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There is 125 miles of northwest flowing deep blackwater that tears through the Northern New York landscape.  Starting in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains, the Black River, gets its name from the natural tannic acids that turn the water a deep shade of black.  There are stretches where the water is so black it looks like oil sliding across the jagged rocks.  For hundreds of years this river has rolled steadily and strong through the the center of Carthage, NY.  The river acts as a divider between East and West Carthage.  It also draws a separation between the town of Wilna and the town of Champion.

The locals call the river “The Mighty Black”, because of its powerful currents and extreme pushing strength.  For centuries it has fueled a series of paper mills strategically constructed along the banks. When it came to naming the strongest shaft in our line we called upon this relentless river.


West Carthage, inside the town of Champion, is where a new style of lacrosse was born in the late 80’s and early 90’s. The wild child free wheelin’ style of West Carthage’s locals hit the big stage in 1993 when Jason Coffman entered into his first season at Salisbury State University. Totally rooted in a backyard style of inventive, creative, fast paced and in your face brand of lacrosse, Coffman erupted for an NCAA record breaking 451 points.   He was strong with incredible hands and a unending competitive nature that we wouldn’t see until 2 years later with the arrival of Casey Powell on the Syracuse University campus. No one had ever played lacrosse in Carthage prior to the 80’s so even the coaches had no idea how to coach it.  The rules weren’t thrown out the window because no one really knew them to begin with.  It was this “open” approach to the game that fostered creativity.  Lacrosse wasn’t on TV so no one was telling these uprising athletes how they should play. They figured it out on their own — in the back yards all over town.

“The river never stops running” is a popular phrase in the North Country. It’s a metaphor that shapes the blue collar mentality of the lacrosse players that were raised in an environment where only the hardest working men survived.  You never take a day off in Carthage because you can’t afford it, you need to provide. On a strict two year cycle the lacrosse world watched a Coffman-Powell pattern emerge on the NCAA scene and forever change lacrosse history.  Jason Coffman (1993-1996), Casey Powell (1995-1998), Ryan Powell (1997-2000), Josh Coffman (1999-2002), and finally Mike Powell(2001-2004).  Between them is twenty years of NCAA All American honors, 10 National Championships and 1,526 career points. Which leads us to believe —there must be something in the water.

About the Mighty Black Shaft

  • Proprietary Carbon Fiber Pattern 
  • Dent resistant 
  • Slight shot flex
  • Traditional Octagon Shape
  • Matte smooth finish
  • Ultra clean graphics 

Available in Pearl, Onyx & Glacier Metallic

Comments (1)

  1. Great post! I grew up in Black River, NY and the first time I heard the river referred to as the “Mighty Black” was at a party in Takoma Park, MD where a couple kayakers were exchanging notes about whitewater kayaking. When I hear them refer to a river as the Mighty Black, I asked them which river they were talking about – sure enough, it was my hometown river. I had no idea it was famous outside of northern NY. I love that you named on of your sticks after it.
    I also graduated from Carthage High school in the days before lacrosse but have followed from afar via my Dad and I love to mention the Powell and Coffman brothers went to my high school in this area where lacrosse is so big.
    Wishing you the best with your lacrosse company!

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