East Coast Dyes (ECD) is a company that has built a reputation for creating some of the best lacrosse head and mesh products on the market with revolutionary designs in mesh fibers and head plastics that have changed the game over the years.
So when they announced they were releasing a new goalie head of course the lacrosse goalie community was excited.
On June 9 they released the ECD Impact goalie head to the market and many pro goalies like Tim Troutner, Matt Deluca, Jacob Stover, and Team Canada Drake Porter instantly started using this wand as their new weapon.
It wasn’t just the pros and college goalies who were pumped –
By combining their new, light, and stiff SL-105 plastic with an optimized face shape and an ergonomic throat, ECD was able to engineer an incredibly unique goalie head that is piquing the interest of many goalies!
But how does the ECD Impact goalie head compare to others on the market?
To help us with this review of the Impact goalie head we’ve recruited two amazing goalies in Syracuse legend, Team Canada Goalie, and Head of Youth Development with Goaliesmith Drake Porter and Canadian University Lacrosse National Champion with the Brock Badgers and owner of Stand Tall Goaltending Simon Bellamy.
Drake as well as the rest of the Goaliesmith family, especially co-founder of Goaliesmith Mike Gvozden helped collaborate with ECD to help build the Impact goalie head and mesh. Mike was really involved in the initial development and design of the head.
The biggest thing they were looking for in the initial design of the head was stiffness, especially at the top of the head so that you wouldn’t feel like you would be letting in balls that hit the top of your head.
They were also looking to design a head that had a comfortable throat that allowed you to hold the stick in the right spot in your hands. Lastly, they wanted a head that would be really lightweight to use.
So, to dive into this head let’s look at its main performance features, its durability, the new ECD Impact mesh, and also the cost of both products.
ECD Impact Head: Weight
For the creation of this head ECD didn’t use the same plastic that many goalie heads rely on. They went with something they’re calling SL-105 (SL = Super light) which gives the head a lightweight feel but also doesn’t sacrifice strength.
The light weight is the first thing I noticed when I got this head in my hands. It’s extremely lightweight and you can see the work that has been done to the head to carve out spots in the plastic to make the head lighter. The weight of the head comes in at 11.5 oz. which is just a tad under the Eclipse II which weighs in at around 11.6 oz unstrung.
Drake’s thought –
One of the things that I was looking for in the head was comfort. I was so loyal to the STX Eclipse II when I was in college and if I tried any other head, I would hate it because the feel was just so different. When using the Impact head it felt pretty similar in terms of weight and comfort to what I’ve used my entire career so I was able to just hop in net and forget what I was using in terms of feel.
I’m not sure the exact difference in weight between this head and others but there’s a noticeable difference when holding this head in your hand compared to other goalie heads I’ve used.
ECD Impact Reinforced Scoop
The biggest focus of the Impact was to engineer a head that provides strength and stiffness when facing the hardest shots specifically the top part of the head. The scoop is built to hold firm save after save.
Drake’s thoughts –
As I mentioned before I was a loyal Eclipse II user my entire career, but the number one thing that stood out to me was that when using the Eclipse II in the dome the head would get quite warm and I noticed that I would go through a few heads a season because of the lack of stiffness at the top of the head giving way to shots on the cage. I’d feel like I would have a shot that I should save that would hit the top of the plastic and go in and that would frustrate me.
A perfect example of this is from the 2021 National Championships when Alex Rode allowed a goal against Maryland that hit the top of his hand and into the net.
“So, the number one thing for me when testing out this head was if a shot hits the top of the head is it just bending backward and going in? What I’ve noticed about using the Impact is that when it hits the top of the plastic maybe it would bend a little bit but what it is doing instead is popping the ball up or forward instead going all the way back”.
Simon’s thoughts –
Not only is the plastic built really stiff at the top of the scoop, but the angle of the scoop also helps reinforce the stiffness of this head. The top lip of the scoop on the Impact is angled forward. When you get a piece of the ball this helps the head deflect the ball outwards or upwards as opposed to hitting off the head and going back.
Furthermore, the scoop of the head is designed to be more of a flatter scoop whereas the STX Eclipse II is more offset (leaning back) and the StringKing Mark 2G has a forward-facing scoop.
If you’re an Eclipse II user, you won’t notice much of a difference when transitioning to this head. However, it may take a few throws to get used to used the ECD Impact as Simon points out:
The first couple of times I was out playing with this head lob passes were perfect but when I wanted to put a little oomph on the ball, I found that passes were going lower than I expected them to. This is mainly because the ball was being released later than I was used to with the Eclipse II because the head isn’t as offset. That being said it’s just an easy adjustment of your mechanics and some time spent playing wall ball to help you get used to using this head.
