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Pro return goalie equipment

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Old
05-11-2008, 01:25 PM
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Hank Chinaski
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Pro return goalie equipment

Does anybody here have any success stories or cautionary tales they want to share with regards to pro return goal equipment?

I just recently saw a pair of Antero Niitymaki custom made Itech's going for $700 (I believe it was on goaliemonkey.com). These pads, brand new, would normally go for $1400 at the cheapest, and many stores where I live would probably gouge you for close to $1900. I realize that you're essentially buying used pads with pro specs, but even still, this does seem like one heck of a deal.

Any thoughts?

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05-11-2008, 02:41 PM
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Brodeur
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They are the Prodigy 9.8's which are an older pad. For an extra $50, the same site has the new pro stock pad: http://www.goaliemonkey.com/itech-go...s-gp98srd.html

Unless you fit Niitymaki's exact specs, I probably would pay the extra $50 and get a pad that fits and a color scheme of your choice. And the Nitty pads are slightly used.

Does the league you play in care about 12" or 11" pads? The 9.8 are a 12" pad which will be illegal at some level of play.

For the same price, I've been eyeing the Vaughn 7400 pad for $630. Roughly half the price of the pro 7500 pad with supposedly mostly similar specs.

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05-11-2008, 03:24 PM
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Harv
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Are you sure these are pads made for Niitymaki himself, or are they pro-spec pads the same as Nitymaki?

Alot of companies call pads Pro-spec because they have alot of extra features that the regular pads don't have.

But if these are pads 100% made for Nitymaki himself, then I wouldn't buy. The pads are measured for his legs by the inch and will only fit him exactly right.

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05-11-2008, 04:48 PM
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Hank Chinaski
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brodeur View Post
Does the league you play in care about 12" or 11" pads? The 9.8 are a 12" pad which will be illegal at some level of play.
They don't care, though I'd probably want to buy 11" in case I end up joining a league that actually does care.

Thanks for that link to the 9.8 pads. For some reason Itech pads seem to get greatly reduced in price, so that's where I'll be looking.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Harv View Post
Are you sure these are pads made for Niitymaki himself, or are they pro-spec pads the same as Nitymaki?
Pretty sure they were custom built for Niitymaki himself, although I don't know if he ever wore them in a game. I think most of the pro return stuff is gear that the goalies just can't get comfortable with in practice, and send back to the factory. Also, if they switch brands, I've heard they often get coaxed back by their original pad makers.

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05-11-2008, 05:09 PM
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Brodeur
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Quote:
Originally Posted by verbalkint View Post
Thanks for that link to the 9.8 pads. For some reason Itech pads seem to get greatly reduced in price, so that's where I'll be looking.
I think most stores are clearing out their stock of 12" pads. GM has a pretty good deal on CCM Vector Pro Pads for $399.

http://www.goaliemonkey.com/clearanc...-leg-pads.html

The one review of the Vaughn 8600 Epic pad seemed favorable. Pretty good price at $430:

Quote:
I just bought a pair of 8600 Epic pads two days ago from Goalie Monkey. I will write a full review later but here are my initial impressions:

I had the guy bring over a pair of $1,350.00 8800's and a pair of $450.00 8600's. I put the 8800 on my left leg, and the 8600 on my right. These pads are IDENTICAL in every way, shape, and form exept the 8600 doesn't use double stitching and the 8800 has full weave material where the 8600 does not. The shape of the pads are identical, the only difference in the straps where that the 8800's top strap was higher on the INSIDE but still buckeled fairly low on the outside. The straps were the same material, the leg channel felt and looked like the same material. For a chinese made pad, these things are built friggin great! They were both identical in their stiffness as well...faily stiff right out of the box, but should break in nicely after a few plays in them.

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05-11-2008, 05:57 PM
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Harv
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About the Vaughn review, the double stitching and the full weave material are what keeps the pads living.

All the pads I've ever bought that weren't Vaughn always had the stitching rip after a few years. The weave material keeps the water out of the pad and they feel as light as the day I bought them..... 4 years ago.

People ask me why the hell I would pay $1,200 for a set of pads, and I tell them because they are worth every single penny.


But back on topic. I don't know about those pads. I wouldn't buy them unless I would do a dry-run with them on. No two people are the same.

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05-11-2008, 07:15 PM
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Hank Chinaski
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harv View Post
About the Vaughn review, the double stitching and the full weave material are what keeps the pads living.

