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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Equipment Poll Results

Last month I posted a couple of polls in response to some major happenings in the lacrosse world. Adidas officially became the gear suppliers for Notre Dame and Bucknell, and Easton formally entered the lacrosse equipment business. I've been meaning to get the results posted (and get the dead polls off the page), but there has been so much happening with the 2010 Box Lacrosse League and equipment reviews (not to mention hockey and my killer work schedule) that I really have not had much of a chance.
So without further ado, here are the results:

Although this sample is small, the majority of respondents approve of Notre Dame's move to Adidas equipment. The Irish had a breakout season this year with an overtime loss in the national championship game and have long been a flagship institution for Adidas apparel. With their profile raised thanks to the spectacular coverage of the NCAA finals, the Irish will serve as a marquee client for the lacrosse division as well. As the de facto team for many fans in non traditional areas, this move will push Adidas closer to the forefront of many of these laxers' minds.

The Bucknell poll is intriguing because very few of my readers are familiar with the Bison. Once again, the overall consensus is approval for the switch, but I suspect it is for a different reason than Notre Dame. Whereas supplying the Irish raises the profile of Adidas Lacrosse, the Bison's move surely benefits Bucknell. The publicity surrounding the switch might have impacted Bucknell's profile and made more laxers aware of their program. Nearly every major lacrosse blog and periodical featured the move, which came shortly after the Notre Dame announcement. Associating with such a renown brand as Adidas may pay dividends with recruits from non traditional areas...

This poll was unfairly loaded since Easton is technically the only new member of this party. Adidas and Reebok are both on their third generation of equipment. Nike is merely a rebranded STX product (and nearing its third generation as well). Very little, if anything, is expected to change with Maverik now that Kohlberg is running the show. And New Balance has done little more than increase the capital of two of the biggest lax brands - although the new Warrior cleat and shoe lines are amazing.
Given Easton's long history of high quality products in sports as varied as ice hockey, baseball, and archery, it comes as no surprise that players are looking forward to seeing their lax line. Early pictures look promising and the helmet has a lot of potential. Whether or not their lax gear lives up to the reputation remains to be seen...
The high response for Adidas is fairly surprising considering their early failures. Apparently their turn around starting with last year's John Grant Jr line and continuing through this year's 111/211/311 line is convincing people to give them a second chance. Having sampled part of this line, I have to say that the quality is light years ahead of their initial line.
To me, the Nike and New Balance votes represent the "old school" laxers that prefer the smaller "traditional" lacrosse companies. Despite the pockets of Nike and New Balance, we are essentially talking about STX, Warrior, and Brine equipment. For some people, there is no alternative.
I am simply at a loss with Reebok. Their gloves might be the best in the history of the game and the new 10k line looks even better than anything they've put out to date. Of course, they have been around for a few years and have great exposure as the supplier of the National Lacrosse League. Perhaps this longevity just removes the excitement from the brand... Then again, most of their shafts are not up to the quality of their competitors' from my experience.

Tribe 7