If you've never seen one before, the image at the right is a box lacrosse helmet. Box helmets are helmets specifically for box that are just hockey helmets, but the mask is a box lacrosse mask (different than a field lax mask). There is a lot of talk about these so I decided I would clear up a couple common questions.
What are the advantages of a box helmet?
For one, box lacrosse helmets are typically lighter than field helmets. Will this have a massive impact on your running speed? Probably not. However you will notice the difference while you're playing. Also, the box mask provides a wider view than field masks. As you can see from the picture, the box mask ends like a hockey or football mask, whereas field lax masks have a plastic piece, somewhat reducing your peripheral vision.
What are the disadvantages?
The back of a hockey helmet doesn't go down as far as a regular lacrosse helmet (because hockey pucks typically aren't flying up at skaters) so there is the added danger of taking a back-of-the-neck shot. Simply put, box helmets aren't as protective as field helmets.
Why is it so difficult to buy a box helmet all in one piece? (Meaning not just the mask)
This is mainly due to the fact that there is not a large demand for box helmets, so no company wants to pay to test if the helmet meets the standards set by divisions like the NCAA.
Can I use a box helmet for field lacrosse?
Well, this is a difficult question to answer. It depends on your country/region's rules regarding helmets, and what age group you're in. I believe that in the United States, for youth and high school lacrosse your helmet must meet the NFHS standards. If you've ever used a Cascade, Brine, or other name brand helmet, you'll notice that is has a sticker on it stating that it meets these requirements. In Canada, i'm not sure, you'd probably want to check out the Canadian Lacrosse Association's website, I believe they have a rule book on there.
Would a box helmet be good for field lacrosse?
Well, the primary advantage of the field helmet for field lax is that is has a sun visor. You may not notice how much the sun visor helps, but take it away for a game on a sunny day and you'd definitely see the difference. The box helmet has the advantages of being lighter and that it gives you a greater peripheral vision. In summary, it's really up to you, if you find out that you can use your box helmet for field it's really just your opinion weather you should use it or not.
Is it bad to use a field helmet for box lacrosse?
No! I go play box in Ontario multiple times a year and there are always lots of guys using field helmets. Don't feel weird at all, most people play primarily field and only play box on the side (except in places like the Czech Republic where box is the most popular version of lacrosse).
I hope this answered all of your box helmet questions. Just remember if you ever have a question or anything you think the lime should discuss tweet it to us at @LacrosseLime thanks and lax on.