PREMIER 2 REVIEW: CCM’S LIGHTEST PAD YET ONE OF MANY CHANGES

There’s no shortage of changes in the new CCM Premier 2 line.

From a re-engineered core that helps reduce weight by 20 percent, to a unique 3D-molded grip on the knee stack landing area, to a Velcro-based strapping system, to a more flexible boot break, to Speed Skin material for improved sliding, to a special foam under the face of the pad for livelier rebounds, the Premier 2 pad really is a departure from its predecessors.

The Premier 2 glove features a better fit and protection for the fingers. Even the blocker, long an unchanged staple of the line, has been modified to cut weight and improve the balance.

With so many new features, it’s hard to know where to start. But after talking to NHL goalies using the new line, the CCM designers, and more than a month of testing ourselves, InGoal Magazine has gotten a pretty good feel for the improvements and how they perform on the ice. So, bear with us as we work through our eighth in-depth review of a new CCM line.

Index

LiteCore Technology

Learn about the technology behind making the the Premier 2 pad 20-percent lighter than Premier.

Softer Bootflex

CCM decided to make the boot of the Premier pad more flexible than the notably stiff boot break in the original Premier pad

3D Knee Stack

The new knee stack is one of the biggest changes on the new Premier 2.

Quick Motion Strapping

New all-velcro strapping that supports key biomechanical research to get pads to the ice faster.

Premier 2 Gloves

Glove and blocker have also undergone some impressive changes.

Who It's For

It’s not about the old blocking vs. butterfly myth. Just ask Marc-Andre Fleury.

(click on any image to move directly to that section)

LITECORE TECHNOLOGY

The new core is the key to the lightest CCM pad yet.

The InGoal 33+1 Premier 2 test pad weighed in at 4 pounds, 11 ounces each, which was 1 pound lighter than our 34+2 test pad in the original Premier two years ago. According to CCM, a stock 34+1 Premier 2 pad weighs in at a little less than five pounds – their first pro-level pad to weigh in under five pounds – and the Premier 2 pad is 20 percent lighter than Premier.

 

CCM said the new Premier 2 pad could have been even lighter.

Yes, that’s right, amid the race to lighter gear, CCM made a conscious decision during the testing phase that pushing the envelope much further would come at the expense of the consistency, integrity and durability the Premier line has long been known for.

In a nutshell, making the pad even lighter involved swapping out more rigid, high-density (and therefore heavier) foam in their one-piece core and replacing it with lighter, lower-density foam. It made the test pads lighter, but it also made it easier to twist the face.

CCM wanted to make sure the weight reduction did not negatively affect the structural integrity of the new Premier 2 pad, especially given their research at the University of Western Ontario quantified the force of a butterfly drop at three times the goaltender’s weight.

In other words, a 175-pound goalie drives to the ice with 525 pounds of force. Doing that over and over again, sometimes hundreds of times in a practice, puts a lot of stress on the pads. And since beer leaguers and youth hockey goalies aren’t getting new gear several times a season like NHL stars, CCM wanted to make their pads held their shape and still performed properly at the end of a season, which in theory is the playoffs and the most important time of the year.

They wanted to make sure the flex profile of the pad would hold true over time, just like the original CCM EFlex pad InGoal Magazine tested five years ago has through several hundred skates, and the Premier XLT from four years ago has done the same, holding their shape both top to bottom and across the face. They wanted to make sure the connection between the knee stack and the face of the pad, which had proven so important in the laboratory testing that proved the pad could reach the ice sooner than competitors, remained tight. And they wanted to maintain the consistency from pad to pad that allowed goalies like Florida Panthers veteran Roberto Loungo to wear them in an NHL game after just one practice.

With all that in mind, CCM said making the pad any softer to cut more weight simply wasn’t an option. Not that the InGoal Magazine testers minded. Not when the Premier 2 pad was already under five pounds, and noticeably lighter than the CCM models that preceded it.

The thigh rise of the new Premier 2 is noticeably thinner than the original premier, whether you are looking from the side or from above here, but maintains the line’s stiff profile, at least above the boot break.

(click to enlarge)

 

 

The Premier 2 pads are the lightest ever for CCM but maintain the loose fit, stiffer upper profile and coverage priorities of past Premier pads.

The thigh rise of the new Premier 2 is noticeably thinner than the original premier, whether you are looking from the side or from above here, but maintains the line’s stiff profile, at least above the boot break.

(click to enlarge)

 

 

CCM said the new Premier 2 pad could have been even lighter.

Yes, that’s right, amid the race to lighter gear, CCM made a conscious decision during the testing phase that pushing the envelope much further would come at the expense of the consistency, integrity and durability the Premier line has long been known for.

In a nutshell, making the pad even lighter involved swapping out more rigid, high-density (and therefore heavier) foam in their one-piece core and replacing it with lighter, lower-density foam. It made the test pads lighter, but it also made it easier to twist the face.

CCM wanted to make sure the weight reduction did not negatively affect the structural integrity of the new Premier 2 pad, especially given their research at the University of Western Ontario quantified the force of a butterfly drop at three times the goaltender’s weight.

In other words, a 175-pound goalie drives to the ice with 525 pounds of force. Doing that over and over again, sometimes hundreds of times in a practice, puts a lot of stress on the pads. And since beer leaguers and youth hockey goalies aren’t getting new gear several times a season like NHL stars, CCM wanted to make their pads held their shape and still performed properly at the end of a season, which in theory is the playoffs and the most important time of the year.

They wanted to make sure the flex profile of the pad would hold true over time, just like the original CCM EFlex pad InGoal Magazine tested five years ago has through several hundred skates, and the Premier XLT from four years ago has done the same, holding their shape both top to bottom and across the face. They wanted to make sure the connection between the knee stack and the face of the pad, which had proven so important in the laboratory testing that proved the pad could reach the ice sooner than competitors, remained tight. And they wanted to maintain the consistency from pad to pad that allowed goalies like Florida Panthers veteran Roberto Loungo to wear them in an NHL game after just one practice.

With all that in mind, CCM said making the pad any softer to cut more weight simply wasn’t an option. Not that the InGoal Magazine testers minded. Not when the Premier 2 pad was already under five pounds, and noticeably lighter than the CCM models that preceded it.

The Premier 2 pads are the lightest ever for CCM but maintain the loose fit, stiffer upper profile and coverage priorities of past Premier pads.

SOFTER BOOT FLEX

There was one part of the Premier 2 pad that CCM did want to soften up: the boot break.

Make no mistake, the Premier is still the stiffer pad overall compared to the more flexible CCM EFlex 3 line, but based on feedback from their pros, CCM decided to make the boot of the Premier pad more flexible than the notably stiff boot break in the original Premier pad.

The reasoning was pretty straightforward: a flexible boot break helps with the increased use of reverse-VH on the posts, as well as the ability to load into an explosive lateral push.

So CCM added some flex to the bottom break by using softer foams in the gap between the boot and the shin, while still maintaining the same one-piece, mold-injected core that helps the pads maintain their height and profile on a pad that stiffer above that boot break.

So, how much more flexible is the Premier 2 pad at the boot?

The difference was immediately evident to our testers, and a noticeable departure from the last Premier model, which we noted at the time (and as you can see from photos and video) was exceptionally stiff at the boot and hasn’t softened much over two years of regular use.

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But what about comparisons to the EFlex line? The Premier 2 is not quite that flexible.

Where the EFlex 3 line comes stock with a “Deep Ultra Soft” boot break, a stock, off-the-rack Premier 2 pad now comes with a “Shallow Soft” boot and a flex profile that sits roughly in between the “Soft” and “Stiff” custom options of the EFlex line.