Drake’s opinion –
I noticed that once I got outside and started throwing longer passes, I had to adjust my mechanics a bit to deal with the change in the offset, especially on long zippy passes. But once I adjusted my throwing motions, I felt more comfortable throwing with this than anything else.
ECD Impact Review: Optimized Face Shape
The face shape of the Impact head has been optimized to offer you more saving area where you want it to be and more structural support where your need it to be. Its rounder shape and reinforced scoop provide you with the best of both worlds in terms of these factors.
Lars the SidewallJedi called the Impact a “Nemi-Clipse” because the face shape is more rounded like the older Warrior Nemesis heads with the stiffness and other features of the Eclipse 2.
Compared to the Eclipse II, the Impact head is wider but not as long.
Here you see the Eclipse 2 measuring a tad over 16″ from top to bottom while the ECD Impact is at about 15.5″ –
Here you can see that side by side the ECD Impact is wider than the Eclipse 2:
Impact Head Dimensions – 13” Wide x 15.5″ high
Eclipse II Dimensions – 12″ Wide x 16″ high
Simon’s comment –
“I’ve been an avid Eclipse II user for the majority of my career. So, picking up a new head always has me a bit skeptical. As far as weight goes this head is incredibly light.
But what really blew me away with this head is its face shape. Lacrosse at the high level is a game of millimeters, and if you’re able to produce a head that is slightly larger or takes up more surface area while also remaining lightweight that’s a winning combination.
I’ve been out several times with the head now making saves against high-level players in St. Catherine’s, ON and I’m noticing, especially on low shots, that I’m able to get to the ball a half second earlier because of the wider face shape and the weight of the head.”
In terms of face shape the ECD will give you more saving area side to side and a little less top to bottom compared to the Eclipse 2.
ECD Impact Throat
The part of this head that I really enjoyed the most was the throat. Admittedly it was a bit of an adjustment to get used to, but I really enjoy the ergonomic design of the throat as it provides a great mixture of comfort and control, as well as an easy transition from a save to an outlet.
The design of the throat is a little wider at the top with edges that come off the side of the head that allow you to rest your hand comfortably in place when you’re set in your stance.
Drake’s thoughts: “When I first got this head the throat was one of the things that felt a little bit different. The Impact has little edges on the top of the throat and one thing I noticed is that these edges helped lock my hand in place when I was holding my stick.
The edges would dig into my gloves and when the ball would hit the side of the head it would prevent the head from spinning in my hand. ECD was talking about getting rid of this feature on the head and smoothening the throat out but I really pushed for this feature to stay because I like how much it prevented the stick from spinning in my hand.”
An example of head-spinning can be seen in this clip of Maryland goalie Logan McNaney during the 2021 National Championship.
When I first started using this head, I was a bit uncomfortable with the difference in the width at the top of the throat as I like to grip the stick at the very top. But I began to realize that you can almost use the sharp edges of the throat as leverage to increase the snap of your wrist.
So, especially on low off-stick or off-hip saves, five-hole of any save where you’re having to turn your top hand, I’ve found that this little bit of grip can increase your speed as you’re coming through and snapping your wrist’s over on an off-stick save.
ECD Impact Pocket Stringing
One important element of a goalie head design is to make sure the stringers can be put in a delicious pocket.
This head like any product from ECD is built for stringers. It has tons of sidewall holes that provide you with a ton of variety in how you can string your head. The Impact was engineered to allow you to string the perfect pocket and if you’re not a stringer they also have a cool feature we’ll touch on later in this blog.
Simon: “When you grab any new head you expect it to be a bit of a Rubik’s cube when you’re stringing – you don’t really know how it’s going to shape the pocket of the channel. It’s got the same sidewall holes and top string set up as the Eclipse II – the top string holes run clean into the top string holes like an Eclipse II there’s not a lot of gap between the two.”
As Lax Goalie Rat intern and stick stringer David Miedema points out, the ECD Impact head tapers in towards the bottom and that allows stringers to put in tasty channels into this head. It’s easier to string than the Eclipse 2, Nemi, and Mark 2G for that reason –
ECD built the Impact with the intent focus of trying their best to strengthen the top part of the head or scoop area and prevent the back bend that you see with heads such as the Eclipse II.
However, one of the things we’ve heard from initial feedback on this head is many people are experiencing warping from side to side.
Here’s what the side-to-side warping looks like:
As Drake mentioned a big piece of making a head like this is how do we make a head that is stiff enough that you’re not letting extra shots in but not too stiff that it breaks after a week and you need to send the head in and get a new one.
ECD did their best to try and find that perfect balance. They tried out a ton of different plastics and they tried ones that were super stiff but were heavier and the stick would break when testing it out.
