Vaughn has always been a company that excels at making a soft pad, with traditional knee rolls. As goaltending moves away from its roots, it also moves further and further away from the tradition of using knee rolls. Vaughn has always featured knee rolls on the Velocity series and doesn’t believe that they are completely on the way out. Vaughn has found a way to have most the advantages of a flat faced pad, with the traditional aesthetics of a knee roll. This hybrid point, half way in between the two designs is showcased on the Vaughn XLW Pro line.The Vaughn XLW Pro leg pad has some special features built into it. It's a series that is exclusive to Source for Sports so you won’t see them just anywhere.
This pad is actually most closely related to the Vaughn 1100 pad. The first significant change that they made we've already mentioned is the flat knee rolls. These knee rolls are a bit different than traditional ones like you would see on the Vaughn 1000 (or any older style velocity pad for that matter) because the pad behind them is still technically a full flat faced pad. On the 1000 series the rolls are actually a part of the pad, and allow for a more flexible and softer pad in general. This can have a negative effect on the wear of the pad over time as it breaks the pad up and adds softer materials. The 1100 and the XLW Pro use HD foam rolls, on top of HD foam to give you the consistent rebound that is expected from a flat faced pad.
The knee rolls are not the only additional feature built into the pad. Vaughn has picked up on the fact that tons of goalies love to mess around with their strapping to get it exactly right. To make this an even more involved process, they have included fully adjustable buckles so you have the option to move them around or even completely get rid of them for ultimate customizability, down to the inch. As well as the adjustable strapping, the pad features a double break design to maximize the flexibility of the pad and take stress off the hips and knees.
In the channel and knee cradle, Vaughn has done two things to improve the pad over the standard 1100. Firstly, they extended and widened the knee landing surface for better pad control and seal while in the butterfly. Secondly, they added extra foam and support under your calf so that your leg sits much more comfortably while in the butterfly position. This extra padding also has the added benefit of taking stress of off the hips and knees, two extremely important things in goaltending considering how much we usually stress them.
Outside of the pad, the XLW Pro line does bring some unique features that are not seen on any other V6 trappers at its price range. The Vaughn XLW Procatcher is based on the V6 1000 and shares quite a few features with it. For instance, it shares the two piece cuff construction to provide a more flexible cuff. Also, it shares the very nice floating cuff that debuted on 1000. Because of this cuff it is very easy to square your glove to the shooter and use the deep pocket that it has.
Unlike the Vaughn 1000, it has a single T design for a cleaner look and better puck feel. Also, instead of the traditional nylon lacing we opted for a skate lace pocket for slightly improved puck retention and better aesthetics. Finally, on the inside of the glove we added a bar of material right at the tips of your fingers. This bar helps hugely for people with smaller hands that need something to grip to keep the glove on their hand. Although it isn’t quite the difference maker that it is for people with smaller hands, this finger bar does improve the control of the glove and make it feel a bit snugger in the finger area.
The blocker from the XLW Pro line is a very close sibling to the Vaughn 1000 blocker. There is not a whole lot that they could change from the original on this blocker. The one change that they did make however was a significant one in the way that it feels. Vaughn beveled down the blocker board substantially to make it thinner, and in turn significantly lighter. Because the blocker board is closer to the hand due to the thinned profile it is balanced a bit better. This thin profile feels more compact while still offering maximum size and protection. The differences between the XLW Pro and the 1000 blocker end there however. The blocker utilizes a sure grip palm to improve the durability of the palm and increase grip on the stick while the palm is wet. Overall the blocker surface itself it centred on the middle of hand, much like traditional velocity blockers.
The Vaughn XLW Pro series is an awesome addition to the 1000 and 1100 series that Vaughn already has on the shelves. They offer a unique look and feel when compared with other pads with knee rolls and although they are fundamentally different than Vaughn’s other mid-range pads, they still offer the same flexibility and typical “Vaughn-ness” that is expected of them. Wrapping up, we think the XLW Pro series is definitely worth adding to your short list if you're in the market for new gear this season.
Available now to purchase online, or to come try it on in store today.