In other words, the new stock Premier 2 flex profile in the boot isn’t quite as stiff as the stiffest Eflex custom option, and also not as soft as a stock EFlex. And for those who still want that stiffness of the original Premier profile, just select “Shallow Stiff” on a custom order.

One thing that did not change in the Premier 2 line is the boot angle.

The Premier 2 pad still has what CCM calls its “60 degree” angle boot break. It’s noticeably steeper than the “90 degree” boot on the EFlex line, and designed to help ensure shots that hit the bottom of the pad are angled into the corners when a goalie is down in the butterfly. If the boot angle is too flat, those low shots can deflect back into the middle of the ice instead.

As for fit, even with a more flexible boot, InGoal found it similar to the original Premier, with the higher boot meaning the knee cradle sits roughly one inch higher compared to EFlex.

3D MOLDED KNEE STACK

 

Visually the new knee stack is one of the biggest changes on the new Premier 2.

 

The top layer is now what CCM called a 3D molded landing grip, and was designed to both help keep the knee on the knee stack and provide additional cushion for all that force created by each butterfly drop. Having a softer feel to that top layer helps CCM maintain the stiffness of firmer molded-foam layers below, which helps the knee stack keep its thickness and shape, and maintain that all-important connection between the knee and the front of the pad over time.

Think of it as a layer of softness and grip on top of what has long been an industry standard for knee stacks, with a large landing area designed to accommodate pro-level knee protection.

The 3D molded knee stack wasn’t listed as an option when NHL goalies first ordered their pads for this season, but Jonathan Bernier of the Colorado Avalanche made the switch in-season.

 

“For me it just holds my knee better. I can’t play with the inside that is slippery a little bit, it just feels like my knee is kind of flopping all over.”

Jonathan Bernier

Colorado Avalanche

The 3D moulded landing grip helps keep the knee in place and adds cushioning.
(click to enlarge)

 

 

CCM maintained the removable flap on the outside of the knee, but thinned it out and made the location adjustable.

The 3D moulded landing grip helps keep the knee in place and adds cushioning.
(click to enlarge)

 

 

The top layer is now what CCM called a 3D molded landing grip, and was designed to both help keep the knee on the knee stack and provide additional cushion for all that force created by each butterfly drop. Having a softer feel to that top layer helps CCM maintain the stiffness of firmer molded-foam layers below, which helps the knee stack keep its thickness and shape, and maintain that all-important connection between the knee and the front of the pad over time.

Think of it as a layer of softness and grip on top of what has long been an industry standard for knee stacks, with a large landing area designed to accommodate pro-level knee protection.

The 3D molded knee stack wasn’t listed as an option when NHL goalies first ordered their pads for this season, but Jonathan Bernier of the Colorado Avalanche made the switch in-season.

 

CCM maintained the removable flap on the outside of the knee, but thinned it out and made the location adjustable.

“For me it just holds my knee better. I can’t play with the inside that is slippery a little bit, it just feels like my knee is kind of flopping all over.”

Jonathan Bernier

Colorado Avalanche

CCM continued to provide two options to attach the double-elastic Velcro strap from the knee stack, either down to the outer calf wrap, a trend started by Carey Price, or the more traditional method of wrapping it around the knee, and improved the connection for goalies who still prefer the latter. Instead of a thick tab on the outside of the knee, CCM now has a thinner strip to attach the Velcro too and it is not only removable, but it’s placement can be adjusted by tying it in at various spots along the outside of the knee for increased personalization.

QUICK MOTION STRAPPING

Admittedly, alarm bells went off at the lack of leather straps when we saw the new Premier 2 pad at the annual CCM Goalie Summit with Luongo, Marc-Andre Fleury and Corey Crawford.

It wasn’t that InGoal Magazine had any problem with elastics and Velcro as a substitute for traditional leather strapping. Far from it. From reviewing Brian’s Custom Sports first foray into a leather-free world with their brave new “Smart Straps” on the original SubZero line way back in 2011, InGoal has been all in on innovations to cut weight and improve pad performance.

