March 4 || Written by Cedric Hastings
We’ve known Vaughn was on the move for a while now—leaked pictures, teasers, and pro gear sightings have all led us to this fact. Now, the highly anticipated SLR3 Pro Carbon glove and blocker are finally here, and they boast some pretty impressive improvements over their predecessors. Let's investigate in depth what makes the redesigned SLR3 catcher and blocker an elite set of gear.
Starting off with the catcher, we can see that Vaughn wanted to keep the overall feel the same while making a number of improvements to the performance and protection that the glove offers.
As seen on the previous SLR2 model, the flared cuff has been brought back for the SLR3. This design is different from anything else we see on the glove wall, with the exception of the V9 also from Vaughn; it is Vaughn’s unique way of improving wrist mobility, and it works quite well. Curving the cuff helps reduce interference with the arms of the chest-guard as there is more space for everything to fit together.
Vaughn is now using a single piece molded carbon cuff on the SLR3 catcher, which provides a more stable and predictable blocking surface, as well as improved protection over the two-piece cuff seen on many of their gloves. The single piece cuff design also adds durability to the SLR3 catcher. Over time and use, the lacing that holds the multi-piece cuff together tends to wear and loosen, making for a sloppy feel and decreased protection.
One area Vaughn looked to improve in the SLR line was in the break of the glove. In order to give it that easy to close and snappy feel right off the shelf, a preformed break is now used. This break is more defined and not only makes the glove easier to close, but it also keeps the closure precise and consistent on each save.
The SLR3 glove has a 75° break, also known as a 600 break. This break has more of a finger-to-thumb, full-hand style of closure and feels similar to a first baseman's glove.
Seen as a staple piece in many of their Pro Carbon series gloves, the SLR3 features Vaughn’s Shockshield palm protection. Shockshield is a special foam that is combined with Kevlar and molded carbon fiber to allow for maximum protection while keeping the glove light and the palm easy to snap closed.
Other than a standard skate lace being used, not much has changed in the pocket of the SLR3. Vaughn continues to use a deep, carbon-reinforced single-T, while the addition of the skate lace helps slow incoming pucks by reducing their spin. In addition to reducing premature wear, using carbon in the T-top keeps the T rigid, which gives the glove a more open shape.
Turning our focus inside the glove, we can see that Vaughn has moved the wrist strap closer to the palm in order to improve wrist mobility. The SLR3 also features an antimicrobial treatment on the internal liner, which will help cut down on that notorious hockey hand smell.
Although there may not be as much innovation happening as far as blockers go, the SLR3 has some notable tweaks from the line it replaces that are definitely worth a closer look.
The hand positioning on the blocker board has been tweaked on the SLR3. Your hand now sits higher up the board, making for superior downward coverage. This high hand positioning also leads to better wrist mobility by helping alleviate interference between the arms of the chest protector and the blocker board and cuff.
Firm Face Design
The blocking board on the SLR3 has been re-engineered using an ultra high-density foam insert in combination with carbon reinforcement on the face. This all makes for a stiffer board that has more pop than the previous generation SLR. While other companies rely on adhesives to keep everything together inside the blocker, Vaughn uses an old school approach. Vaughn is one of the last manufacturers still running lace through the front face of the blocker to secure the different layers that make up the blocker board together. This construction method not only ensures there’s no separation between the layers, but it also helps keep the blocker’s rebounds predictable and consistent throughout its lifetime.
Side Shield Protection
Vaughn uses their new side shield protection, which uses a combination of carbon and HD foam in the side panel to overlap the face of the blocker. This new design makes for a stiffer sidewall that also offers better coverage and hand protection, thanks to its larger profile shape.
The SLR3 features two molded finger guards that let the index finger move separately from the rest of the hand. Your fingers are guarded by 3mm thick carbon inserts along with HD foam in the fingertips and a large thumb pillow. First seen on the V9, the SLR3 also brings that seamless trigger index finger design for improved comfort.
Gloves can be tough to buy; if your catcher doesn’t fit or feel right, it could completely make or break your game and performance. Likewise, if your blocker is uncomfortable, making saves and controlling rebounds can become difficult. As always, Vaughn offers multiple options for customization in their highest-end goalie gear. The SLR3 Pro Carbon series notably offers over 20 colour zones to customize in both the blocker and catcher, as well as various material and fit options for you to work with.
When we look at the SLR3 glove and catcher, it’s clear that Vaughn knew they had some improvements to make in the SLR2. Innovations like the more defined glove break, firmer blocker board, and stiffer sidewall helped evolve the SLR line while keeping it true to the unique feel it’s had since its inception.
If you found our review of the SLR3 catcher and blocker interesting, consider checking out our take on the SLR3 leg pads here!