Cover photo courtesy of Warrior Lacrosse
By Jason Felts
Introducing the next installment of our newest blog series, Monkey Business. We take the time to speak with some of the biggest names in lacrosse, past, present, or future, to get an insight on their path in the sport, the legacy they want to leave, and the steps being taken to #GrowTheGame.
A 16 hour flight to Netanya, Israel, seven games in nine days against the best competition in the world, including a (what some would call controversial) gold medal game, a flight home, another game against some of the best players in the world to help your team in the middle of a playoff push, and helping execute one of the biggest product launches your company has had in months. Sprinkle in a few drives from Detroit, Michigan, to Peterborough, Ontario, for some box lacrosse and you’ve got the month of July for Denver Outlaw and Warrior Product Developer Zach Currier.
As a member of Team Canada, Currier spent nearly two weeks in Israel at the Federation of International Lacrosse World Championships, where he and his teammates took home the silver medal.
“It was a lot of fun. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the opportunity to go to Israel again, and we got treated very well by Team Canada. To be able to do it with the guys that I was able to do it with was really special. Seeing how much character was in that dressing room and seeing how much people really cared about the program was eye-opening,” Currier said.
Photo Courtesy of Zach Currier/Instagram
Team Canada took home the gold medal at the 2014 FIL World Championships in Denver, Colorado, and despite only having 3 days of training camp prior to the trip to Israel, the team found success.
“The coolest part about the lacrosse world is that it’s so small, you’re going to cross paths with everyone one way or another. That team had a few of my teammates from Calgary (Roughnecks of the NLL), Peterborough (Lakers of the MSL), people I grew up playing with at the U-19 program and everything. It’s cool, you kind of know everyone from somewhere, but being able to suit up next to them and represent your country is an incredible feeling.”
With 46 teams meeting in Israel for the World Championships, Currier believes the sport is in a great spot to keep growing and reaching places that otherwise would not have had the opportunity to see or play lacrosse.
“It’s really cool to see how much the game has grown, especially in areas that you wouldn’t think. If you would’ve told me that nearly 50 teams have a national lacrosse program, I would’ve probably called you a liar. Uganda has a team now, Columbia has a team now, I never though lacrosse would reach areas like that, and it’s really cool to see that it’s had such an impact in places around the world,” Currier said. “It’s promising to see so many people that care about the sport and so many people coming together to celebrate the sport, it was an awesome experience.”
Growing up alongside his older brothers Josh (current NLL player for the Philadelphia Wings) and Andrei in Peterborough, Ontario, Currier had the opportunity to watch some of the best players in the world day-in and day-out.
“I started playing when I was 8 years old and would go to Lakers games to watch John Grant Jr., Scott Evans, Shawn Evans, Dan Carey, I just had a ridiculous amount of people that I got to watch every Thursday night. Most people would never get to see that high-level lacrosse, or would get to maybe once in their lives, but I got to see them every Thursday and see the cool things they could do. I just knew I wanted to be out there one day, and it’s been a dream come true to be able to play with the Lakers and to take my lacrosse career further still.”
As a multi-sport athlete, Currier was given the chance to pick between hockey and lacrosse, but as fate would have it, the decision process played in his favor.
“I was a big hockey guy growing up, but when it came down to it, it was the recruiting process for college. The hockey recruiting happens after high school is over and you go play juniors for a year or two and there aren’t many college commitments, whereas in lacrosse, recruitment starts your freshman or sophomore year. By the time I got to Culver when I was 16 years old, I had already decided where I was going to play in college. It really came down to timing, and I had the opportunity to play at Princeton, it was just for lacrosse instead of hockey.”
Midway through high school, Currier made the move from Peterborough to Culver Military Academy to further his athletic and academic careers before the transition to Princeton.
Photo Courtesy of Culver Academy
“It was tough. At 16, I was a home-body. I wanted to be at home and I wanted to spend time with my younger sister and two older brothers. I wanted to spend time with my mom and dad and step-mom and step-dad, so it was tough to leave. I missed all my friends in Peterborough and had to go (to Culver) without knowing anybody, but I had the opportunity to play high-level lacrosse and high-level hockey. I made some great friends at Culver though and had an amazing time, I still stay in touch with those Culver guys to this day.”
Currier put together a stellar career at Princeton, where he was a first team All-Ivy League and All-American selection his senior season thanks to 24 goals, 34 assists, a team-best 21 caused turnovers, 130 groundballs and a 56.4% faceoff winning percentage. The do-it-all midfielder was then drafted with the 6th overall pick in the MLL draft by the Denver Outlaws, as well as the 3rd overall pick by the Calgary Roughnecks of the NLL, where he was named Inside Lacrosse’s NLL Rookie of the Year after 9 goals, 13 assists, over 200 groundballs, and set the rookie record for caused turnovers in a season.
