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It’s In The Blood: Powell Lacrosse Sticks Release Worldwide

One of the biggest names in lacrosse just launched his own equipment company, and his younger brother has joined his team to lead design. Powell Lacrosse Sticks, founded by Ryan Powell, now offers a full slate of products at PowellLacrosse.com. Find out why Ryan started the company and learn more about the new Powell Lacrosse gear.

Powell Lacrosse Sticks[mks_dropcap style=”rounded” size=”42″ bg_color=”#134a9a” txt_color=”#e8e8e8″]O[/mks_dropcap]ne of the biggest names in lacrosse just launched his own equipment company, and his younger brother has joined his team to lead design. Powell Lacrosse Sticks, founded by Ryan Powell, now offers a full slate of products at PowellLacrosse.com.

In lacrosse, the name Powell has been synonymous with record-breaking and winning ever since the mid 1990’s. Over the course of a decade, brothers Casey (’98), Ryan (’00), and Mikey (’04) went on a tear through Syracuse University and NCAA Division I lacrosse that ended beyond the outer limits of legendary. Collectively, the accomplishments they achieved as a family will never be forgotten, and it’s likely nobody will ever do the same.

But our story begins long before any of the Powell‘s lacrosse stardom ever existed.

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Powell Lacrosse, Established 1987

I have to believe it has much to do with the game’s history that subconsciously makes us view a stick less as an object and more of an extension of ourselves.

RP as a kid. No offset sticks back then!
RP as a kid. No offset sticks back then!
It was during the school year of 1987 when Ryan and his older brother Casey – and inevitably, Mike – discovered the game of lacrosse. After hearing Casey and Ryan enthusiastically discuss the sport, Larry Powell, the boys’ father, took his prized shotgun out of the gun closet and sold it for $80. He used the money to buy two lacrosse sticks.

The two oldest Powell brothers received the sticks as gifts, but it’s not like that was going to stop little Mikey. It didn’t take long for the boys’ interest in lacrosse product development to begin.

With his eye for aesthetics and habit of thinking outside the box, Mike fell quickly into the ether of stringing, dying, and using the game as a genuine outlet for his creativity. In a recent interview with Mike, he reminisced about his discovery of the game:

“The relationship between a player and his stick is something that I have always found fascinating. I can remember taking hundreds of sticks apart in my Father’s woodshop as a kid. I would have five gallon pails going with Rit, ready to color my head and sidewalls.

I would tape off my shaft and use automotive paint to create designs along the octagon. And then of course I would go play and play and play. I have to believe it has much to do with the games history that subconsciously makes us view a stick less as an object and more of an extension of ourselves.”

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The Legacy The Powells Have Built

Following extraordinary college careers, their talents led them straight to being the biggest names in Major League Lacrosse and navigating the reality of being professional lacrosse players. Casey and Ryan originally signed with Warrior right out of college and Mike with Brine.

Casey, the eldest brother, might have the most hardware by now. He blazed the trail through Syracuse, breaking records, earning All-America honors, and becoming National Player of the Year two times. An MLL and NLL All-Star multiple times in his career, Casey’s still charging hard in the MLL today; he even won the MVP award last season at the age of 38. I for one hope he never stops playing.

Casey has coached club and high school lacrosse successfully for years, and he currently resides in Florida. Widely known as one of the greatest ambassadors for our game, he recently launched the World Lacrosse Foundation.

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Ryan was a four-time NCAA DI All-American for the Syracuse Orange, an All-Star in both the indoor and outdoor leagues, and he was selected as the MLL’s Most Valuable Player twice. He led Team USA to a World Championship as captain of the squad in 2010.

In 2005, Ryan’s playing career led him to signing with the Portland Lumberjax, an NLL expansion team, as franchise player. He became the first endorsed Nike Lacrosse athlete that same year and started his own instructional company, Rhino Lacrosse. Rhino’s camps, leagues, and coaching instruction have served as a catalyst to the growth of lacrosse in Portland and the State of Oregon over the past decade.

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Turning down a 3-year extension with Nike shortly after retiring from professional lacrosse in 2013, Ryan chose to dedicate 100% of his time and attention to his own lacrosse brands. His experience at Nike had catered to his interests in marketing and product engineering, specifically when it came to designing lacrosse heads – a process he’d always enjoyed being a part of ever since his first year with Warrior. Throughout the years, he’d always dreamt of creating a new kind of lacrosse equipment company, and by 2013 his desire to take action was real.

Rhino has grown to host instructional summer camps and destination-style tournaments throughout the United States. The company recently completed another step in expansion by establishing permanent year-round presences in Montana and New York State. Ryan also sits on the board of Lacrosse All Stars and our parent company, Red Label Sports, where he serves as a key strategic advisor to our operations. I am lucky to call Ryan my greatest mentor and a close friend.

Mike, a two-time Tewaaraton Award winner (2002 and 2004) and the youngest of the trio, played professionally until 2008. Selected to the All-World Team in 2006 as leading scorer for the US National Team, Mike was the most electrifying player in the game at the time of his exit. Many of those who watched him or played with him refer to him as the greatest of all time to this day.

Over the past decade, Mike has recorded several albums, traveled all over America playing his music, become an accomplished furniture craftsman, and coached at his brothers’ lacrosse camps every summer. He’s also held key marketing and consulting roles at a handful of lacrosse companies, including Brine, Easton, Rhino Lacrosse, and LB3 Lacrosse. In the fall of 2012, he lived in an RV for a month with the LaxAllStars.com staff and NY Lizards’ rising star Matt Gibson as we traveled throughout the Pacific Northwest growing the game.

Fast forward to today, and it’s safe to say that every passionate lacrosse enthusiast in the world recognizes the name Powell.

