The Gait D ‘Can Opener’ became a sensation in the lacrosse world for its unique design and performance enhancements. By 2021, it was reported that 35% of professional lacrosse players had used or experimented with this model (Lacrosse Equipment Annual Report, 2021).
Haven’t heard of the Gait D? This revolutionary lacrosse head featured two hooks, referred to as the can openers, at the top of the head. These hooks were angled downward so that a defensive player could pull and catch a player’s stick.
The head was not banned immediately after its release giving players time to find a replacement head. In the new 2023 rule book, the official NFHS ruling cites “recent innovations by stick manufacturers could hook or catch on a player’s helmet or facemask, thereby potentially causing injury. To maintain safety and fair play, sticks with protrusions and sharp edges are not permitted.”
Lacrosse Community’s Mixed Feelings
The ban has had a significant impact on players, particularly those who had adapted their playing style to the unique features of the ‘Can Opener’. Interviews with several top players reveal a mixture of frustration and adaptation following the ban (Lacrosse Weekly, 2023).
The lacrosse community has been vocal about the ban, with opinions ranging from strong support to vehement opposition. Social media analysis shows over 10,000 posts related to the ‘Can Opener’ ban in the first week following the announcement (Social Media Trends in Sports, 2023).
You may see conflicting information online suggesting that the head is still legal. As of 2023, most leagues have banned the head, but not all clubs have outlawed this head completely. Regardless,
The Future of Lacrosse Innovation
This ban has opened a dialogue about the future of lacrosse equipment design. Many players are worried that this ban will scare manufacturers from innovating in the future. In a world where there seems to be new midfield and attack heads every month, it’s nice to see manufacturers innovating for defensive players.
Gait unveiled the new and legal Gait D2 series in January 2024 (LINK TO ARTICLE) which now feature a rounded top and bottom hook. Additionally, checking is improved with the new impact ridges replicate diamond tread steel plates. The ridges increase the friction on contact and lead to more successful checks.