Enough with the teasers – it’s time to unveil the rest of the new features of Brian’s new SubZero Pro 2 pad.
If the sneak peaks didn’t provide enough of a hint, be clear the new version has some exciting differences from its origins.
If the original SubZero pad was revolutionary, the SubZero Pro 2 is evolutionary.
The designers at Brian’s listened to feedback from their fellow goaltenders as they set out to improve on the incredibly light, amazingly durable SubZero line, tweaking everything from the shape of the pad, to the Smart Strap system that debuted on the original – all without sacrificing what set it apart.
Starting with the softer Hyper-Flex4 boot InGoal unveiled two weeks ago, the new shape continues up the profile of the pad with more of a “V” than the predecessor, which featured a curve at the top.
Instead of the 2-3-2 break on the original, the standard SubZero Pro 2 features a 4-3-1 set up, with the new, softest option #4 flex at the boot, a soft #3 flex break, including on the outer roll, at the knee, and a rigid #1 flex break above the knee, giving the thigh rise a straight profile. (Of course, goalies can order any break combination they want – Brian’s doesn’t call itself The Custom Goal Company without a good reason)
This change from the dramatic “S” shape of the original, to a flatter “V” is designed to eliminate any interference caused by a thigh rise that has also been thinned out more on the SubZero Pro 2 pad – without sacrificing any coverage at the top of the pad, and 5-hole in the butterfly.
Back to the boot, Brian’s has also switched the standard toe taper from 78-degrees to 80-degrees, squaring it off a bit more based on the preferences they were seeing from customers, which also helps with the balance of the pad when down on the ice.
Now to the really fun stuff on the inside and back of the pad.
The inner edge if flatter and firmer, helping to create what Brian’s has labelled its “SuperSlide” inner panel. If watching Boston Bruins’ prospect Malcolm Subban slide explosively across the ice while running drills with Detroit Red Wings goalie coach Jim Bedard at Brian’s International Sales Meetings last month wasn’t proof enough of its effectiveness, hearing feedback from the less skilled goalies that got to sample SubZero Pro 2 confirmed its effectiveness along the ice.
This combination of balance on the ice and speed along it is enhanced further by a new knee stack Brian’s has accurately labeled “Max Sized.”
By thinning out other areas around a knee stack that has also been widened – both improving balance when on the ice and leaving plenty of room for the increasing number of goalies wearing larger kneepads – Brian’s was able to thicken and firm up the primary block in a still legal stack, easing pressure on hips, knees and ankles. And unlike the GNET-ik, which has an extra outer flap, they left the knee area open, ensuring easy rotation no matter how big your kneepads are.
Staying inside the leg channel, one of the most exciting additions to the SubZero Pro 2 is the exclusive new Hex-Air inner leg channel, with moulded pockets designed to improve air flow between the pad and the leg. InGoal will be testing that air flow over time, but based on those initial sessions with Bedard and Subban, we can already vouch for the soft feel, which acts almost like a calf wedge while maintaining that feeling of control over the pad that starts in the softer boot.
Brian’s has also slightly modified the revolutionary Smart Strap system that debuted on the original SubZero.
In addition to even more Velcro area to attach to, which increases the easy to customize features of the inner strapping system, they changed the anchor point for the outer Smart Strap. Rather than wrap it from the inside of the calf all the way back to the top edge of the pad, it now attaches at the edge of the outer wrap, making the easiest pad to put on that much easier.
Last, but certainly not least, is Brian’s new “Primo” Synthetic material, which is used heavily on the backside of the pad, on the boot and bottom trim and even on the knee stack gusset. In addition to being a “highly abrasive” material they say will wear better, the Primo has a carbon fibre appearance that adds further to a pad that looks and feels “rich,” for lack of a better term. Add in the vast array of looks you can create on the front side with 22 zones and a handful of bold new colour options, and the Brian’s SubZero Pro2 pad promises to look as good as it performs.
For Subban, that performance manifests itself in feeling connected to the pad down through the boot break and into the skate, but without being restricted in any way as you move up the leg and into the knee, a combination of control down low and easy butterfly rotation and performance above that he loved.
Look for a preview of the gloves next week, and complete InGoal tester feedback on the entire line – and a lot more photos – in the full review soon. In the meantime, take a closer look at some more photos, including a few full size versions of some used above: