They even called it the Mission Blank.
ACC attackmen were used in the making of this promotional material.
What do you prioritize when selecting a shaft? My current order is as follows and there’s a big gap between weight and visuals:
I’ve broken three shafts in my career. Oddly two happened while I was riding. I say oddly because while I was willing to compete in the ride I was never overly strong hence the position of weight in my priorities list. One shaft may have already cracked/dented and ready to to go. The other shaft dented beyond repair when I tried to check a defenseman who is chucking the ball the length of the field at the end of a quarter. The third shaft I broke on the crossbar in frustration over a poor shooting day.
Do you really care about the visuals on the shaft? Can anyone see the tribal tattoo design pattern on the shaft if they aren’t holding it in their hands? The higher end shafts have always been grey/metal/black. The more colorful shafts were more likely to be a lower tier product (read: heavier and stronger or lighter and weaker). It was just easier (from a peer pressure standpoint) to pick the top tier metalic silver shaft.
Now after being in the college recruiting world where gear is leveraged to attract recruits I can understand where a custom shaft maybe a unique piece of the player package. However, the chances of anyone really noticing that custom shaft from more than three feet away are so slim and players are so particular.
Or, are they? I’ve used Maverik, Brine, Warrior, and STX heads and shafts over the course of my playing and coaching career. Only in the last few years has the power of the blog/twitter account afforded me the opportunity of receiving equipment to demo for free.
Brace yourself for another 500 words of shaft stream of consciousness writing.
A shaft was always near the bottom of my wish list. Shoulder pads would have been last. Elbow pads would have been above a shaft, then gloves, then a head. Back in my day, we didn’t have premium mesh. That’s probably 1a or 1b on my list today if I still played. Wild that something that’s so important (your pocket) is the least expensive product you can purchase. Your helmet has to be high on the list as well but it’s nothing you purchase new every season because new helmets aren’t available for purchase season to season unlike everything else mentioned on the list. (Are new football helmets released every season? A post for another time.)
Have you used a carbon fiber shaft yet? Currently going through an existential crisis over the Alpha Fade shaft because it initially felt very heavy. A fellow coach described it as, “it feels heavy, but isn’t.” I was told it was a similar weight to another company’s carbon fiber/composite shaft but stronger. Again, strength of a shaft doesn’t mean much to because I rarely broke shafts during my playing days and don’t play anymore. Perhaps in large part because I don’t play anymore, I am way more concerned with the weight of a shaft rather than the strength. The opportunity to create a custom shaft is of course very interesting to me from a branding standpoint. Are all carbon fiber shafts heavier than alloy? What is the allure for people purchasing stock carbon fiber shafts from Alpha, Epoch, and ECD?
According to LacrosseMonkey.com, an ECD Carbon shaft weighs 176 grams.
A Gait ICE (RIP Gait) checks in at 162 grams.
Epoch Dragonfly weighs in at 156 grams. (Wasn’t the ICE shaft famous only for being really light? Everything I thought knew about shaft weight has been flipped outside down now. Think the blur image edit you see daily on Twitter now.)
A String King Metal Plus, which will be mentioned in greater detail below, tips the scales at 150 grams.
To my surprise, Lacrosse Money has the new Maverik carbon fiber shaft at 142 grams. Custom carbon fiber shafts are typically heavier because of the amount of paint added for design so it would make sense that a blank shaft would be light. At 142 grams this carbon fiber shaft is one of the lightest units on the market. (See below for more shaft weights.)
I’ll ask again…What is the allure for people purchasing stock carbon fiber shafts from Alpha, Epoch, and ECD?
Is it the flex? Consider this product description for the ECD Carbon Pro:
The 30” Carbon Pro features a High Kick Point and is rated as a Flex8 on ECD’s 10-point flex scale. The High Kick Point provides a quick release, which makes this shaft perfect for the crafty player who is all about quick feeds and finishes. The increased flex will allow you to add a little extra snap to all of your shots and passes.
Is the flex of a shaft something I should know/care about? More flex from carbo shafts than metal shafts? Am I outing myself as not really knowing a lot of about gear technology by asking this question?
This spring, I watched an LSM break his carbon fiber shaft and he came off the field complaining in colorful language about the shaft had let him down. Fairly certain he showed with another carbon fiber shaft the next day.
The lightest shaft I have ever used and what I used this past weekend for goalie warm up duties is a Maverik Union. My second most memorable lightweight shaft was a Great Atlantic limited edition Krypto Pro in navy and baby blue. That was the first broken shaft mentioned above. It didn’t make it through senior year of high school.
Up until last weekend I thought my Maverik Union Maverik Centrik without tape was the lightest rig I’ve ever touched. A player left his stick at practice and I wondered if I was wrong. A forgetful 2019 middie was using some verison of a Warrior Evo and a String King Metal shaft, presumably Metal Plus. Stunningly light in a way that reminded me of my surprise when I put my D3/MCLA hands on the Maverik Union for the first time.
For the record, the Maverik Union shaft weighs 164 grams so I was in fact incorrect.
Other noteworthy shaft weights:
Warrior Regulator Pro 168 grams
Brine Triumph Elite 152 grams
STX Stallion Sc-Ti 181 grams
STX Surgeon Sc-Ti 156 grams
Nike Vapor Elite 164 grams
Under Armour SC1X 164 grams
True Alloy SC+TI 150 grams
True Composite LZ 168 grams
Probably 900 more words about shafts than needed to be posted. Now returning to not caring about shafts as much as I care about mesh, heads, and gloves.