Alf Jacques has been (and is) the premiere manufacturer of hand made wooden Lacrosse sticks for over fifty years. Based in Onondaga nation (just outside of Syracuse, NY), people come from all over the world to buy his sticks.
The process of making a wooden Lacrosse stick is quite amazing, and a heck of a lot of work.
The first thing Alf does is cuts down a Shag Bark Hickory Tree with no branches for eight feet of trunk (which means the trees are usually 75 years or older). Although Oak is a tough wood, when hammering a nail into the wood, Oak will split, Hickory doesn’t have that problem, Hickory will actually bend the nail…it’s that hard of a wood.
The next step is spliting the tree into wedges which takes about two to three months to dry. Alf uses a big metal axe and wooden mallets to split the wood.
Then comes carving the stick. Carving takes about a month.
Next, Alf steams the sticks to get the bend in them. Although it seems like there would be leverage to do so, it really is a tough task to get it just right. This takes another month (depending how humid the weather is) for the sticks to dry and take. When Alf bends the sticks he uses wire (like hanger wire) placing it from the head to the shaft to keep it from moving.
Another piece of information is that he uses the end closest to the trunk of the tree to bend, the reason is that the other end is just too stiff to maneuver.
The sticks then get hand strung.
The entire process takes about ten months to make a quality stick.
On a side note, nothing from the tree goes to waste. If pieces are not being used in the stick, they are used for the steaming process (heating up the water to make steam).
(Photo Credits: Gary Groob)
Gary Groob has been involved with Lacrosse for the majority of his life, whether playing, coaching, or covering the sport for the media.
An avid fan, with a real drive about helping to “grow the game”, Gary became part of podcasts about the game 10 years ago. Through the podcasts, Mr. Groob had an opportunity to write about lacrosse, and the rest as they say, is history.
Through many miles (flying and driving) Gary has made inroads with the National Lacrosse League, Major Series Lacrosse League, the Ontario Lacrosse Association, as well as the Arena Lacrosse League, covering the leagues, their teams, and players, working for, and in concert with all of them.
In the year 2020, Mr. Groob was made the media person for the Arena Lacrosse League, voted onto the board of directors of the Brampton Excelsiors Lacrosse Club, as well as being made administrator of the Lacrosse page “Global Lacrosse” with a membership of 9000 members in over 90 Countries. Gary was also made an administrator of Lacrosse History Past Present and Future in 2022.
Mr. Groob co-hosts a weekly Lacrosse show on Spanglish Sports World, and ZingoTV channel 250, as well as writes a weekly lacrosse column for La Portada Canada News (both in print, and online).
Mr. Groob also hosts a Lacrosse talk show and podcast for The Edge of Philly Sports Network, seen live Sunday nights at 9pm (ET), and archived on the Edge of Philly YouTube page, as well as Spotify.
Mr. Groob’s other sports interests include Hockey, Football, Boxing, Wrestling, and Baseball, competing competitively in Boxing and Wrestling for many years.