Along the way, however, we also got a glimpse at the PhD research that Ryan Frayne was doing at the University of Western Ontario in partnership with CCM, and through that work we had our eyes opened to two facts proved by his work: First, a goalie pad can actually get to the ice before the goalie’s knee does, effectively shutting down the five hole faster. And, second, one of the keys to that happening was the pad separating from the knee from the force of that initial drive, and the key role strapping played around the top of the calf played in that.

(We don’t want to spend another 1,000 words explaining the theories and outlining the research again, but if you want, check it out in our original Premier review).

So, when we first saw what appeared to be all-Velcro strapping on Premier, we were surprised. After all, it was Frayne’s research that showed less stability in how a pad moved with elastic-only strapping, comparing it to a car suspension bottoming out if things were too loose. And if goalies tried to compensate by strapping the pad up even tighter, they risked losing some of that separation between the knee and knee stack on the way down that helped get the pad to the ice faster – 1.75 pucks faster, according to the research shared by CCM.

Turns out, it was anxiety wasted. Frayne may have moved on from the biomechanics lab at the University of Western Ontario to work out of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, but he continues to work with CCM and his impact can be seen in the Premier 2 pad: The Quick Motion Strapping system may now use Velcro but not all of the straps are elastic.

That “fixed end point” that Frayne’s research pointed to as important is achieved by making the outside strap out of nylon instead of elastic, limiting the range of movement around the leg and preventing that “bottoming out” risk. On the inside, there is a second Velcro-based “Y” strap. This one is elastic, and comes with different length straps – ours had Medium and Large straps – to wrap around the top of the calf and allow goalies to personalize level of snugness.

The key to maintaining that “faster 5-hole closer” is ensuring that no matter how tight goalies attach that inside strap around the top of their calf (and it’s worth noting that, elastic straps or not, the Premier 2 is still very much designed to be worn looser than the EFlex line) the knee can still separate from the knee stack when they drive to the ice. Elastic itself helps achieve some of this by its very nature as flexible but CCM also offset the bottom of this strap from the inside edge of the pad, providing the necessary room within the leg channel.

“If you lock yourself right into channel, you lose that separation on drop,” Frayne said. “You want to be connected, but not locked in. This way we kept that responsiveness with the top strap at upper calf, which allows you to maintain that drive to the ice, and the outer webbing [nylon] strap creates the end stop we want, that security strap to keep you in the channel.”

Has every CCM goalie switched? No.

Fleury joked with InGoal about keeping his leather straps, which he wears totally loose, simply for the throwback style factor. Luongo also ordered his original leather strapping on the first set out of habit, but after seeing the youth goalies wearing the new Quick Motion Strapping at the CCM Goalie Summit in the summer, he ordered his next set with the new strapping.

It may sound funny to hear NHL goalies joke about being able to get their pads on faster, but rest assured that beer league goalies and parents trying to help their kids get dressed are definitely not the only ones that appreciate the ease of the new Velcro-based system.

Almost every NHL goalie that InGoal talked to about the new strapping – and in addition to the 10 goalies in Premier 2, a lot of the 22 NHL goalies wearing EFlex pads also switched to the Quick Motion Strapping system – talked about how much easier it was to get dressed.

 

“I am kind of weird about this stuff but I get undressed between periods, so for me it’s a big plus because it takes me a lot less time to get on and off. It’s crazy to think about how many times you get dressed and undressed in a year. It’s a lot of time saved.”

Jonathan Bernier

Colorado Avalanche

MAX REBOUND TECHNOLOGY

The Premier line was one of the first to try and create active rebounds four years ago with the XLT pad, which layered the foams in a way designed to create the more active rebounds that NHL goaltenders were after even when the shot velocity was at a beer league level.

The new Premier 2 pad takes that to another level with the addition of a brand-new layer just under the face of the pad that is designed specifically to create a spring-line effect.

