one tester felt they needed to visit the sharpener half as often as they did with stock steel, which matches feedback from NHL goalies that started using a black edge coating process years ago.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who has since retired, was one of the first goalies InGoal spotted using the black-edged blades, and he swore by the improved edge and durability.
As for goalies that have grown up with (and gotten used to) the fit and flex of the original Reebok “K” line, and how well its “Pump” system locks in the foot, CCM introduced the new Ribcor 50K back in April (it’s the skate on the right in the photo above).
The new Ribcor 50K skate blends the feel of the more flexible boot goalies like Roberto Luongo, Corey Crawford and Ben Bishop still prefer to wear in the NHL, with a taller, upgraded cowling that still makes it easier to hold an edge in a low, wide stance and grab an edge making recovery moves. The Prolite GS cowling on the Ribcor 50K isn’t quite as extreme as the Prolite GS “Lo-Curve” cowling on the new CCM Tacks, but still improves attack angle by six degrees compared to previous Reebok “K” models while maintaining a more traditional design.
The Ribcor 50K achieves a “locked in” feel with an improved “Pump” system, allowing the goalie to customize the fit to their liking. CCM also continued the lace lock system in the 50k, which allows goalies to tighten up the bottom and top of the foot differently, with most preferring to crank down the bottom and looser at the top, continuing the theme of a more flexible skate.
Together, the new CCM goalie skate combination provides options for every preference, with a more aggressive option in the Tacks and a traditional fit and feel in the Ribcor. You can read the complete review, with more pictures of both in the latest edition of InGoal Magazine.