The EFlex 6 customizer is live, which means InGoal Magazine can finally share a secret we’ve been keeping over a year: CCM is bringing a 580-break to the public as a stock option.
That’s right, the EFlex 6 line will come stock with the new 581 glove, CCM’s updated version of the 580-break that has become so popular in the NHL over the past five seasons. While other companies offer a version as a custom option, CCM is the first to make it a stock glove.
In addition to the new glove, which will get into in a little more detail below (and a lot more detail with a full review once the product launches at retail later this spring), CCM’s new EFlex 6 line includes significant upgrades to the pads and blocker beyond the new-look graphics you can now design for yourself on their freshly launched customizer. Because that launch means you can now custom order EFlex 6 for yourself, we thought we’d do a quick overview.
EFLEX 6 PADS
The most obvious difference you will see on the customizer is the elimination of lacing through the face of the pad compared to its EFlex 5 predecessor, which combined with a notably flatter knee roll configuration provides a more consistent construction – and in theory more consistent rebounds – on the front surface area of the pad. It also makes for a more seamless look while playing with the 16 different custom color zones visible on the front of the pad (18 if you count the “CCM” and “EFLEX6” logo zones), including four different custom printing zones, as well as another eight custom color zone options on the back and sides of the pad.
New graphics and the lack of laces are the most evident changes on the customizer, but by far the biggest evolution of the new EFlex 6 pad is the addition of CCM’s DRS PRO knee stack and strapping system that debuted last spring on their AXIS 2 pads. As we explained in our AXIS 2 review, DRS stands for Dynamic Response System, and essentially involved CCM fixing the inner layer of this new knee stack to the inside edge of the pad to stiffen and stabilize that “landing gear” area. To further reinforce the new knee stack, they attached that inner flap to the rest of the re-designed, one-piece knee block that sits atop it, ensuring it won’t get as floppy over time, which CCM’s research has shown allows goalies to get their pad to the ice faster.
The DRS PRO knee system, which also included a layer of impact-absorbing foam under the 3D grip design at the top of that knee block was a big hit with our AXIS 2 testers for how much it improved the pads’ stability and seal along the ice. (And lab testing that showed a 31.2 percent reduction in impact force was appreciated too). It was immediately obvious DRS PRO would become a new standard for CCM pads because of those attributes, but by integrating the knee into the inner edge, the pad become notably stiffer, and while that was fine for an AXIS 2 pad designed to have a more rigid profile, several InGoal testers wondered aloud last year how the company would be able to incorporate their new knee stack design without sacrificing the flexibility and feel that has become synonymous with their EFlex line of pads.
CCM accomplished that balance by splitting that inside edge with a break just below the knee.
The result is a noticeably stiffer profile on thigh rise, a spec that was already commonly ordered at the NHL level dating back several years, and all the softer flex and feel that goalies have come to expect from EFlex pads from the bottom of the knee down through the boot.
That includes a slightly flatter and more flexible boot break compared to the AXIS 2 pad, which at first blush also appears to let the EFlex 6 pad sit a bit lower and fit slightly smaller, something worth considering if you are ordering it off the customizer after playing in AXIS 2.
CCM also continued the QMSS2 strapping system that debuted on the AXIS 2 pad — think of it as their version of the professor strap — which seems better suited to a more flexible EFlex pad designed to fit slightly snugger, with a stock leg channel that is one inch narrower (by being one inch further offset from the outer edge of the pad) than the AXIS 2. To their credit, CCM also listened to feedback about that QMSS2 strap being too short and snug for some, especially goalies wearing bigger knee pads, and as extended the length and adjustability.
We’ve already gotten good feedback on that balance between improved seal and stability with traditional flex from NHL goalies like Thatcher Demko, and can’t wait to share more in our full review. In the meantime, check out the customizer, which features custom options on everything from toe bridges, to flex, to rebound speed and strapping. It’s divided into two levels of custom, with basic options in Total Custom and pro-level options in Total Custom Pro.
INTRODUCING THE 581 GLOVE
The big news, of course, is the fact there will now be a 580-style break available as a stock glove at retail with the EFlex 6 line, but the developments don’t end there. Just as CCM called their AXIS 2 glove a 591 instead of a 590, the new EFlex 6 glove gets a 581 designation.
So, what has changed? Not the actual break angle, which became increasingly popular because of how the pocket sits relative to the hand, making it easier to catch pucks up by your ear.
CCM has, however, completely re-designed the internals of the new 581 glove — and yes, like the 591 that preceded it, that includes removing the finger stalls on the new 581 model. For those that didn’t like that idea – and most InGoal testers who stuck with the fingerless model ended up liking how the hand closes stronger like a fist — CCM added in one loop for the index finger and another for the pinky to add a more traditional style of connection and control.
As for the other changes, we’ll report back after further testing but getting rid of the “popsicle stick” break that used to run down the palm of old CCM gloves in favour of a more consistent break line and improved protection against stingers in the AXIS 2 591 was a notable improvement that should carry over to this new 581 glove in the EFlex 6 line.
Like the 591, the 581 is also lighter than its predecessor, and includes CCM’s Cross Form Strap system to anchor the back of the hand while also freeing up wrist mobility, as well as the heat-moldable finger system with a three-point adjustable pad system over the back of the fingers to tighten your grip. Add in the pinky and finger loop, and closure control should be better.
BLOCKER TAKES A STEP TOO
The CCM EFlex 6 blocker appears nearly identical to the AXIS 2, and that’s a good thing when you consider how well received the more open and adjustable Flex Motion 2 cuff was.
It maintains the nylon-and-buckle strap that replaced the old Velcro option, and the new Velcro tabs on the side that allowed goalies to open the cuff wider than any previous model, allowing goalies to set their own balance between mobility or more protection by closing it up.
Like the AXIS 2 blocker, the sidewall got an added layer of built-in padding along the thumb, making it possible to thin out the pillow and add a break in the thumb protection piece for improved flexibility and feel. They’ve also continued the trend of using more of a player style palm with less material for a tighter, more responsive fit and improved feel.
One notable improvement on the stick blocker has been the elimination of the curved extra finger protection in favour of a straighter one. Where the curved finger piece left too small a gap between the thumb piece and tended to get caught as you were trying to grip down on a stick, the straighter finger protection piece that sits just inside the sidewall leaves ample room to more easily grab a stick without getting stuck.
Add it all up, and there’s a lot of carry-over innovation from the AXIS 2 improvements that you will find in CCM’s new EFlex 6 line, as well as easier access to the increasingly popular 580-style break glove. We’ve already talked to NHL goalies wearing the line, and we’ll add their thoughts into our full review when the line launches completely later this spring.
For now, though, enjoy designing your own on the new customizer, which includes more options than ever before, mirroring what NHL goalies choose from at the above-mentioned Total Custom Pro level. In fact, there are so many options, their custom booklet, which can be downloaded as a PDF from the customizer, is 27 pages long. Have fun!
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