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Why Start A Lacrosse Equipment Company Now?

This game needs an equipment supplier with a soul.

Powell Lacrosse Shafts
Powell‘s expansive new line of lacrosse shafts

It’s one thing to start something. But when you’re a Powell, you’re going to finish it too. That got me wondering – why now? I wanted to know if there was a strategic reasoning behind Powell Lacrosse going to market this year.

I posed the question to Ryan, and this is what he said:

“When we look at the landscape of the lacrosse industry there is an obvious need for a singularly focused lacrosse manufacturer that is about making the best, most innovative gear on the planet. This game needs an equipment supplier with a soul.

As the sport grows it becomes more and more commercialized, which is OK. I love to see the game grow, but the real frontier of lacrosse purists you see these days are in stringing. These are guys who played the game, respect the game, and are contributing to the artistry and craftsmanship of the game.”

But how will Powell position itself in the market? Ryan explained…

“Hard goods aren’t just about having great supply chains in Asia. They are about design thinking, real world knowledge and delivering products that impact play. That’s what Powell is about, the intersection of technology and tradition. The tradition of my family and everyone that came before us who loves this game and those who, as it grows, don’t want to lose the connection to artistry and history that this game was born with.

Let’s take design for example – all the great shafts we have been teasing on Instagram – Mike designed every single one of them. This is what we are about at Powell: taking all [our] years of lacrosse know-how and tradition and putting that experience into every stick we make.”

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Designing Powell Lacrosse Sticks

…the most important part of this mission is to honor and respect the past.

The Powell team opted to put an early emphasis on bringing the company’s core line of lacrosse shafts to market. With the shafts accounting for four of its five initial hard goods, the Pioneer serves as Powell‘s flagship lacrosse head. It retails for $90. Eye black and Powell lacrosse balls are also available, and a new head called the Trailblazer is coming soon.

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The Powell Gear

♦ Pioneer ($90) – Universal lacrosse head for an offensive player
♦ 1805 Limited ($70) – Aluminum alloy lacrosse shaft with extra lightweight feel
Flight 22 ($95) – Strong and light 7U1 lacrosse shaft
Mighty Black ($100) – Strong composite lacrosse shaft
Bloodline ($120) – Lacrosse shaft made from “the perfect blend” of Scandium and Titanium

More gear photos can be found on Powell‘s Instagram account.

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As mentioned by Ryan, Mike has led the charge on Powell Lacrosse branding and design. Here’s what he had to say about the new Powell lacrosse shafts, in particular:

“Many of the design features in our first line of shafts were inspired by those times I spent in the woodshop. Lots of the geometric shapes and fast angular lines that you see on the Flight 22 and Bloodline are direct pulls from that experience. At Powell, we aim to be extremely innovative on the product side while honoring and respecting the history of the game.”

Powell Lacrosse Website
PowellLacrosse.com

Retailing at $95 is the Flight 22 lacrosse shaft, the most intriguing Powell product to me from an industry point of view. Thanks to an an exclusive relationship with the supplier of 7U1, Powell Lacrosse is the first and only lacrosse equipment company to bring a shaft of the Flight 22’s quality to market below one hundred dollars.

Mike continued, “On every Powell shaft you will notice that the tops are pure white where they run into the head. When we were growing up all the shafts we used were standard white aluminum.

I thought it would be a cool way to symbolize the connection between the past and the future as well as be an identifying feature that lets you know you are using a Powell.”

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The Drive To Innovate

We’re going to push every single person who makes equipment to continue to innovate because we think the game deserves everything we have.

Flight 22 lacrosse shaft at Oregon Lacrosse Classic
Flight 22 in action at the 2015 Oregon Lacrosse Classic

There’s nobody I know in our game more driven and focused than Ryan Powell. Look no further than what he’s done at the grassroots level for years for proof of him exercising his will. The talented team at Rhino has established unprecedented results with their instructional methodologies and passion for the game.

From the very beginning of his playing career, Ryan’s role as an endorsed athlete projected him into the center of the sporting goods world. He quickly fell in love with the product development side, acquired a knack for product innovation and earned more responsibilities. I was curious to find out where Powell Lacrosse is aiming when it comes to innovating the equipment industry.

“We are going to push it. We’re going to push every single person who makes equipment to continue to innovate because we think the game deserves everything we have. If you’re going to choose Powell you will know that we put everything we know into our gear.

I have a deep respect for the game, and what I’ve learned in my time is that gear is secondary to mind and body. It isn’t about status or looking good on the field with your stick, it’s about performance and unfailing reliability. That’s what we strive for and that’s what matters to us at Powell. Performance and reliability all day.”

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22 Years From Now…

Over the past two decades, the Powell brothers have had a more significant impact on our sport and lacrosse culture than anyone else I’ve ever known. They’ve watched the game grow, they’ve made it grow, and they’ve each played an integral part in speeding up the pace.

Powell Lacrosse Stick

The official launch of the PowellLacrosse.com kicks off a whole new chapter in the legacy of the Powells, and I can’t help but daydream of where they could go from here.

There are few people in the world as creatively inclined as Mike Powell, and he executes with a level of finesse that’s almost obscene. Meanwhile Ryan, the visionary behind Powell Lacrosse Sticks, is a workhorse, a sponge, and a finisher. His knowledge of the mechanics and fundamentals of our game draw many parallels with that of his former coach, John Desko.

Together, Ryan and Mike share a drive, expertise, and passion for the game that might as well be in their blood. Not to mention they’re both the kind of guys who hit the bullseye in darts every time. As the two of them join forces under the banner of their own last name, I know I’m not the only one dying to see where the Powell‘s next twenty-two years of innovating the game will lead.

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