21 Years in the Making
2021 marked 21 years using my Vaughn Legacy 4000 set. I had been talking of wanting new equipment for at least the last 15 years. As time went on, equipment changed so much but I was still using my old Legacys. In July I went to General Sports in Edina, MN, to change that though and met with Tory to get measured up and go over spec options for a new set of Vaughn V9s. I ordered leg pads, gloves, and hockey pants – breezers for those of us in Minnesota.
I could have gone with the stock V9 graphic, but… I had been using those Lecay pads and gloves so long I felt that graphic had kind of become my look. Using Adobe Illustrator I mocked up the Legacy graphic on a V9 pad, but with some color added as I’d been wearing black and white pads. Growing up in Chicago I always wanted red, white, and black pads to match the Blackhawks jerseys. As luck would have it my beer league team has a Chicago-styled jersey so that color scheme would work perfectly. I kept the design mostly black and white, but with red accents. When Tory first took the design to the Vaughn rep we were shot down and told to choose from the stock graphics, but another associate at General Sports is also an ECHL goalie so he had a direct line to Vaughn’s pro rep Ev. Adam took the design to Ev, and he gave it the green light.
When getting me measured and dialing in the specs Tory first asked what size my current pads were. They were a 34″ pad with no thigh-rise as they were bought in the days before thigh rises. Heck, when I bought them they had leather toe buckles. When Tory pulled some modern-day 34″ pads off the shelf they were way too tall for me. A 32″ pad actually fit me perfectly. Most pads have a 2″ rise, but we both agreed that wouldn’t suit my “vintage” style of play so we decided on a 1″ rise.
As far as strapping I made sure to have the professor strap just below my knee, kept the leather strap to go through the heel of my skate, and added one useless leather strap at the top just to pay homage to my old pads that had seven leather straps on each pad.
One thing I wanted to add to my design was inspired by Ed Belour. I wanted to add my Washed Up Goalie logo to the blocker just like Belfour with his Eagle logo when he used the Legacy equipment in Dallas.
As far as the glove goes, there wasn’t anything special other than the graphic. I went with a stock split-T and nylon webbing. I did go with a two-piece, not one piece glove as that’s what I am used to.
While my old Legacy gloves and pads were getting old, I also had a pair of CCM pants that were falling apart. The seam in the crotch was wearing thin, hip pads were falling out and needed to be shoved back into place before every skate. These were my team-issued pants from college. I loved them because they had cheater roles on the inside and outside of the legs. When placing my order, I added a pair of V9 pants in black with a Chicago stripe. At this point I committed to the Chicago look, how could I not go with the Chicago stripe?
After sending the order to Vaughn I got a call from Ev confirming the side of 32″+1″ knowing I was currently in a 34″ pad. He also went over colors for the backs of the gloves and pads as my mockup only showed the front. From there we went over lead time expectations and I knew from day one I was looking at a minimum of 14 weeks. It was around nine weeks into the wait though that I started having fun and tweeting a weekly count of how many weeks I’d been waiting. Every so often Ev would send me updated photos of the equipment during the manufacturing process. I don’t know of any other manufacturer that will do that for a non-NHL goalie.
I’ve been asked why did I go with Vaughn over the other manufacturers. The obvious answer was simple, but there were other factors. Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Their quality. If my last set lasted 21 years, I know the next one will last a minimum of 10 years which will take me to 50. If I’m playing beyond 50 that’ll e awesome. The other was their softer pad suits me better than an ultra-stiff CCM pad. The feel of the glove was big for me too. I’ve probably tried on every glove. I loved the feel of the Brian’s glove but didn’t like the break. I really liked the Warrior equipment, but hated the glove. I don’t trust the longevity of Bauer equipment (but would have loved a Belfour Reactor 5 tribute set). True’s lead time was too long, and it’s still a stiffer pad for me. Another thing that was important to me was where the manufacturing was happening. With lead times and supplies during the pandemic, I knew my pads would be made either in Michigan or Ontario – eliminating the need to sit in a shipping container off the coast of California. And then there is the customer service. Ev was amazing. As mentioned already he would send updated photos, he called me to double-check specs and sizing. Enough can’t be said for Vaughn’s customer service.