Simmons 997 Pro Custom Blocker: Initial Review
I’m changing my equipment to a set a little more personalized and lively for myself instead of my semi sterile white/black/silver sets of the past few years. As before I had won a P3 glove in phoenix red and white so not knowing that is was a touch different color I ordered maroon for the blocker and leg pads. It’s not too far off and I can always put the P3 up for sale and order a P4 in maroon colors and get almost the same glove. I in fact went down to Monkeysports in Norwood Ma. to check out a number of gloves. Looks like I would be getting a P4 or Koho 588. Anyway on to the blocker.
My first glove ever playing was a Simmons platinum p2k which when I realized now was kind of ahead of its time. I wanted to try Simmons out again after all of these years because they make a good quality piece for a damn good price and are willing to do a lot more on the custom front than most companies are. I was also looking for a company where a blocker wasn’t just a blocker. To top it off they had a graphic that almost perfectly matches my P3 glove. Ordering was very easy. Place an order on the website and then you get a call from one of the guys there and talk things through. They are all extremely helpful I have to shoot out a HUGE thanks to Mark and Rick for all the info on their lines on this and the leg pads I just ordered which will be a future review.
What I was looking for this time around was weight, good hand and finger protection and a more open flexible stick area. I started out and stayed in Vaughn blockers for a long time then after a hand injury I moved to a Reebok Larceny blocker which is basically the tank of blockers. My biggest complaint has been that the inside cuff which was super rigid and had the pillow really limited stick movement affecting handling and poke-checking because the index finger protection and thumb were sewn in a way that the actually applied pressure to the stick on their own. My blocker basically held my stick without me. Not so with the Simmons unit, there is a larger opening in the side board but thanks to an A+ finger design the area still seals up. Another great Idea is the us of Jenpro in the crook of the thumb binding where Nylon usually wears out.
Other great innovations are the wrist strap that runs up the inside of the side board and actually allows you to adjust the position of the side board a bit possibly flaring it out or pulling it tighter in. I make just as many save with my side board as with the face of the blocker so I am curious about how I will perform with a bit smaller more tapered side board. The cuff is something that I have been underwhelmed with on a number of gloves . I don’t exactly wear a huge C/A but from a Vaughn 9400 to a Reebok P3 to Reebok Larceny I have had issues with the cuff being to small for the sleeve on my C/A causing it to always feel like it was being pushed off. I had to cut a strap off the Larceny specifically for the reason and enlarge the cuff. The 997 cuff is softer and articulates separately from the blocker board itself. I would consider this design to be something anyone who really plays the puck would want. I also think this will be the end of my sore hand and wrist on my blocker side.
Still shocked at how light this thing is. Even with having Beefy Jenpro finger protection.