-- By the time John Tavares
was in his second season with the Oshawa Generals in the Ontario Hockey League, he probably had stopped giving his choice of skates a second thought.
After all, he had worn the same brand since childhood.
But a meeting with CCM representatives that season changed everything. Since that time, the No. 1 selection at the 2009 Entry Draft has been a loyal CCM customer and laces up their blades every time he dresses for the New York Islanders
"CCM came to me a couple of years into junior and really came with a different approach," Tavares told NHL.com. "I liked a lot of the stuff that they offered. I tried it out, and it worked out great for me. It's been a great fit ever since."
The change has certainly worked well for Tavares so far. The 20-year-old was the No. 1 pick in the 2009 Entry Draft and he had 24 goals and led the club as a rookie with 54 points.
Fortunately for Tavares, he was never hit by the injury bug in 2009-10, as he appeared in all 82 games for the Islanders.
Despite being sidelined for three games this season due to a mild concussion suffered on Opening Night of this season, Tavares appears primed to do big things again for New York this season.
Case in point: Tavares returned to his hometown of Toronto on Monday, scoring a power-play goal at 3:26 of overtime as the Islanders stopped the Maple Leafs' season-opening winning streak at four. The win kept the Isles in a first-place Atlantic Division tie with Pittsburgh.
Tavares told NHL.com that it was love at first skate with the CCM skates he received in junior. He loved that there was virtually no break-in period, something that is all too common with many new skates.
"Each skate has its things where it's better than the other or it's got different features that you find comfortable," Tavares said. "I think it's the one that fits best for you.
"[CCM skates] are pretty easy to break in, and I'm a pretty tough guy to break in skates. They've been great, and the service that they give me has been tremendous."
"[CCM skates] are pretty easy to break in, and I'm a pretty tough guy to break in skates. They've been great, and the service that they give me has been tremendous." -- John Tavares
The lack of a break-in period with the U+ Crazy Light Skate comes from its Fluid Fit system and UForm-3D technology, which uses highly heat-reactive foam inside the skate boot to considerably speed up the process of molding the boot to a skater's foot.
Knowing he could produce offensively at the NHL level, Tavares spent the past summer putting on added muscle and working on his skating ability.
Throughout his draft year, Tavares heard the criticisms about his skating, about how he was not as dynamic as some of the No. 1 draft picks and NHL stars with which he was being compared. So working on the dynamics of his skating stride is nothing new to the second-year pro.
The extra work this summer on the CCMs is starting to shine through.