Carbon Copy: The Carbon-Fiber Revolution Has Arrived

This article appears in the December edition of US Lacrosse Magazine. Join US Lacrosse today to start your subscription.

Fourteen years ago, Warrior Sports capitalized on its position as the foremost equipment manufacturer in lacrosse to launch a hockey division. Now the company is using its learned hockey expertise to revolutionize its lacrosse line.

Warrior, founded in 1992 with its invention of the titanium lacrosse shaft, saw its share of the hockey market escalate recently with the introduction of its carbon-fiber technology. Nearly one-third of NHL players are using Warrior sticks this season.

The company’s founding premise — to develop lightweight but durable lacrosse products to optimize performance — has not changed. But the sport has become faster and more specialized. Players want sticks that yield different performance benefits.

Recognizing that a growing number of players are no longer using alloys, Warrior has created a full line of carbon-fiber lacrosse shafts.

“Trends in the marketplace show us that about 50 percent of players are now using carbon-fiber shafts, and that number continues to grow,” said Billy Binge, senior category manager at Warrior Sports. “Utilizing our learnings from hockey and our understanding of the lacrosse athlete, we have been able to create a line of carbon-fiber shafts that we feel are the best in the industry.”

Warrior owns a factory that specializes in carbon fiber. Its Minimus Carbon technology features a flat-weave design that makes use of the negative spaces between fibers, which reduces weight even while it increases stiffness and strength.

The Burn Pro Carbon and Evo Pro Carbon each weigh about 125 grams, making them some of the lightest shafts Warrior has ever produced. Both are made for midfield/attack athletes. The Burn Pro Carbon was engineered with more flex to create more shot power for outside shooting attackmen or midfielders. The Evo Pro Carbon has a stiffer flex profile, designed for players looking for a quicker release and accuracy. 

In addition, Warrior has a carbon-fiber offering for defensive players with a 60-inch shaft that weighs approximately 340 grams. The shaft provides flex to throw takeaway checks while still holding up to the beatings that defensive sticks take.

Minimus Carbon technology is another example of Warrior’s passion for innovation. Starting with offering the first-ever titanium shaft, Warrior has continued to push the boundaries to bring the best and most technologically advanced products to the game of lacrosse.


The Miracle Material

Warrior Sports, which built its reputation as a lacrosse industry leader with titanium and various metal alloys, now offers more handles made of carbon fiber than any other substance.

Stronger than steel and a fraction of the weight, carbon fiber is a composite material mostly known for its application in race cars and aircraft. But it’s fast becoming the standard in sports equipment manufacturing.

What It Is  

Carbon fiber consists of thin filaments of carbon atoms bound together with plastic polymer resin using heat. The strength of carbon fiber is in the weave. Warrior credits its superior material knowledge and precise lay-up engineering for the success of it has seen with composite handles in hockey. 

How It’s Made  

The most common carbon-fiber precursor — the raw material used to make carbon fibers — is poly acrylonitrile (or PAN). Typically, there are five steps to the manufacturing process.

1. Spinning. PAN is mixed with other ingredients and spun into fibers, which are washed and stretched.

2. Stabilizing. Chemical alteration to stabilize bonding.

3. Carbonizing. Stabilized fibers are heated to form carbon crystals.

4. Oxidizing. The surface of the fibers are treated to strengthen the bond.

5. Weaving. The fibers are spooled in cylinders and woven into fabrics.


Carbon-Fiber Benefits  

Weight. Warrior’s carbon-fiber attack and midfield shafts weigh 125 grams, or 0.275 pounds.

Durability. The tensile strength and temperature resistance of carbon fiber means your composite shaft will last longer.

Grip. No tape needed.

Flex appeal. Carbon-fiber shafts can bend and snap back into place, adding velocity to your shot.

Did You Know?

Thomas Edison made carbon fibers out of bamboo and cotton, using them as filaments in light bulbs.

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