by Doug Sears Jr., Special Contributor to Warrior Hockey
Warrior Covert QRL
After using the Warrior Covert QRL glove throughout December and January, I’m ready to provide a more comprehensive review. This review is designed to give you a solid idea of how the QRL compares to its counterparts around the spectrum of hockey gloves. The only category I chose not to include from typical glove reviews is durability, as the two month sample is just not enough time to get a feel for how the glove will age and respond to prolonged use.
The QRL is a tapered style fit, intended to be snug but not tight. To that end, this glove has a very consistent fit, which is not something commonly seen. I feel like I have the same fit characteristics in the fingers, the back of the hand, and in the wrist. Whereas the Easton offerings for tapered gloves are tighter in the fingers, and Bauer’s vapor line is tighter in the backhand, the QRL has a consistent feel. Snug everywhere, tight nowhere.
Weight & Mobility:
Warrior’s staffers told me and other Winterfest attendees that this is the lightest glove on the market. I’m not sure how official that is, but a quick comparison of the other gloves I have around (Sherwood T90, MIA MB22, Bauer Vapor XXX) there is no doubt the QRL is noticeably lighter than all of them.
Mobility is the hallmark of this glove. From the fingers, to the well placed blocks of padding on the backpad, to the Axyflex pad on the bottom of the cuff for smooth movement, and finally the floating cuff, this glove moves in any direction with ease. Mobility starts with the tag still on, which is very rare. I’m the rare hockey player that prefers the new, stiff feeling of newer gloves. These gloves, the minute I picked them up felt as loose and supple as a pair I’d been wearing for six months.
But mobility on this glove is all about the cuff. If you haven’t heard yet, picture the sleeve style wrist protection of the Reebok 11k (now being produced as a CCM) with the protection all the way around the wrist. Now, take that sleeve, and attach it to a halo of elastic mesh. Gussett material, basically. By freeing up the cuff and allowing it to float with your
wrist, the cuff provides the protection of the 11k, the wrist protection the hockey world is clamoring for, but with the mobility of an ultra short cuff. It plays like a zero cuff, but protects like the biggest, most robust and obstructive cuffs.
As a hockey player, I have a bad habit. I don’t know when it started, but, when possible, I tend to punch pucks. I play defense predominantly, and when a shot comes through and within reach, I tend to just stick my hand out, and let the puck slam into the backpad. Someday, I’ll learn, but not today.
Suffice it to say, this ended up being a big measurement of protection. And when I knocked down a puck with the backpad of the QRL, I didn’t feel anything but the glove moving on my hand. The foam and plastic absorbed every bit of force from the point shot.
While I didn’t have anything that would have tested the cuff, working it with my hands it definitely felt robust enough to stand up to slashes, and was built in such a way that it didn’t have any weak spots.
The QRL comes equipped with the SmartPalm, which has been featured in a handful of iterations on previous Warrior gloves. On this one, the supple SmartPalm material comprises the entire palm rather than just contact points. The effect is impressive, as the
SmartPalm material feels like a strong, soft leather, but plays with the smoothness and lightness of the best synthetics. Is also successfully avoids the slick, almost greasy feeling that a lot of synthetic palms have after about a half hour of sweat, ice shavings and leaky water bottles. They’ve also cleverly added a small patch of embedded rubber for grip, in a stripe pattern. This allows for a bit of grip on the knob of the stick, while still allowing the palm to move and conform uniformly. No binding or stiffness to be found.
The simple fact is, Warrior has drummed up a truly exemplary and sublime glove. They’ve caught lightning in a bottle, and the glove really doesn’t have a weak point or negative feature. As much as I try to hesitate to rave and therefore compromise my objectivity,
as an independent reviewer ought to do, there is really nothing I would change or suggest on this glove.
Listen to the interview we did with Doug about his review of the QRL gloves.