Wooden lacrosse sticks are a huge part of my collection and I strongly suggest that all lacrosse players should own one. I really feel that once you hold a wooden stick you have a greater respect for the game and the historical significance of lacrosse.
There's a huge number of wooden sticks in my collection, I actually stopped counting them a long time ago but I would be surprised if it's anything less then 100. The first one I picked up was in a trade with an Iroquois player in the 2006 World Championships. The Iroquois national team is now named Haudenosaunee, but it was owned by Lewis Mitchell. Unlike most wooden sticks this one was strung with a mesh pocket. A couple of years later I picked up another wooden stick, then boom I seemed to have scores of them.
Within the plethora of old woodies that have graced every wall of our office area there are a good number of extremally rare sticks. How can you tell if a stick is rare or of any value? Well, having started my collection of old sticks I thought it was about time to buy this book by Michael Radecki.
The book An Obsessed Lacrosse Stick Collector by Michael Radecki was a big help in the beginning, as it happens I now own some of the actual sticks that feature in this book having bought some from Michael's own collection. I can safely say that this book fueled my own obsession for collecting wooden lacrosse sticks.
It's incredible difficult to shortlist a few sticks as favorites but if pressed to do so then, I feel that to pick 3 means I get to pick 6. Ok, hear me out on this, 3 antique sticks and 3 more modern wooden sticks.
1. THE SPALDING
Although it's stamped "The Spalding" it is highly likely that this stick was made by Lally's for Spalding & Bros. I'd say that this stick is from around 1890 given the shape and dimensions of the stick. For it's age it really is in remarkable condition, you can almost picture it being used in this second photo.
2. A. N. DICAIRE
As mentioned in the video I was not aware of the fact this stick had a makers mark on it at the time of purchase. It did have a very unusual feature or two that really caught my eye, the strangest thing being the use of gut beneath the scoop. When this stick arrived at the store it was caked in dirt and I thought I'd just give it a wash over to see if there was any marks on it to give a clue as to who made it. With a gentle clean I thought I could see a letter or two, some more cleaning up and low and behold it it have a makers mark! MADE BY A.N. DICAIRE OKA, P.Q
3. LALLY'S BOX SPECIAL 5 STRING
There's a few reasons this stick is so rare, it's old for a start but despite it's age it is really in fantastic shape. It's the first time I've seen this "Made Expressly for A. G Spalding & Bros" stamped on a stick, but as Lallys Lacrosse Sticks have been prominently featured and advertised for sale in Spalding & Bros sporting equipment catalogs beginning in the late 1890's through the 1930's, it would not be a surprise to find that Spalding did have their own line made by the Lallys. I've been collecting wooden sticks for a good few years and although I've seen a photos of Lally's Box Special sticks this is the only 5 string one that I've come across.
With so many great sticks in the collection it's been extremally difficult to narrow it down to 3 more modern wooden sticks to showcase. But here goes...
1) ALF JACQUES
If you collect wooden sticks on the top of the list of sticks you love or want to own is a stick made by Alf Jacques. I've been lucky enough to meet Alf on a number of occasions now and own 2 sticks made by him, he truly is a amazing craftsman. Alf learned the traditional art of lacrosse stick making from his father, the late master lacrosse carver, Lou Jacques, who taught Alf at age twelve to carve and string lacrosse sticks.
2) TRAVIS GABRIEL
Travis “Tionatakwente” Gabriel has produced 3 of the sticks in my collection, and all of which are amazing but the full bend has to be my favorite. Very few people produce full bends, and I imagine there are a number of breakages from the full bend and the balance on this stick it is a work of art. Interesting fact, Travis is a self-taught stick maker, when Matthew Etienne passed away there wasn't a stick maker left in that community. Travis cut down an ash tree on his property and began his journey by trial and error.
3) MATTHEW ETIENNE
Ok, I said 3 vintage and 3 more modern sticks but I have a 2 for 1 here. I was extremally lucky to come by some unused Etienne sticks that I strung as a father and son project for myself and my little boy Casey. These sticks came out amazingly well and I can't wait for the day Casey is old enough to throw a ball around with his old man.