A common misconception is that one form of lacrosse came from the another. There are multiple distinct variations of the game played, in different geographical areas, with various forms of lacrosse sticks.
Today, we’ll look at just three types of lacrosse sticks and how they were used across North America. Luckily for us, we have historians of the game, like Jim Calder, to keep this history alive and pass it down from generation to generation.
The Long Stick has been prominently used in the northeastern corner of the United States, along with Canada. The head and shaft were usually made from hickory, while the pockets were made of wood chuck or deer hide.
These are the lacrosse sticks that the modern versions have been based on. These full length sticks feature wide heads, deepened pockets, and traditional stringing elements that we still see in the game today.
Great Lakes Stick
The Great Lakes stick was used from Michigan to Minnesota. Nations like the Ojibwe and Potawatomi played with this style stick, and even played in the winters on the ice in Minnesota.
These lacrosse sticks are still all but extinct. Players in the Great Lakes region continue to play with this style in everything from pick-up games to historical recreations, and beyond. The pocket is shallow and made of just three crossing leathers, knotted in the middle, with different tapers to the shaft.
Two Sticks lacrosse was played mostly in the American Southeast. These are known to have been used by the Seminole and Choctaw Nations in Oklahoma, Minnesota, Florida, North Carolina, and Georgia.
In these areas, single post goals were also used. Despite this, the rule of never using your hands is universal in lacrosse. Across many variations, players had to drop both sticks completely to the ground before attempting to “tackle” the ball carrier.
Like the Great Lakes sticks, these are all still used, primarily by the Nations that made developed them. A version of the Two Stick style of lacrosse even made itself popular in the Czech Republic, starting decades ago.