I’ve always been a Hockey Company guy: Koho, Titan, Jofa, Canadien, etc. As a 90s kid, I grew up with a much more-diverse selection of brands available to choose from, even if they were all produced under the same roof. As a proud Pittsburgh Penguins fan, like all other Western Pennsylvania youth hockey players in the 1990s, I was issued a pair of Koho Gloves in the traditional black/white 4-Roll:
Koho was a go-to brand for youth hockey players in the early-to-mid 1990s, especially Pittsburgh-area players. I grew up using a ton of Koho product, to say nothing of the other Hockey Company brands. It was to my great disappointment in the early-2000s when most of these brands were phased out, collateral damage in Reebok’s purchase of the CCM brand and the Hockey Company.
This small collection of unique hockey brands was eventually consolidated under the CCM label, and as you likely know, CCM/The Hockey Company was purchased by Reebok, which was subsequently purchased by Adidas. All the glorious Koho gloves, Titan sticks, and Jofa protective gear I grew up wearing were to be discontinued immediately.
So imagine my delight when I saw a pic of the CCM 4-Roll Pro II gloves, pictured above in the classic Black/White color scheme. After the retail price dropped below $100, I immediately picked up a pair, and have been greatly pleased with the purchase. Details follow in what is a very positive Honest Hockey review of the CCM 4-Roll Pro II:
Basis of Comparison
As noted above, I have traditionally used Hockey Company gloves. My first pair of gloves were a pair of Koho 650 traditionals, and I have consistently used Hockey Company gloves for much my 20+ years in the sport.
My favorite gloves of all-time, excluding my College gloves, are the pair of Koho Pros seen in this pic below. I am the guy on the end in the Koho Pro gloves with the wooden stick and the devil-horn hair (all huge surprises):
That was like our 11th consecutive championship at Penetrators Arena. But I digress. My point is that I am very familiar with CCM/Hockey Company gloves, because I have a compulsion to use them.
As a direct comparison, I picked up a pair of Pro Stock 2012 CCM Crazy Light gloves:
I re-sold the CL gloves after very limited use. My view is that there is a bump in quality from the CL gloves to the 4-Roll Pro II gloves, particularly in the palm, which I will discuss below.
Aside from the directly-comparable gloves, I probably have 10 pairs of higher-end gloves currently in my possession, and I’ve probably used 50 or 100 pairs over the course of my playing time. As I’ve written before, I’m pretty predictable when it comes to hockey gloves: I fall in love with the newest pair I see. The fact that I have continued to use the Pro IIs speaks volumes in- and-of itself, especially when I have so many alternatives at my disposal.
Here is a color chart for the 4-Roll Pro II. If you cannot find a color scheme you love, you aren’t looking hard enough:
I really like the 4-Roll II because it looks classic and sharp at the same time. There is something distinctly-traditional about the way the Pro II looks at first glance, but at the same time, color schemes like Royal/Red/White and Dark Green are extremely eye-catching.
I purchased the Black/White because I love the classic look, but there are obviously color schemes to meet anyone’s taste. Unless you are one of those eccentric types who prefers color schemes that would double as ice-cream flavors – “bubble gum”, “tutti-fruitti”, “pistachio”, and so forth – you should be able to find a Pro II color that you really like.
The palms are beautiful-reinforced Pro Nash. It’s a high-quality material that looks great aesthetically on all of the color schemes, again giving the gloves a simultaneous Classic/Cutting Edge look. I think the decision to use Pro Nash was an awesome call, and a primary reason I kept the Pro IIs and sold the Crazy Lights.
The liner on my Black/White gloves is a sharp shade of red that contrasts well with the otherwise subtle Black/White. Again, I think CCM really nailed the concept of mixing classic and contemporary. A beige or otherwise-nondescript liner would have made the gloves look a bit bland, but instead the vibrant red poking out from the inside makes them look very distinct.
The shell is the now-standard nylon. I am a leather-gloves guy, but the reality is that most gloves made today have a nylon shell.
HH Rating: 9.0
I wore the gloves to a game the same day I bought them. Zero break-in time. They were extremely-comfortable right off the rack, which is one of the reasons I impulse-purchased them.
I cannot overstate how the Pro Nash palms improve fit. It’s the same concept as a tailored shirt made of higher-quality material. Spending the extra $20-$60 on a high-quality pair of gloves such as the Pro II is a massive leap from the substandard materials used in lower-end gloves.
The trade-off for the comfortable fit is that I do not believe the Pro II gloves are the most-protective gloves available. They are soft and conform beautifully to the hand, but this style of fit is going to compromise durability and protection to a degree. They are not shoddy by any means, but if I was getting my hands chopped to bits with slashes in a more-competitive league, I might seek out a more-rugged glove.
