With the legendary Pete Smith brought in to build a new flagship line, the Warrior launch was a big part of a run of innovative new equipment to hit the market, and InGoal was proud to not only be the first to test it, but also offer the chance for our readers to win no fewer than three sets and be the first to have it publicly outside the NHL.
So now, as goalies all over the world line up to buy new gear for the fast approaching season, it makes sense that InGoal starts a review of our reviews with the Warrior Ritual, and an incredibly easy sliding pad that managed to pull off the hard-to-hit double of working for both goalies that prefer a tight fitting leg channel and those that like things more open in the back.
InGoal has continued to test the Ritual through the past year, and the first comment is always the same: goalies can’t believe how well it slides and transitions into and out of the butterfly, a function of both a unique binding-less design on the toe that has also proven incredible durable, and an effective toe bridge that has also lasted through countless hours on the ice.
The goaltending experts at Total Goalie had a chance to invite both Smith and Eric Marvin, the goalie product manager for Warrior hockey, and a former high-level puck stopper himself, in store for a long but worthwhile Q&A overview of the entire Ritual line:
It’s a worthwhile viewing for anyone interested in the innovative Ritual line, and answers a lot of good questions.
As for our own look into the line, the original review of the Warrior Ritual Pro first appeared in the December 2011 edition of InGoal Magazine, and looked at both the pads and two different sets of options with the blockers and gloves. Looking back at that review almost nine months later, it still stands up, especially when it comes to the pads. Comments about how well it transitions to and from the ice, as well as how smoothly it slides continue to be the norm among testers that take it on the ice for the first time.
If there is one thing we’d stress even more now about the Ritual pads, it’s the need to take it out a few more times and get it adjusted to suit your game. Because of the versatility that comes with the ability to tighten or loosen that leg channel in the back, many of our test goaltenders come back talking about tinkering with the strapping – both internally with a unique calf wrap that contains several breaks to make sure it moves with the leg without restricting it, and also the traditional outer leather straps, which include an adjustable boot strap with three positions that affect how the pads sits on top of the skate.
You can check out more about the system in the Total Hockey review above, or in the video review produced by InGoal.
As for the gloves and blockers, while it again took an adjustment, a lot of InGoal’s testers came back raving about the bindingless Ritual Custom Pro, which includes a palm that is moved up one inch on the board to both extend the reach and allow more freedom of movement at the wrist for goalies that like to really activate their hands and stick. The Ritual Custom SE blocker has a more traditional hand placement, as well as the more customary binding around the outer edge of the board.
On the glove side, the only thing we keep hearing that Warrior is missing is a one-piece cuff option for goalies facing shots hard enough to produce some give in the two-piece that comes stock on both models. The unique triple-T web has raised a few eyebrows as well on the way out the door, but comments about how easily pucks stayed in it always follow goalies back in. Many also like that it comes with two different break options, which InGoal may not have explained perfectly in our original review other than to compare the different angles. We listed the Ritual Custom Pro as a 90 degree break and the Ritual Custom SE as a 60 degree break, but the more apt description of how they close differently is to say the Pro is like a Reebok 580, with fingers closing to the palm of your hand, while the SE is more like a Vaughn 7800, with fingers closing to the end of the thumb.
Again, the Total Goalie review above answers a lot of questions, but InGoal also produced our own video.
Remember too, that InGoal’s reviews focused on the Ritual Pro line. But InGoal did do a subsequent review on the kids equipment line in the April edition of the magazine, and also wrote a review of Warrior’s unique shot-dampening composite stick and a pant that lends itself perfectly to mobile, athletic goalies in the February edition.
The Total Goalie video above also expands on the other options, which include two senior versions of the pads, gloves and blockers, as well as intermediate options in the pads, glove and blocker for Ritual.
Lastly, if you enjoyed the Total Goalie video session for Ritual above, be sure to check out InGoal’s recent Ask a Pro interview with Pete Smith as well. Keep checking back as we look back at our other gear reviews over the coming weeks, and in the meantime, for more review and preview material about the Ritual pad options, take a look at Total Goalie’s other reviews: