Catching Fire: Wolfe Invents First Heated Lacrosse Stick

PHOTO COURTESY OF SAMANTHA WOLFE

Samantha Wolfe, 17, invented the FingerFire stick after playing countless games in cold weather that froze her fingers "into icicles."


The first-ever heated lacrosse stick may soon be on the market.

Samantha Wolfe, a 17-year-old senior at Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua, N.Y., invented the “FingerFire,” a women’s stick with a USB port within the butt of the shaft that allows players to warm it to a 70-degree temperature, lasting up to two hours, the length of a lacrosse game or practice. Complete charging time ranges from five to six hours, but the shaft will heat up within 10 minutes.  

“I want all girls to feel that when they are playing lacrosse, they have the fire and confidence in them to play their best and acknowledge they have the ability to do so,” said Wolfe. “Girls should not just feel the fire inside of them, but also be able to transfer that heat to their hands.”

Wolfe, who came up with the idea in sixth grade at age 11 and then brought on her father, Bruce, as her business partner when she turned 13, played attack for the Horace Greeley junior varsity teams in ninth and tenth grades, as well as the Revolution Lacrosse club in ninth grade, but did not think she could play to her full potential in cold weather because her “hands would freeze into icicles.”

Gloves did not keep her hands warm in temperatures in the 30s and numbness crept through her fingers causing her to lose dexterity in her hands. Her teammates felt the same.

“I could not pick up a ground ball very easily and we found ourselves missing passes and throws as our hands were not able to fully grasp the stick,” she said. “I would leave the field complaining to my parents on how I could not put up with my freezing hands any longer.”

While Wolfe no longer plays lacrosse, she is committed to advancing the sport’s equipment, focusing her time on the FingerFire project.

She has signed on with Enventys Partners, a product development company located in Charlotte, N.C., which has created two prototype sticks, one aluminum and one carbon fiber, over a two-year span. It took 10 months alone to test different heating methodologies, as well as determining the best combinations of weight, heat and duration.

She hopes to partner with a major manufacturing or sports company to produce the sticks for national distribution in the near future.  







Meanwhile, Wolfe already hand-delivered her prototypes to top Division I coaches Gary Gait (Syracuse) and Janine Tucker (Johns Hopkins) to garner feedback on her new product.

Both coaches like the concept.

Gait said it would benefit players with circulation issues, while Tucker added that her team wondered if the stick could get warmer because they played in temperatures as cold as 19 degrees with wind chills that dropped that number even lower.

“The idea of a heated lacrosse stick would be beneficial to the game, especially for younger players who would be a lot more comfortable if their fingers weren't so cold as they try to handle their sticks,” Tucker said.

The FingerFire, which meets US Lacrosse stick guidelines, now has a patent pending after hiring an intellectual property attorney. She also reached out to US Lacrosse CEO Steve Stenersen directly to ensure her stick wouldn’t have any violations.

“It was extremely important and a priority to make sure my stick met US Lacrosse guidelines,” Wolfe said. “If I did not have the approval of US Lacrosse, I knew my stick would not become a reality as it would never be embraced by the lacrosse community nor have any commercial value.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF SAMANTHA WOLFE

The FingerFire has a USB charging port in the butt of the stick, which will fully charge in five hours.

Wolfe’s long-term goal is to reach the hands of all women's lacrosse players. With fewer freezing hands, she said, more players will stick with the sport, advancing to the next level, thus ultimately growing the game. She noted that with the NCAA lacrosse seasons starting earlier every year, college players especially might find the FingerFire appealing.

Wolfe has also started exploring options to bring the heating technology to boys’ lacrosse.

“I like a handle that can warm your hands in the cold,” said Gait, who added that factors of success will include weight, amount of heat produced and cost. “If the right product is developed, it could catch on.”

The FingerFire soon could be catching fire across the nation.

“Lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in the country,” said Wolfe. “Its popularity is bringing lacrosse to more and more states that play in less than ideal temperatures. We feel that the FingerFire technology will be crucial to sustaining the growth and popularity of lacrosse across all fifty states.”

For more information, contact Samantha Wolfe at fingerfirelax@gmail.com.

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