CCM is calling it Max Rebound Technology, and it’s really as simple as putting an active puck-repelling layer of foam on the face of the pad. You can even see this bright yellow layer if you look closely under the stitching on the front of the pad, and while CCM is no longer using the proprietary name since being sold by Adidas, it is based on the Adiprene-plus foams developed by their former owners who used it to put a little spring the step of their running shoes.

Regular readers will probably remember the video demonstration InGoal did for part of our review of the Extreme Flex Shield Chest Protector, which used the yellow Adiprene plus foam in the shoulders to repel rebounds, and the impact-dampening orange Adiprene foam to help cushion the blow and retain pucks shot into the belly area. If not, check it out again.

It’s no coincidence the foam under the face of the Premier 2 pad is yellow: the goal is to produce that same spring-like effect for pucks shot off the pads, which helps push rebounds past the first wave of attackers before they can react, and produces longer rebounds that buys the goaltender time to recover and re-position themselves before a second shot.

Beyond agreeing rebounds felt more active past CCM pads they tried, it was hard to quantify how much with InGoaltesters, but CCM used their in-house testing to get a better handle on the impact of the new layer of foam. On shots between 70 to 80 miles an hour, the rebounds came back off the pad 5 to 10 miles an hour faster than the original CCM Premier pad.

“The best way I can put it is sometimes when you get a high shot on the blocker side you’ll notice how sometimes the goalie purposely tries to punch it out further away rather than just try to make a save and the puck drops. It’s a bit of the same concept. The harder the pad, the further it will kick out and give you a little more time to recover.”

Roberto Luongo

Florida Panthers

The yellow foam inside the face of the pad creates active rebounds.

A post shared by InGoal Magazine (@ingoalmag) on

MAX REBOUND TECHNOLOGY

The Premier line was one of the first to try and create active rebounds four years ago with the XLT pad, which layered the foams in a way designed to create the more active rebounds that NHL goaltenders were after even when the shot velocity was at a beer league level.

 

The yellow foam inside the face of the pad creates active rebounds.

The new Premier 2 pad takes that to another level with the addition of a brand-new layer just under the face of the pad that is designed specifically to create a spring-line effect.

CCM is calling it Max Rebound Technology, and it’s really as simple as putting an active puck-repelling layer of foam on the face of the pad. You can even see this bright yellow layer if you look closely under the stitching on the front of the pad, and while CCM is no longer using the proprietary name since being sold by Adidas, it is based on the Adiprene-plus foams developed by their former owners who used it to put a little spring the step of their running shoes.

Regular readers will probably remember the video demonstration InGoal did for part of our review of the Extreme Flex Shield Chest Protector, which used the yellow Adiprene plus foam in the shoulders to repel rebounds, and the impact-dampening orange Adiprene foam to help cushion the blow and retain pucks shot into the belly area. If not, check it out again.

A post shared by InGoal Magazine (@ingoalmag) on

It’s no coincidence the foam under the face of the Premier 2 pad is yellow: the goal is to produce that same spring-like effect for pucks shot off the pads, which helps push rebounds past the first wave of attackers before they can react, and produces longer rebounds that buys the goaltender time to recover and re-position themselves before a second shot.

Beyond agreeing rebounds felt more active past CCM pads they tried, it was hard to quantify how much with InGoaltesters, but CCM used their in-house testing to get a better handle on the impact of the new layer of foam. On shots between 70 to 80 miles an hour, the rebounds came back off the pad 5 to 10 miles an hour faster than the original CCM Premier pad.

“The best way I can put it is sometimes when you get a high shot on the blocker side you’ll notice how sometimes the goalie purposely tries to punch it out further away rather than just try to make a save and the puck drops. It’s a bit of the same concept. The harder the pad, the further it will kick out and give you a little more time to recover.”

Roberto Luongo

Florida Panthers

CCM removed the oversized pillow inside the thumb and streamlined the inside edge of the new blocker, cutting weight and improving balance.

The bright orange D3O foam helps protect the index finger.