All the pads I've ever bought that weren't Vaughn always had the stitching rip after a few years. The weave material keeps the water out of the pad and they feel as light as the day I bought them..... 4 years ago.
People ask me why the hell I would pay $1,200 for a set of pads, and I tell them because they are worth every single penny.


But back on topic. I don't know about those pads. I wouldn't buy them unless I would do a dry-run with them on. No two people are the same.
This is EXACTLY why I'm insisting on buying pro model pads. Last time I bought pads ('99), I got burned on a $900 pair of Koho Sr.'s that had straps break, stitching bust, and just about every conceivable mishap occur. Maybe the "just below pro" models that are out now have improved greatly, but I'm still gun shy.

As for the dry run...meh, me and Niittymaki are about the same height haha. Other than getting used to the 36" pad size (I used 33" before, which have become way too small), I don't foresee any other major adjustment issues. I've tried 36" pads on before, and they seem like exactly the right size for a guy my height playing a pure butterfly style.

Thanks for the info guys, I'm definitely going to do more shopping around before committing to these pads.

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05-12-2008, 05:31 PM
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Pro Returns are much different than Pro-Spec. As each NHL goalie gets his gear situated, esp when new to a company, they will make as many as 5 or 6 sets before a goalie may be satisfied with the product. A pro-Return is just thta. A pad made that was not acceptable to hte NHL goalie and he returned them. In some cases, modifications are made. In other cases the pads are sold under the glorified PRO RETURN label.

These pads tend to be MUCH less durable. Weight is removed by taking many aspects of the pad to its bare bones MIN. NHL goalies will use as many as 5 or 6 complete sets of these pads. Yes, they do log many hours in them but they are not made for durability. You will save money buying these pads but you will be getting a pad that will not have the life expectancy of a stock pad.

One also does not have to pay 1200.00 or more for a pad. There are many reasonably priced alternatives. Don Simmons sports makes pads priced under the 900.00 US mark that rival and in some cases have better features than a Vaughn. They use the same top grade materials while some of the others such as Vaughn, CCM and a few others will outsource their SENIOR models to a chinese manufacturer who uses inferior materials. Simmons DOES NOT, Pete Smith DOES NOT, MILLER DOES NOT... These pads from others in many cases will still say "made in USA" or Made in Canada" when they have only been ASSEMBLED from components made in china. How about Smith Hockey? Here is the guy who Vaulted Vaughn upward with the Velocity design. You can get custom made pads from his shop at 2/3 the price of a vaughn "made in china" pad, glove and/or blocker but still of High grade materials. there is also a lot more to a pad than what you can see. HWen these "made in china" pads are disected, you can see the underside of the outer materials as well as the internals. There is with out a doubt a vast difference between the Real thing and a made in china pad. Time is what will show you that when you dont have the luxury of being able to disect gear for a look see at what they hide from you inside.

Buying based on a brand name such as Vaughn or TPS at huge marks ups is never justified. If its what it takes to make a particular goalie happy, fine. They have to be happy in the gear and its their money but its not necessary to get a quality pad. Half of what your paying for would be hte NHL fees and the nearly $50,000 invested in each pro goalie every season under contract. YOU pay for the NHL goalies pads when you fall for this hype. They sure dont pay.... You will almost always be able to justify purchase of a PRO level pad over SENIOR. Do not confuse this with PRO SPEC. PRO level gear tends to offer a few more bells and whistles as well as a stepped up level of protection.

A little bit about Simmons......Living local to the area, Simmons is prob the most seen pad here in the buffalo area. Many many house leagues and such have simmons pads as their loaner gear. The stuff is durable as hell. I regularly see models such as the Excaliber, Hybridian and a host of others still in use ten,15 and now almost 20 years from when they were made. Some may tell you its cheaper bacause of materials, craftsmanship etc etc....not the truth. Do they copy other makers? Yes. Do they improve on others designs? Yes. Do other makers copy each other besides Simmons? HELL YES. Its cut throat. Look at how many now offer the sliding toe bridge. think any of them actually paid Pete Smith for use of his design? NOT ONE SINGLE Manufacturer that has copied this feature. Do I wear simmons...NO. I love my Heatons but as soon as my son outgrows his new Smiths they become mine...lol

Higly reccomend PETE SMITH, Simmons, Vaugh, TPS, Itech PRO LEVEL pads, not senior. If you see pro-spec, its prob a senior pad. Simmons would be the only one where a senior pro spec pad wouldnt give me pause. Pete Smith doesnt make SENIOR models. Its all pro level.....


Last edited by MikeD: 05-12-2008 at 05:52 PM.
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