Hero Lacrosse designs new product for beginners

Hero Lacrosse designs new product for beginners

Hero Lacrosse, a Lincoln-based company, has reinvented the lacrosse stick pocket, a move the company’s owners hope will help new players break in their gear much faster. Rather than using string wound tightly together, Andrew Szurley, co-owner of Hero Lacrosse, says the company’s creation is a soft mold that doesn’t require the same stringing process for novices.

LINCOLN – One local lacrosse company is keeping beginner players in mind with its latest product that caters to novices.

Co-founder of Hero Lacrosse LLC, Andrew Szurley, of Lincoln, says the Phenix M1 addresses one of the “major hurdles” of getting into the sport, with a pre-molded lacrosse stick pocket that eliminates the “break-in” stage.

“It’s like getting something that’s broken in that’s going to work, versus something that you have to spend a lot of time and effort to break in,” explains Szurley, a former lacrosse player and coach himself.

The pocket is made of soft material, he said, a huge difference from mesh pockets that are laced tightly together. Gear offered in most retail stores for beginners, Szurley said, are strung in an “assembly-like fashion,” lacking attention to detail that allows newcomers to pick up a stick for the first time and easily pass and catch the ball. Instead, Szurley said, players end up spending lots of time researching how to make the pocket work for them.

Unless athletes have a parent, sibling or friend who’s played the sport, Szurley said, “You’re kind of left to your own devices to figure it out.”

The Lincoln resident played lacrosse at Rochester Institute of Technology, where he graduated with bachelor’s degrees in illustration and graphic design. He later picked up coaching, and directed Northern Rhode Island teams as well as Moses Brown and women’s teams at Brown University and Johnson & Wales University.

After teaming up with mechanical engineer Van Hiles, his business partner based in Louisiana, Szurley officially launched Hero Lacrosse in 2013 and announced the Phenix mold at the end of 2016.

Szurley said only one other company is creating a mold like the Phenix currently, but the price stands at about $250. Hero’s product is retailing online for $45.

“It makes the product more affordable to the mom and the dad,” he said, and explained that Hero Lacrosse will showcase the product to key retailers at an upcoming convention in Baltimore.

He said the company is currently selling its products just online, but Hero plans to expand and offer them through smaller, “mom and pop” stores nationally. The Phenix, he said, was developed with Stallman Co. manufacturing in Providence.

Szurley brings his coaching and playing experience to the Lincoln-based company, but also his graphic design background. He worked for the former JDK design company in Vermont in the 1990s, a business that did work for Burton Snowboards, Converse and other athletic brands, and Szurley later helped with the re-branding of STX, a sporting equipment manufacturer based in Baltimore.

A few years ago, when Hero Lacrosse formed, Szurley said, he wanted its products to stand out.

“There have been no companies that have started, to date, with the beginner in mind. Most of the companies out there are looking at a top-down strategy,” he told The Breeze.

Hoping to put an end to that, he said, the home-based business kicked off. The name for the company, he said, stems from what happens when kids pick up the stick and join a team.

“They are becoming on-field heroes,” he said.

The Phenix is a product Szurley hopes makes everyone’s job easier, including the coaches who see new players get discouraged when attempting to learn techniques with their sticks and improving their game.

It’s lacrosse gear, he said, that can help boost children’s confidence and knock down barriers new players face.

“We’re glad our product is part of that solution,” he said.

Lacrosse is a sport Szurley wants more people to experience, a sport that has taught him about life both on and off the field. It’s referred to as the “fastest sport on two feet,” he said, combining skills used in soccer, basketball and hockey, and it’s a sport that creates a bond and spirit among teammates.

For more information about Hero Lacrosse, visit www.herolacrosse.com or call 401-241-4403.

“We’re a small, motivated start-up company that wants to grow the sport of lacrosse from the tiniest state in the union. We’re ready to take on the nation and the world if we can,” Szurley said.