Like many American lacrosse players, Epoch Lacrosse (a manufacturer who makes their gear in the USA!) has made the jump from field to box, and their first major venture will be in the National Lacrosse League for 2017! I got to speak with James Miceli, the founder of Epoch, about the move as Epoch joins NLL, and Epoch’s new move into the wonderful world of box lacrosse.
Let’s dig right in!
James, thanks for sitting down with us! Let’s start out with a basic question that is burning through everyone’s mind right now: Why get into the pro box game with the NLL? What motivated Epoch to take the leap into box lacrosse in a very serious way?
Epoch believes in the vison of box lacrosse and the NLL as laid out by the new League Commissioner Nick Saliewicz and Kevin Morgan the Executive Vice President & Chief Revenue Officer. I spent many hours on the phone with Kevin getting a better understanding of where the league is going and to develop a multi-year agreement that aligned with Epoch’s Corporate Mission, Vison, and Core Values.
From a product standpoint, we are excited to see our technology and innovation being showcased in the NLL and by the best players in the world. Our passion for the game of lacrosse and to help grow it through innovation and design is what motivated us to get involved. If we are going to spend time watching YouTube video of these great players, like we do almost every Monday in season, then we might as well watch them using our gear.
What are your thoughts on the box game in general? What is its possible future here in the US?
Personally, I love the box game for all the reasons you would expect – it is fast paced, hard hitting, and lots of goals. All indications of future of box here in the US is toward growth. I also believe you will see women’s box lacrosse grow at a very rapid rate in the next couple of years.
Which types of shafts do you think will be most popular with box players? Given Epoch offers shafts with different stiffness ratings, which ones will see the most use?
Our on-going conversations with players and equipment mangers has been very interesting these past couple of weeks. We had relationships with teams and players since Epoch started and we have supplied players with products for their personal use since that time, but now that we have formalized our relationship our access to the league and team personnel has grown to a new level. We are finding players like Epoch’s carbon technology because of it resistance to bending or dinging. Some players currently go through 2-3 alloy handles per game because they simply don’t live up to the rigors of box.
In terms of FlexiQ – players who have had exposure to our technology love it, although most want a mid-flex / iQ5 vs. a soft-flex iQ9. Players who have used strictly alloy products are looking for a stiffer shaft and our current box shaft the C32B is more than sufficient with a FlexiQ 3.
Will any of the NLL players be wearing your other gear, like gloves? If so, who? Who is going to use the shafts? Is it an open deal where anyone can use them? Or is it targeted to certain players?
Yes, NLL teams and players will have access to Epoch’s Dragonfly 7 shafts, The Hawk Sequel and Prequel heads, Otter Mesh, and the Integra Protective Line of equipment which includes Gloves, Arm Guards and shoulder pads. Epoch is currently in development of box specific products such as rib pads and slash guards and will use relationships with players for feedback to assist with development in them.
Whet the readers’ beak a bit here: What is a new product from Epoch that box players should either check out now, or check out soon?
Immediately you will see a new Dragonfly Box specific shaft used by players on opening day. Our heads, mesh, gloves are all box ready today and our arm guards have been given the green light by some of the best players in the game.
How can box help field players? How can field help box players? How can BOTH games help each other? As someone who is involved now in both, do you think it makes sense to work together, or to push on separately?
Exposure to the game of lacrosse in general is going to help players become better. Each version of the game offer environments to grow specific skills and if we can find a way for box and field to complement each other in terms of timing and coaching I think the game will be better off. In the meantime, I will let smarter coaches answer this one.
Could you ever see an NCAA box lacrosse league/division/season existing? What would THAT take?
I think it would be fun – but I don’t see it happening. Too much red tape and funding required. Do we see indoor football at the NCAA level? Maybe the MCLA can get it done?
Any final thoughts on the upcoming NLL season? Got any picks for potential title winners? Maybe, a preseason MVP pick? Lay it on the line, James!
We have been so entrenched in getting the business relationship started it’s been hard to evaluate the teams on an individual level. Ryan Benesch has always been a personal favorite of mine and I would like him to add to his Man Cup with a NLL Championship and possibly a MVP too.
Thanks for the time today, James, and good luck to Epoch as they enter the world of box lacrosse. Here’s a crosscheck from us to you, with a big smile!
See below for the press release on the partnership:
PHILADELPHIA, December 13, 2016 – The National Lacrosse League (NLL), the largest men’s professional indoor lacrosse league in North America, today announced that Epoch Lacrosse, an American manufacturer of lacrosse equipment, will be an official League sponsor, providing stick heads and shafts, mesh, gloves, pads, and bags for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Epoch products will be distributed to all nine NLL teams in the US and Canada.
“The National Lacrosse League is the ideal marketing platform for us to generate awareness for our recently launched Integra Protective Line of equipment and will also help us grow our brand in all aspects of the game,” said James Miceli, principal and founder of Epoch Lacrosse. “I can’t think of a better environment to showcase the technology and innovation of all of our products and to gather real world feedback from some of the best players in the world for future advancements.”
NLL teams and players will have access to Epoch’s Dragonfly 7 shafts, The Hawk Sequel and Prequel heads, Otter Mesh and Integra Protective Line of equipment. Epoch takes great pride in the fact that their engineers have all played lacrosse and understand what box players are looking for in their equipment. All of Epoch’s products incorporate some of the most technologically superior materials available in order to deliver products that increase playability and maximize performance.
“In the same way that the NLL is taking on digital, mobile and streaming entertainment platforms to engage the future of sports viewing, Epoch Lacrosse is engineering gear that enables players to play the game on the next level,” said Nick Sakiewicz, Commissioner of the National Lacrosse League. “It is essential that we partner with a manufacturer so fervently involved in the research and design process to ultimately produce equipment suitable for athletes at this caliber.”
Epoch’s factory and development center is located in Roseville, Minnesota and all materials are manufactured the USA.
To stay connected to your team, the latest scores and developments in the National Lacrosse League, please visit: https://twitter.com/NLL.
About the National Lacrosse League
The National Lacrosse League (NLL) is North America’s premier professional indoor lacrosse league. Founded in 1986, the NLL ranks third in average attendance for pro indoor sports worldwide, behind only the NHL and NBA. The League is comprised of nine franchises across the United States and Canada: Buffalo Bandits, Calgary Roughnecks, Colorado Mammoth, Georgia Swarm, New England Black Wolves, Rochester Knighthawks, Saskatchewan Rush, Toronto Rock and Vancouver Stealth. The 2017 NLL regular season, commemorating the League’s 31st year, opens on Thursday, December 29 when the Rochester Knighthawks take on the Toronto Rock at Blue Cross Arena. For more information, visit NLL.com and find the NLL on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
About Epoch Lacrosse
Epoch Lacrosse is a design and engineering company that manufactures the finest lacrosse equipment designed to increase playability and maximize performance by utilizing world-class materials and manufacturing techniques. Epoch tests and re-tests each of its designs to ensure optimal durability, playability and performance. Epoch’s goal is simple, to give players every opportunity to reach their true potential. Live. Play. Be. Visit www.EpochLacrosse.com to learn more about Epoch Lacrosse and its products. You can also follow Epoch on Twitter @epochlax and check out their blog at https://www.LivePlayBe.com.