By Samuel Gotowiec
Since the inception of the Extreme Flex line almost six years ago, the gloves have been an integral part of the overall popularity and success of the line. While staying true to the formula that goalies have come to know and love, the newest E-Flex trapper and blocker have some new tweaks along with a proven design. I got to spend some time in both the E-Flex 4 trapper and blocker before it’s initial release. Here’s what’s new and what I thought!
CCM Extreme Flex 4 Trapper
Keeping the same 75-degree catch angle (or 600 degree as CCM calls it), the E-Flex 4 trapper is a longer-pocketed design that sits more outwards as opposed to upright. The 600 degree E-Flex 4 is a fingers-to-palm type closure. This catch angle, first designed and popularized in collaboration with Carey Price, gears more towards catching pucks away from the body, instead of being a more “fingers up” style.
Over the past few seasons, many goalies have opted for double-tee pockets in their gloves over the traditional single-tee. Having a double-tee creates a wider pocket, which in turn increases puck retention, as well as allowing for better vision when tracking pucks into the pocket, through being able to look through the split tee areas.
Though these features of double-tees are beneficial, the part of the web that connects to the back of the glove is wider than single-tees, thus creating more tension when closing the glove. To combine the benefits of a double-tee with an easy closure, the E-Flex 4 trapper has reduced tension by changing the way it is woven in that area. When closing the E-Flex 4, it snapped shut like my favourite single-tee style gloves, while having the modern benefits of double-tee.
D30 Smart Foam Palm
D30 Smart Foam is a familiar material that has been utilized on the last few CCM trappers. Placed strategically in the palm of the E-Flex 4 where most “stingers” occur, D30 in its natural state is on the more flexible side but will harden upon impact.
The E-Flex 4 trapper comes stock with a “game ready” palm, which provides an easy close out of the box, while the implementation of D30 eliminates the need to order a “pro” or “practice” beefed up palms for most goalies. Any time that a new glove feels like I could go right into a game with it makes me a little bit skeptical at first, though I am happy to say that I have not had any “stingers” or protection concerns so far with the E-Flex 4.
Turning around the E-Flex 4 trapper, there is no shortage of adjustments for any goalie to dial in their fit. Under the nylon backhand, there are two Velcro adjustments. The first is the same as the E-Flex 3 and CCM has also added the strap we saw with the Premier II.
This new strap that covers more of the knuckle area allows for a tighter fit and more control; in turn, being able to feel more “inside” and locked into the glove if desired. On the wrist running through the backhand of the glove is the webbing strap. The webbing strap is a simple nylon pull system and allows for easy adjustment, even quickly in-game by quickly pulling it.
CCM Extreme Flex 4 Blocker
Redesigned Inside Thumb Protector
At first glance, the Extreme Flex 4 blocker possesses the classic CCM Lefevre shape that has for years been a classic with goalies of all levels. While keeping many goalie favourite design elements from the models before it, CCM redesigned the inside thumb protector of the E-Flex 4.
Visible on the sidewall of the blocker, this updated cut of thumb protection increases protection. It also increases coverage for bringing the blocker in tight for saves, or for any shots that may slip through and get to the thumb area.
D30 Smart Foam
D30 Smart foam is also utilized on the blocker of the E-Flex 4. Placed strategically on the end of the index finger, this section of D30 mainly addresses shots that can ride up the paddle of the stick. I have had D30 on my last few CCM blockers, and I always enjoy having the extra finger protection there, especially with the increased use of techniques such as Reverse-VH in the modern game. I feel safer when in close contact with the goalposts and bad-angle shots.
Quick Release Wrist Strap
On the backside of the Extreme Flex 4 blocker, an updated wrist strap has been implemented. First seen by Carey Price over the last couple seasons, this quick release strap allows for more comfortable use than traditional Velcro. I love this new system and it works great for me. I get a tighter, more locked-in feel that I could easily adjust in the middle of a game if needed.
Following in the footsteps of last year’s Premier 2 Blocker, the E-Flex 4 is extremely lightweight and balanced. Similar to the Premier, this was achieved through the thinning out and reduction of unneeded material throughout the sidewall area.
CCM has implemented stiffer, lightweight protection throughout the side of the blocker that is just as protective as the conventional foams used in years past. This reduction in weight made blocker saves feel effortless, as well as making the blocker board feel incredibly balanced.
With the continued adoption of the Extreme Flex line from goalies of all ages and levels every season, I think that CCM has once again found that balance of innovating, while still staying true to the core design elements that have gotten them to this point. While the Extreme Flex 4 nails all the design features we love, CCM continues to evolve their product and push the envelope in to create lighter gear that performs at an elite level. If you are in search of new gloves this spring, I think the Extreme Flex 4 is worth checking out!
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CCM E-Flex 4 Trapper & Blocker Gallery