Side-to-side bending wasn’t necessarily something that was focused on in this head. Instead, the focus was on reinforcing the top part of the scoop where you might see warping in other types of heads. For example, what you’ll see in an Eclipse II is the head will warp backward, especially for goalies who like to dig their sticks into the ground a lot.
Whereas now with the Impact because they’ve put so much reinforcement to the top of the head, you’ll start to see some bending side-to-side with this head. There has to be some give to the plastic to keep the head from snapping if the head is too stiff and doesn’t have any give.
There’s definitely some give and take and sometimes you may need to push the head into the ground in order to line it up straight again. To us, this isn’t something to really think about but if that’s something that concerns you, you should take this into consideration.
This is also something that might be more prevalent during those hot summer days when the plastic becomes more malleable in the warmer weather.
Simon mentioned that on a hot summer day in southern Ontario he found that there was no difference in feeling in the head as the plastic heats up from the weather.
Compare that to the Eclipse II where on a hot day he found that he could make the cleanest save in the world and it still feels odd because it’s so hot and you can feel the difference in the head’s durability. Also, when throwing outlets on a hot day his passes will throw higher because the top plastic will lean back more on an Eclipse II compared to the reinforced scoop of the Impact Head.
Also, a PSA to all the goalies out there – treat your stick like it’s you’re third arm! Don’t leave your sticks in hot cars, don’t leave your sticks in your bags for a week and you might not see as much warping of the head. Take care of your stick!
ECD Impact: Price
You can purchase the ECD Impact goalie head both strung and unstrung on LacrosseMonkey.
The price is comparable to that of the STX Eclipse II and Nike Prime Elite goalie heads which are also $109.99. All these heads come in at the higher end of the market. But with that in mind, you’re getting the performance you would expect out of a high-end goalie head with the ECD Impact goalie head.
Some cheaper options include the Warrior Nemesis 3 ($99.99) and the StringKing Mark 2G ($89.99) – two other heads that you see a lot of NCAA and pro goalies using.
You can purchase a strung ECD Impact goalie head with Impact goalie mesh for the price of $174.99. As of right now, you can only choose a white head for this option and it comes with a white mesh of white and black striker mesh.
Drake thoughts: “One thing that I like is that ECD released a head that was also pre-strung which is really important. Sometimes I’ll see a kid come through our camps who struggles with throwing outlets and it’s more to do with their string job than their actual mechanics. Which can really hinder someone’s career as bad clearing habits pile up over time that are difficult to get rid of. So, the pre-strung pocket is something that I think is really important. The channel on this head sits a little bit lower to allow for easy throwing motions and mechanics. Eventually, ECD is planning on putting out a pro or elite pocket where the channel sits a little higher.”
Another option for this head is that you can purchase a custom-strung Impact goalie head from the ECD factory. If you choose this option, you’ll be able to pick the color of the head you want (black or white), what type of impact mesh you want, along with your choice from a variety of colors for your sidewall and shooter strings.
This option is quite expensive though coming in at $189.99. However, if you’re looking for a fully customizable head designed to your liking, I think this is a really cool and unique feature that ECD offers that no other company does. You can also pick the color of the ECD throat medallion and ball stop with the customizer as well.
Video Review of the ECD Impact Goalie Head and Mesh
Here is a video that Evan, Drake, and Simon talking about the East Coast Dyes Impact goalie head and mesh.
Huge thanks to Drake Porter and Simon Bellamy for helping out with this head review!
We’d recommend the Impact head to any level of goalie, particularly goalie at the high school and college level that are looking for a sturdier head to use.
This head offers a lot of important features that we look for in a goalie head. Its lightweight design allows you to move effortlessly while in the cage. While its reinforced scoop helps give you that added stiffness you need to prevent shots from hitting the top of the plastic and going in.
The newly designed Impact mesh as well as the number of sidewall holes on the head allow you to create a limitless amount of stringing combinations that you’ll be able to throw with and control rebounds with.
While there may be some concerns about how the head gives way side-to-side we feel that this is just a by-product of the head reinforced scoop design and proper care and maintenance of this head should allow it to last you a long time with minimal warping.
Drake’s recommendation: “I would recommend this to any goalie who would like to try it, in particular, a higher-level high-school goalie before you get stuck in the way of whatever your using. This is especially when you get into those higher levels where having that extra bit of stiffness in the head is really important.”
Simon’s recommendation: “Anyone can use this head, it’s light enough that a young goalie can use it and it’s stiff enough for older, higher-level goalies can use the head and not have shots bend the head backward. I think that this head has the potential to be a game-changer for elite goalies. I’ve strung hundreds of heads and have used just about every head and mesh on the market and it’s been this constant mix and match game of different head and mesh brands and I was absolutely fired up that ECD took the time to produce a head and mesh that go together.”
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