By Chris Goldberg
TopLaxRecruits.com, Posted 11/29/16
Founder James Miceli said his talented team at Epoch Lacrosse realized several years ago that the up-and-coming gear company could compete successfully in the lacrosse markets beyond shafts and mesh.
“It goes back to 3 years ago,” said Miceli. “At a certain point and time as a startup you look in the mirror and and say, ‘OK this is working.’
“We asked, ‘What do we do now?’ One of the nice things about being a startup is that you can pivot if something comes available. There is no bureaucracy there, no urgency. We are pretty flexible. We made shafts and Otter mesh and things worked out. We looked at the market and realized we could compete at every single level of the market from head to toe.”
On Friday, Epoch, based in Minnesota, made a bold statement by introducing its revolutionary Integra Protective Line of gloves, arm pads and shoulder pads. All three products feature Epoch’s groundbreaking Phase Change Technology, Flexible Carbon Fiber and Tri-Layer Dual Density Foam Stack, just to name a few.
The Integra Protective Line, which is available at your favorite Epoch authorized retailer and online partners, is poised to become the new benchmark for the lacrosse equipment world – according to Miceli and his team.
“We sat down 3 years ago and created a 20-20 vision,” said Miceli. “We put together a business plan and asked, ‘What revenues do we need? How many people do we need? What working space do we need? What is our capital and how many employees do we need? What is it going to take to grow our business and be a leader in the market?’
“It took us 9 months, start to finish, to create the vision of what a lacrosse player in 2020 should look like. We took our internal talent, external talent and all our resources and spent days sitting in rooms including Saturdays and Sundays brainstorming what the tech should look like.
“We came out of the meeting – and this is what we created using a rendering of a 3D model of this player; with all his gear. We used that vision as a guiding principal. Out of that 20-20 vision, this Integra series launched last week and it echoes the spirit of technology, thoughtfulness and attention to details that is found in the Integara lineup. They are all creative products.”
Epoch’s Phase Change Technology used in the Integra Protective Line of gloves, arm pads and shoulder pads is used in the construction of all three products. Epoch’s engineers sourced this high performance textile from the aerospace industry where it has been used with great success lining the space suits of astronauts to regulate their body temperatures.
Phase Change Technology is engineered to absorb, store and release heat for optimal thermal comfort and moisture control. The new Phase Change Technology used in Epoch’s Integra gloves, arm guards and shoulder pads senses your body heat and reacts accordingly.
Micro crystals within the material (which are always at a consistent room temperature) absorb and melt (similar to an ice cube) when you sweat to cool you down. When you get cold, the Micro crystals then turn to a solid, contract and form a shield to preserve your body heat and warm you up.
Miceli said it simply: “We care about lacrosse and that authentic shows in our product.”
Carbitex is the second of three unique materials Epoch’s engineers incorporated into the design of its Integra Protective Line of equipment. Carbitex, is a non-rigid stabilized carbon fiber that is an extremely lightweight and “flexible” carbon fiber that has improved impact protection and is also resistant to abrasions.
Epoch’s engineers incorporated Carbitex into the design of its glove utilizing it to protect the thumb and back of the hand. Carbitex is also used in other high impact areas such as the elbow caps of the arm pads and the bicep pads on the Integra Shoulder Pads.
Miceli is anxious to compete against the largest suppliers of pads and gloves and said his retailers have provided feedback to suggest Epoch’s equipment can meet the challebge.
“To give you an indication of how the industry works, retailers played a large part,” said Miceli. “They are sometimes pressured to carry certain good by larger companies.
“For instance, brand X says, ‘If you want to have this head you need to buy X amount of these shafts’. Let’s say a retailer bought 50 of our shafts and when we checked back they say they sold 40. But they might say they can’t buy more because they have a bunch of shafts from the large company still on the shelves that the other vendor forced them to buy. Our road was being stymied despite having a superior product because retailers were required to buy them.
“We like the fact that retailers no longer have to dictate business on larger brands. This is a watershed moment for retailers not being controlled.”
Epoch’s new gloves and pads will impress customers with their fit, comfort, flexibility, durability and control, Miceli says
“We wanted something that fit more like a golf glove than a hockey glove,” said Miceli. “Control and feel of your stick is vital to the success of any lacrosse player. Our goal was to create a glove that feels like it isn’t even there.”
Players also made it clear that they wanted gloves with a cuff that moved with their style of play while also being protective. Up until now gloves have had big/bulky cuffs that either reduced the movement of your wrist, or were so small that they offered little to no protection.
Epoch’s engineers took a unique approach and extended the cuff allowing the protective portion to remain out of the way when you flex your wrist (great for face-off guys), improving your range of motion while also providing you with the comfort you desire. The Integra gloves also feature a removable cuff strap so players can custom tailor the fit of their gloves to match the style of their play.
Every finite detail of the Integra glove was carefully considered, including the thumb. Epoch’s engineers reinforced the suede on the Integra’s thumb with TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) providing an extra layer of protection against wear and tear without sacrificing the overall feel and control of the glove.
Epoch’s Integra Arm Pads, Arm Guards and Elbow Caps are also going to raise the bar as we know it for protection and comfort. Epoch’s engineers used dual density compression molded foam to reduce the amount of stitching needed to improve flexibility and movement.
Epoch engineered the Integra Arm Guard with a two-piece 4-way stretch spandex, 1” elastic bands, and unique internal silicone print (Live. Play. Be.) to reduce slippage and reinforced them with TPU for unparalleled fit and protection.
The Integra Arm Guards also feature a “Sandwich” strapping system on the bicep and forearm. The Sandwich strapping system virtually eliminates pad slippage while allowing for a customized fit and added protection. Epoch also reinforced the hard shell elbow cap with carbon fiber for the ultimate in protection, lightness and maneuverability. Defenseman will also appreciate the Integra Elbow Caps for their minimal bulk design and unparalleled protection.
Epoch’s Integra Shoulder Pads with their Compression Molded Dual Density Foam and Quick Release Front Protection Straps for easy AED (Automated External Defibrillator) access are as minimal and protective as you get.
Epoch’s engineers designed the new Integra shoulder pads with removable carbon fiber bicep pads and large Velcro islands for effective fit and adjustment. Protecting players and keeping them safe during practices and games is also extremely important to everyone at Epoch.
Parents can rest assure that if in the rare event your son is hit in the chest and suffers a life-threatening cardiac arrhythmia, a ventricular fibrillation or a ventricular tachycardia, Epoch’s Integra Shoulder Pads are designed with quick release front protection straps for easy AED (Automated External Defibrillator) access.
“We take great pride in designing and manufacturing lacrosse equipment that pushes the technological envelope with every product,” says Miceli. “We are confident our Integra Protective Line of equipment will become the new gold standard for the lacrosse equipment industry.”
Live. Play. Be.
About Epoch Lacrosse
Epoch Lacrosse is a design and engineering company that manufactures the finest lacrosse equipment designed to increase playability and maximize performance by utilizing world-class materials and manufacturing techniques. Epoch tests and re-tests each of its designs to ensure optimal durability, playability and performance. Epoch’s goal is simple, to give players every opportunity to reach their true potential. Live. Play. Be.
Visit www.EpochLacrosse.com to learn more about Epoch Lacrosse and its products.
Follow Epoch on Twitter @epochlax and check out their blog at http://www.LivePlayBe.com