HH Rating 9.0
(UPDATE 8/11/14 – Below are a few pics of the gloves after about eight months of consistent use. I dropped the Durability rating a bit because they have started to markedly unravel. At the current suggested price of $79.99, I would expect slightly-better Durability:)
(The palm on my left/bottom hand is shredded, but the right/top hand palm looks fine. The nylon shell looks pretty rugged. To re-palm the left glove with Nash, it would cost me $20-$30 to do myself. Given the wear on the shells and the time it would take, I would probably be more apt to invest the re-palm cost into something like an Easton or Reebok Pro Series glove.)
I have had my Pro II gloves for about
six eight months exactly, and they are starting to show reasonable noticeable amounts of wear.
Small tears have appeared on the lining of both palms, especially on my top hand. The stitching is fraying somewhat, and the gloves have lost some of the bold color that they had at the time of purchase. The left palm has incurred a large tear.
For the amount I play, this is an acceptable amount of wear. While I come from an era in which gloves were kept for years and years, modern nylon-shell gloves are meant to be somewhat disposable. If I get a full year from the Pro II gloves – a Christmas-time purchase – I will be satisfied with their durability. I haven’t worn a contemporary Bauer or Easton pro-level glove for any length of time, but from what I have seen and heard these kinds of durability issues are fairly universal.
HH Rating: 7.0
The Pro II gloves feel great, and they are reasonably-protective. Short of a custom-pro gloves, I couldn’t expect much more from a glove’s performance.
HH Rating: 9.0
I have said it before and I’ll say it again: I am a CCM guy. The fact that I am emotionally-tied into how the gloves look – my first pair was very similar-looking – I am inclined to praise these gloves to the moon. That needs to be taken into account when you evaluate the Pro II gloves for purchase.
As with Bauer skates, I have never really cared for Bauer gloves. I like Bauer helmets, sticks, and some of Bauer’s protective, but I have always liked CCM gloves and skates. I suspect this is just a “Coke vs. Pepsi”-type preference.
I looked at the Pro II gloves next to the 2013 Easton Pro gloves, and I obviously preferred the former. Fit is totally a personal preference, but I remember the Pro II gloves having more of a “natural” fit right off the rack. The Easton Pros felt a bit stiff and synthetic for my taste, but seemed like a totally-fine product.
As written above, I collect gloves like baseball cards, and generally lose interest in a pair after a few weeks. The best thing I can say about the Pro II gloves is that I have continued to use them, even after purchasing this absolutely-gorgeous pair of CCM Pro Tacks gloves:
I call the Pro Tacks my “tuxedo” gloves, used only for special occasions. Meanwhile, the Pro II gloves are like my favorite pair of jeans, i.e. so comfortable that I end up wearing them 4-5 days per week despite a plethora of options.
I like how Warrior gloves look, but I have no emotional attachment to them because Warrior (re-branded from Innovative in the mid-2000s) was not a brand that I used as a child. The same goes for gloves made by companies such as Graf, Combat, Rebellion, etc. Gloves are mostly about comfort and personal taste, and I have traditionally preferred Hockey Company or Easton gloves.
I think the Pro IIs are an outstanding value at their current suggested retail of $80. I will likely scoop up a pair of two before they are closed out with the forthcoming release of the CCM Tacks line later this summer.
If you are an elite player – meaning someone is paying or sponsoring you to play – you may want to consider a more-protective glove. The Pro IIs are fine for beer-league use – and as the name states, professional use – but I have felt a few whacks on the hands from less-than-stellar players in my local league. Remember that pros can and do have their equipment highly modified and personalized, and that pros wearing gloves like the 4-Roll Pro II might do a modification like this to their gloves:
The new reality is that you are meant to get about one year of use from gloves. You can certainly go past that, but common issues like holes in the palms and frayed stitching are to be expected. As I noted above, I think it’s a better bet to get a high-quality glove like the Pro II for $80 and love it than to get an economy-level glove for $40 and be annoyed all the time. If you play more than once per week, going up a tier to something like a Pro II or an Easton Pro is a solid investment.
As noted above, the liner on my Black/White gloves is a deep shade of red. This red dye wore onto the edges of my white elbow pads quite a bit. I don’t care because it’s only my elbow pads, but if the gloves had dyed one of my favorite white jerseys pink around the wrists, I would have been pretty aggravated. Something to be cautious about if you purchase gloves with dyed liners.
Gloves are something people immediately notice about you while you’re playing, and they can say a lot about you as a player. For example, the old, slow guy in the vintage Eagle gloves is probably not someone you want to tangle with, because he’s been playing for a long time and probably has played at high levels. I like CCM gloves because they have a classic look and because CCM is a timeless brand.
You will have your own reasons for selecting a given glove, but I can endorse the CCM 4-Roll Pro II very strongly. It’s an outstanding contemporary glove at an exceptional value.
HH Overall Rating: 8.5