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While early adopters lauded the Warp’s consistency — it performed the same way, regardless of weather or wear — disbelievers doubted it could replicate a handcrafted pocket. Still, Warrior believes strongly in this technology’s potential to grow the game by eradicating frustrating variables with sticks bought off the shelf.

“One thing that rang true throughout the heaviest skeptics and biggest supporters is that it’s the perfect teaching tool” said Owen Murtagh, brand manager of Warrior Sports at New Balance. Enter the Evo Warp Next. Designed for developing players, it features the same face shape and sidewall as the original Warp, a mid-pocket made of the same thermoplastic polymer and a friendly price point just south of $100 (including handle). “In our Denver Elite program, we have hundreds of kids who play box and field, every kid’s stick you grab is a little bit different,” said Matt Brown, associate head coach at the University of Denver. “To be honest, I can’t even throw with them.”

Brown, who strung his own sticks as a player, likened the Warp pocket technology to the one-piece sticks with preset curved


How the Warrior Evo Warp Next will help grow the game BY MATT DASILVA



that have become


popular in hockey. “I remember

sitting in my parents’ kitchen over the elements of the stove, heating up the blade and then bending the blade the way I wanted it to be. You never got the same bend,” Brown said. “Now look where hockey’s going. The skill of the game has elevated significantly.” Both Brown and recently retired MLL legend Casey Powell, a Warrior brand ambassador, have daughters who use it for fun or in emerging girls’ box lacrosse leagues. “There are no

The Warrior Evo Warp was the talk of lacrosse gearheads in 2016. Not all of the chatter was positive. With its pre-strung, Kevlar-bonded pockets made of water-resistant polypropylene, the Warp put stick doctors and the sport’s subculture of stringers on notice: Nylon mesh, which supplanted traditional leather as the prevailing lacrosse pocket material in the 1980s, would one day join its predecessor as the matter of hobbyists.

inconsistencies,” Powell said. “They always know where the ball is going to go. The fit is perfect for the developing lacrosse player.” Warrior plans to release a junior version of the stick — with a wide face shape for improved playing experience — for players age 10 and under this summer. Moreover, parents of first-generation lacrosse players will benefit from the Warp’s consistency, Murtagh said. As for the original Warp,

Warrior expects to unveil a new model in April, with two additional elite-level heads launching later in the year. The company currently is testing the new products with its Warrior Pro athletes in the NLL. The technology has been particularly popular among box players, who rely on accuracy and consistency, rather than velocity. “Someone can untie a string and your stick can be completely useless,” Murtagh said. “The best athletes in the world are relying on a piece of equipment that isn’t consistent. When was the last time you saw Tiger Woods walking down the fairway adjusting his 7-iron or putter?” Warrior recently struck a four-year partnership with

US Lacrosse as an official equipment supplier to the U.S. men’s teams. The two organizations also will work more closely on grassroots growth initiatives. “We’ve seen double- digit growth over the last decade, and that’s starting to slow now,” Murtagh said. “Partnering with US Lacrosse allows us to provide the means and tools for anyone to be able to pick up the sport.” USL

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