Every once in a while you try/buy a product that just works. The funny thing is that it isnít really a new product but something that has been used for quite some time. Itís only when you have one yourself and use it that you realize that the hype and positive reviews were actually justified. There is nothing worse than when you are excited to get a new product and it disappoints once put into a situation where it is supposed to used for better performance and protection.
Enter the re-released Reebok P-1 chest and arm. Now, Iím no real stranger to this unit. Iíve seen It around for years and Iíve used a couple of different incarnations of it. One of those being the retail green Reebok C/A from several years ago which was not my favorite piece as the time and the CCM Gatkeeper C/A which was excellent and still sees duty today as it was inherited by my nephew from me. He loves it and wonít wear anything else.
Back in March of last year, our store was given the very unique opportunity of receiving 16 of these custom built C/A units from Reebok. The positive part was that they were built in Canada at the then operating CCM plant. The caveat was that they werenít cheap but again when you considered they were built very well, I didn't have an issue with it, nor did the other 15 goalies who purchased them. I was able to spec a single required change to mine thanks to my longtime friend and contact at CCM being Sonya DiBiase.
What transpired now is that almost a year later, I am still completely happy and content with the unit. It has been solid, very protective, very mobile and very comfortable in all facets. This is a C/A that is designed to be worn inside the pants. It moves up and down with your body and stays hugged to you when playing. Iíve also found it to very protective in the rib areas as well as the upper bicep area where one can get frequent stingers if the C/A isnít adequately padded. Now, stingersÖ..pretty much these days, we are all wimps compared to the goalies of yesterday who used to use the deer hair t-shirts and modified umpire pad. Those things separated the men from the boys. Kudos to anyone who dawned them in their time.
Thankfully these models are made with a black nylon base. My last C/A had a lot of white in it and thus, you know what happens with white when the sweat starts. This unit itself looks and is very basic with a solid build. Blocks are HD foam laminate with a thin lexan piece on top of each block. All bindings and stitching is spot on and perfect.
Looking at the backside of the C/A you'll immdiately notice 2 things. #1....the very protective elbow caps. These work fabulous, especially when you drop to a scrample and land on your elbow. They have been part of this line since it's introduction. Other C/A units I have had have simply used an hd cap foam that was moulded to the elbow shape. This is fine and works but isn't as protective or as solid. The other thing is the strapping setup. At first when I used this in an earlier version, I used to disconnect the straps and just let them float outside, but then I realized my error it's intended purpose, to keep it closer to your body. It works great! It's designed to be tucked in.
Closer inspection of the back shows #2 - the adjustment of the two shoulder cap pulldowns. This allows the top of each cap to pull down and hug the body. I like the C/A closer to my chest and this definitely helps keep it there instead of floating outwards. This is one of those features that really made this the C/A for me. The back cap also houses a nice piece of HD foam in case that hotdog forward (who still thinks he has a chance at a "walk on" contract with the Leafs) decides to drive you into the post with his candy move across crease as you take his feet out from under him with the seldom used but deadly pokecheck.
Lower inspection of the backside of the C/As bellypad shows a nice conforming piece that is very protective and literally wraps around your rib area while still maintaining great frontal coverage.
Elbow floater left and right. Both provide adequate protection. Never felt anything through them as of yet. I find them great at trapping those 6-hole shots through your side. They really grab the puck nicely when you squeeze it. Like anything else....timing is always everything and anticipation seems to be even more important as you age in the net!
The rib protection on this unit is superb! Laminated HD skin foam blocks with a lexan insert on top of them. Tried, tested and true.
The composite chest piece shown above really does a great job of protecting the heart and sternum area. This is a carbonfibre weave material which is epoxied onto an hd foam insert. Works perfectly!
Below....This was the central area that I had beefed up. The bicep. I'm not sure how many folks have ever had that stinger of a shot that can literally numb your arm but I have! I play against some current and retired NHL players in the summer months and let me tell you, when that shot hits, you had better be ready for it. OUCH! Haven't felt a thing yet with this. With great protection comes great confidence and this really helps!