Photo Courtesy of Princeton Lacrosse
“[The transition from college to pro] was honestly pretty smooth. Looking back now that I’m in my second year in the league, that transition was a lot easier than you might expect. Now that I’m not in college, I’m not practicing five times a week. I have a stick in my hands every day since I work at Warrior, but most guys spend the week at their jobs and there aren’t practices during the week to work on your clears or your 1-on-1’s, stuff like that, whereas in college you’ve got your stick in your hands five days a week and are going into battle with your teammates every day. Then you hop right into the pro game and are probably in the best shape of your life coming off of playing the most lacrosse you’ll probably ever play in your life.”
As both a professional box lacrosse player in the NLL and field lacrosse player in the MLL, Currier has to split time at the end of the NLL season in order to be able to fulfill both obligations and has the make the transition from Calgary to Colorado in a matter of days.
Photo Courtesy of the Calgary Roughnecks
“There’s definitely a transition for me, the whole game is different. Indoor, there’s so many more picks and rolls, things like that. In indoor, I’m a defensive transition guy, but in field I’m more of an offensive guy most of the time, so I’ll forget how to dodge and look where the slide is coming from because I’m used to being on the other side. I just have to make sure I’m in shape for everything because they are two different games, but it’s fun to be able to play them both.”
Apart from his lacrosse career, Currier is a Product Developer for Warrior, and is heavily involved in the design, production, and execution of the Warp line. When he is not on the road for one of his various teams, he calls “Warp City” his home.
“I strung all my sticks growing up and have always felt an attachment to my sticks, so it’s cool to be able to help work with stuff like that. I got lucky with the job I have now, I’m lucky enough to have gone to Princeton, which is where Dave Morrow [Warrior’s founder] went as well, and I was on the phone with him one day talking about what I did, and the next week he had a job for me. I fell into the product development side because I’ve been doing that my whole life, whether I’m pinching a head or trying different string jobs, so to be able to do that full time now is incredible, I couldn’t be happier.”
Warrior just released their much-anticipated Burn Warp, and Currier was the first athlete to use it in a professional game.
“It was pretty cool to be able to use the first Burn Warp. Working with my team and getting that dialed in in the office, then being able to take my work on to the field and have a lot of success with it has been really rewarding. It just goes to show how hard we’ve been working at Warp City that our product has gotten so good.”
Photo Courtesy of Warrior Lacrosse
Since first coming out nearly three years ago, the Warp has been met with scrutiny, as players worry that it gets rid of the individuality in a game and does not live up to its hefty price tag, but with the new Burn line, Warrior continues to improve and make a head that can be used by anyone at any time.
“We’re getting better every single day, even though some might not see it because our products launch so far apart. The Warp is only getting better. Mesh has been around since the 90s and I feel like it’s plateaued, whereas we’re doing innovative stuff every single day with the Warp and in only three years it’s already caught up and is in the same conversation. Just that fact alone is pretty significant, and for us moving forward, we’re only getting better, where there isn’t much room for mesh moving forward.”
From the company that broke ground by introducing titanium shafts in the early 1990s, innovation is nothing new to Warrior. However with something like the Warp, it has had its own set of challenges getting off the ground and helping change the game.
“We’re the first people in the world doing a one-piece lacrosse head, so everything we’re doing hasn’t been done before. We’re having to solve a lot of problems, and every single day presents a new issue. We have to work hard to figure out ways to move around those issues and solve them to keep moving forward,” Currier said. “I’m grateful to be a part of Warrior’s development team, and I think that we are doing some great work over there developing a consistent product that should be the future of lacrosse. There is no ceiling for this product, and it’s only going to continue getting better.”
While Currier may have had a non-traditional entrance into the world of lacrosse, he stresses the importance of practice, and always doing what you can to improve stick skills and get better.
“Always keep your stick in your hand no matter what. In Peterborough, so many kids walk around the arenas with their sticks in their hands and go out and play wall ball every chance they get. Whether it’s putting in 5 minutes here and there during the day or setting aside time to go hit a wall or whatever you want to do, just keep your stick in your hands. If you don’t have great stick skills, it’s tough to be a successful lacrosse player.”
Warrior Warps currently come fitted to three different heads, the Evo for midfielders, the RegMax for defensemen, and the Burn for more offensive-minded players, as well as a Next version, a Junior, and a Mini for the emerging players. They also come in multiple whip categories that offer different amounts of hold and control for players at all levels of play.
Currier and his Denver Outlaws look to make another run to the MLL Championship after losing to the Ohio Machine in the 2017 MLL Championship in Dallas, Texas last season.
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