Editor’s Note: The Lax All Stars Fireside Chat series gives you an opportunity to get to know the most influential people and players all lacrosse America. From coast to coast, LAS has been chatting fireside to give you an insider’s perspective on all sorts of topics throughout the lacrosse world.
Make sure to check out our full Gear Showcase on the mesh to find out more. The StringKing Lacrosse are a pretty sweet new product to the lacrosse world and they recently even inked a deal with Yale and got all of their players to start using their performance mesh. With a looming Gear Review in the upcoming weeks, a brand new website, an offering in several stores nationwide, they are well on there way to mesh success across America. We wanted to sit down with one of StringKing’s main men, Kevin Clopeck, to find out more about StringKing Lacrosse and what their product is all about.
Sweet Sweet Lax: Why Yale?
Kevin Clopeck: Yale is a program we’ve always had a deep connection with. One of our co-founders, Luke Aronson, played there and the rest of us would visit all the time. We actually got to know the players and staff pretty well. Coach Shay was one of the first guy’s we contacted once the mesh was produced. We truly respect his opinion and believe the Bulldogs have some of the smartest players in the game. Yale is also a team on the rise! They won the Ivy last year and made the NCAA Tournament (before that they hadn’t made it since 1992). They are currently ranked 2nd in the Ivy and 12th in the country. They are in the perfect position to make another run!
We also truly stand by our mesh and wanted our favorite team to be the first to reap the benefits of it’s performance. We know their passes and shots are more consistent using our mesh than any other available and we let them find out for themselves. They had players use samples for a few practices and they raved about it! Coach Shay took note and didn’t hesitate to place an order for the entire team.
Jake McCampbell, co-founder, also had the guys at Bowdoin using prototypes of our mesh and pockets over the past two seasons. Jake was a volunteer assistant coach at Bowdoin last season while developing the mesh and pockets so he was able to get a lot of helpful feedback from them.
Did you want to start with a New England team because of weather?
Not necessarily, but it certainly didn’t hurt. Having grown up in Massachusetts ourselves, we know all about the ridiculously random weather patterns of New England, it’s one of the main reasons we wanted to develop a true all weather performance mesh. Given the conditions that Yale play’s in on a daily basis we knew they would be best prepared using our mesh over any other.
Has Yale played in any severe weather games yet?
They practice in different weather conditions almost everyday. The condition of their pockets day in and day out after each practice is what led the players and coaches to commit to StringKing.
Are there colors in use outside of white?
We offer colored strings (with custom plastic tips for increased stringing ease) in Yellow, Orange, Red, Navy Blue, Carolina Blue, Green, Black, and White. As of now we only offer our mesh in White to ensure we keep our quality as high as possible and our manufacturing consistent. There are some technical reasons that make it hard to consistently manufacture high-quality colored lacrosse mesh. You can see this first hand if you go to your local lacrosse store and look the colored mesh. There is a large variation in quality and diamond size from piece to piece.
Any other programs on your radar?
We’ve had several players contact us from some major D1 programs including John Hopkins, Notre Dame, Virginia, Ohio State, Maryland, Syracuse, Michigan, UNC, and UMass. They have players using our mesh and raving about the product. On the D3 side we have players at Bowdoin, Tufts, Amherst, Bates, and Washington and Lee using StringKing. There are some guys at St. Michael’s using StringKing as well. The reviews have been stellar and we are in the process of getting each team to fully make the switch. We are also focusing on getting our mesh and pockets into the hands of youth players all over the country. Progressing the sport of lacrosse is something we are passionate about and it starts with the youth. We want younger players to have a reliable pocket so they can trust their sticks, focus on the game, and improve as lacrosse players.
What brick and mortar stores is StringKing available in?
As of today we are available in every ComLax (currently 14 stores but soon to be 18 around New England, NJ, PA, NY), Total Lacrosse (MO, IL), Tribal West (UT), VooDoo Lacrosse (DE), and Lax Pros (ME). We also just sent out our first order to Adrenaline today so StringKing will be available in their stores shortly.
What’s the difference between the L1, M1, H1, and the Pro series mesh?
The answer here is actually a lot deeper than it may seem. We use the same piece of Performance Mesh for each style of pocket. We have actually developed a very in-depth stringing tutorials system for stringing the perfect low (L1), mid (M1), and high (H1) pocket. Our system combines HD videos, pictures, and simple directions to teach anyone how to string all of the most popular heads on the market in various pocket styles. The Pro series pockets simply highlight the specific L1, M1, or H1 pocket that the particular pro player is using.
Unfortunately, due to contractual agreements with various retailers, we are unable to publicize these stringing tutorials at this time. I would love to share these tutorials with Lax All Stars and the entire lacrosse world, but for the time being we are unable to do so. Hopefully, in the future, we will be able to publicize our tutorials platform for all to use. For now, the only way to get a StringKing Pocket is to go to any retailer that carries our product. Their stringers have access to the tutorials and can string perfect L1, M1, and H1 . Otherwise, just string up your pocket with our mesh and experience the difference! Within the next couple weeks we will expand our pocket services into even more retailers!
If you could only use five words to convince someone to use StringKing mesh, what would you say?
Try it. It’s just better.
EN: I think it’s worth mentioning what Kevin later added about his final answer. It definitely says a lot about StringKing Lacrosse and what they’re working on.
[I] Honestly struggled with that last question… Wrote up a hundred different answers that all didn’t ring. Decided to keep it basic. It needs to be tried to be understood.
Great answer! Thanks for your time Kevin and best of luck to StringKing Lacrosse. Stay tuned to LaxAllStars.com and Sweet Sweet Lax for the upcoming review with the StringKing Lacrosse mesh kit.