PREMIER 2 BLOCKER

The CCM blocker has remained unchanged across both lines for years, with the exception of removing the outer binding, and has long been a staple for protection and performance, including goalies who wear the CCM blocker with other brand’s glove and pads. It’s been changed in the Premier 2 line, however, and for the better.

InGoal didn’t tell testers about the changes before they tried the gear, so the fact almost every one came back talking about the blocker being lighter and better balanced was encouraging.

The change isn’t complicated: they re-designed the inside thumb protection, removing the big pillow that used to sit between the thumb and the side board and replacing it with more high-density foam to maintain the protection while also reducing weight and improving balance.

The thinner profile is noticeable visually and on your hand, and pro feedback echoed the InGoal testers thoughts on balance, making it a no-brainer to finally make a change.

CCM continued the use of a layer of impact-absorbing D3O foam that wraps around the tip of the index finger for increased protection when pucks deflect or roll up the paddle.

The Premier 2 blocker is binding-less (you can custom order it with the binding around the edges) and comes stock with a traditional Nash but the grey Sure Grip material is also available on custom orders. The palm comes centred in a stock blocker, but can be custom ordered in an offset high position, and can also be custom ordered in intermediate size for smaller hands or in extra large.

PREMIER 2 BLOCKER

The CCM blocker has remained unchanged across both lines for years, with the exception of removing the outer binding, and has long been a staple for protection and performance, including goalies who wear the CCM blocker with other brand’s glove and pads. It’s been changed in the Premier 2 line, however, and for the better.

 

CCM removed the oversized pillow inside the thumb and streamlined the inside edge of the new blocker, cutting weight and improving balance.

 

InGoal didn’t tell testers about the changes before they tried the gear, so the fact almost every one came back talking about the blocker being lighter and better balanced was encouraging.

The change isn’t complicated: they re-designed the inside thumb protection, removing the big pillow that used to sit between the thumb and the side board and replacing it with more high-density foam to maintain the protection while also reducing weight and improving balance.

The thinner profile is noticeable visually and on your hand, and pro feedback echoed the InGoal testers thoughts on balance, making it a no-brainer to finally make a change.

CCM continued the use of a layer of impact-absorbing D3O foam that wraps around the tip of the index finger for increased protection when pucks deflect or roll up the paddle.

The Premier 2 blocker is binding-less (you can custom order it with the binding around the edges) and comes stock with a traditional Nash but the grey Sure Grip material is also available on custom orders. The palm comes centred in a stock blocker, but can be custom ordered in an offset high position, and can also be custom ordered in intermediate size for smaller hands or in extra large.

The bright orange D3O foam helps protect the index finger.

The added strap over the fingers makes it that much easier to lock in your hand.

PREMIER 2 GLOVE

The Premier 2 glove has the fewest changes in the new line.

There are two small improvements in the new glove: they increased the protection on the back of the fingers because more and more goaltenders are starting to turn the back of their hand to face the shooter over their short-side pad in reverse-VH. CCM also added a strap over the top of the fingers near the middle knuckles to help lock in the goalie’s hand even more.

Beyond that, the Premier 2 glove features a wider double-T pocket than the last Premier model (it’s closer to the EFlex 3 double-T), and impact-absoring D3O foam in the palm for protection.

The stock glove will come with a “590” break, which closes along the middle of the hand just below the knuckles, with the fingers pulling in closer to the base of the thumb. It can also be custom ordered in the “580” break preferred by Luongo, with the fingers closing right into the palm and the pocket folding over at the top, and the “600” break made popular by Carey Price, with the fingers closing more towards the tip of the thumb, kind of like a baseball glove.

Like the blocker, you can custom order the glove with an intermediate palm, which can be helpful for goalies with smaller hands that need narrower fingerstalls.

CCM continues to use more-expensive injection molded plastic components in the Premier 2 glove rather than compression molded parts that tend to lose their shape faster. And because that thin layer of D3O in the palm won’t break down, goalies will still be protected even as the rest of the glove softens over time, enhancing the durability in a line already known for it.

