Chances are you live in a town that didn’t have a single lacrosse program 10 years ago. The sport’s skyrocketing popularity over the past decade has captured the athletic imaginations of boys and girls across the country. That the 2015 NCAA men’s lacrosse champion was the University of Denver was unthinkable once upon a time; since the tournament began in 1971, a whopping nine schools from New England and the Mid-Atlantic (including North Carolina) have had a virtual lock on the championship. Until the interlopers from the Centennial State crashed the party and changed all of that last year.
Lacrosse’s inroads into virtually every part of the nation also have padded the bottom line of businesses such as Holliston, Mass.-based TSG Enterprises, the parent company that operates athletic apparel and sporting goods brands Commonwealth Lacrosse, Pure Goalie and Pure Hockey. In addition to 31 brick-and-mortar stores, TSG runs four e-commerce websites, manages 12,000 SKUs, and offers a wealth of sports services such as skate fitting, sharpening and repairs, and restringing lacrosse heads (ie, the “net” or “pocket” on a lacrosse stick).
“The lacrosse explosion dramatically changed our business,” says Phil Arloro, director of operations. “We were more of a hockey business before. We started exploring lacrosse, so when the lacrosse growth happened, so did our company growth.”