PREMIER 2 GLOVE

The Premier 2 glove has the fewest changes in the new line.

There are two small improvements in the new glove: they increased the protection on the back of the fingers because more and more goaltenders are starting to turn the back of their hand to face the shooter over their short-side pad in reverse-VH. CCM also added a strap over the top of the fingers near the middle knuckles to help lock in the goalie’s hand even more.

Beyond that, the Premier 2 glove features a wider double-T pocket than the last Premier model (it’s closer to the EFlex 3 double-T), and impact-absoring D3O foam in the palm for protection.

The stock glove will come with a “590” break, which closes along the middle of the hand just below the knuckles, with the fingers pulling in closer to the base of the thumb. It can also be custom ordered in the “580” break preferred by Luongo, with the fingers closing right into the palm and the pocket folding over at the top, and the “600” break made popular by Carey Price, with the fingers closing more towards the tip of the thumb, kind of like a baseball glove.

Like the blocker, you can custom order the glove with an intermediate palm, which can be helpful for goalies with smaller hands that need narrower fingerstalls.

The added strap over the fingers makes it that much easier to lock in your hand.

 

CCM continues to use more-expensive injection molded plastic components in the Premier 2 glove rather than compression molded parts that tend to lose their shape faster. And because that thin layer of D3O in the palm won’t break down, goalies will still be protected even as the rest of the glove softens over time, enhancing the durability in a line already known for it.

WHO IT’S FOR

For years, the Premier line was branded as CCM’s “butterfly” pad in contrast to the “hybrid” Extreme Flex line, and a lot of goaltenders wrongly associated “butterfly” with “blocking.”

It was kind of absurd, really. Just watch Vegas Golden Knights No. 1 Marc-Andre Fleury, who has worn the Premier line since early in his career with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and ask yourself if the three-time Stanley Cup champion looks anything like a blocking goalie?

Fleury is as fast and active as they come in the NHL, so the idea he would chose a blocking pad seems silly. The reality is, choosing between the Premier line and an Extreme Flex line is more about how you like to wear your pad. The new Premier 2 pad may be more flexible in the boot, like the EFlex, and it may have a Velcro strap that can be snugged up tighter around the top of the calf, but make no mistake, the Premier 2 pad is still designed to be worn looser.

Think of it in these terms: The Premier 2 pad is designed to move around your leg more so than the tighter-fitting EFlex, which is designed to move with your leg more. The Premier 2 pad prioritizes lightweight coverage, hanging just a little more off the leg to help maintain a good ice seal when down on your knees or sliding in a butterfly compared to an EFlex pad.

So, if you want a pad you can cinch down really tight to your leg, Premier 2 wasn’t designed for you. Similarly, if you want soft rebounds, Premier 2 was designed to produce the opposite, with new materials kicking pucks out even faster and further away to buy recovery time. And the 90-degree boot break angle hasn’t changed either, remaining a Premier staple in the new pad.

Beyond that, though, you can get pretty much whatever you want in a custom order.

Just as they have ever since opening the custom box with P4, CCM offers a variety of personal choices in their customizer, including eight different knee cradle options (recessed foam with removable knee cradle wrap, pictured above, is the stock option), two toe ties (Jen Pro with HD foam is stock), eight flex options (pre-curved single break core is stock), eight leg channel and strapping options (the loose fit, no calf strap Quick Motion strap is stock but you can choose traditional leather straps, which Fleury says he still does for personal “style” reasons), nash or nylon (stock) in the leg channel, two boot breaks (soft is stock now, but stiff is available still), three boot straps (removable under heel is stock), and seven knee strapping options (elastic only is stock but as you saw on Luongo’s pads, you can still order a leather knee strap).

Add it all up and there’s lots of personal preferences available, but at its re-engineered core, the new Premier 2 pad sticks to its roots: light and loose fitting with active rebounds.