NY Sports Day

Schwartz: Masks To The Lax For Lizards And MLL Fans

With a number of sports set to make a return this month, fans can’t be at the stadiums in many parts of the country as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.  However, they are still showing support for their favorite teams while out in public and that just doesn’t mean wearing t-shirts, jerseys and hats.   For public safety, wearing a mask is mandatory in many states including New York and New Jersey so  loyal fans have been donning masks with logos of their favorite teams.

And now fans of Major League Lacrosse teams, including New York Lizards fans, can represent their clubs and favorite players with MLL masks from Fourg Athletics, a New Jersey based company that provides American-made apparel, custom uniforms, and helmet decals for teams and clubs all over the country.

But during the COVID-19 pandemic, they went into the business of making non-medical face mask for personal use, athletic clubs and for businesses and now they are partnering with Major League Lacrosse on masks for their fans.

“Like most apparel companies, with everything going on right now it was a no-brainer to pivot our intention to help with PPE,” said Ron Fernando, Marketing Manager for Fourg Athletics.  “We focused a lot of our intention on creating basic masks for personal use.  Knowing that sports, at some point, will open up and there was going to be a need, we had the capacity to be able to continue both ends and offer to different companies to make their own custom stuff.”

(NY Lizards face mask courtesy of Fourg Athletics)

At first, Fourg was simply going to make the masks available to the six teams that will be competing in the MLL’s 20th season that will be played in Annapolis, Maryland from July 18-26th.  The company was initially going to provide the masks for the New York Lizards, Chesapeake Bayhawks, Philadelphia Barrage, Connecticut Hammerheads, Boston Cannons and Denver Outlaws and they teased that partnership with the MLL on social media July 3rd.

“Our thought was that the players in the league need to be protected first off,” said Fernando.  “Let’s do our best to not only get them what they need mask-wise, but let’s do it in style and with fashion.  Let’s do something where they can represent not just their team but they’re representing their city.”

(MLL face mask courtesy of Fourg Athletics)

But the reaction by the MLL fans to the tease about the masks was overwhelming and that led Fernando and Forge Athletics to make the masks available to the general public.  Not only are the six participating teams available, but there’s also a Major League Lacrosse logo mask as well as masks for a pair of former teams, the Charlotte Hounds who are expected to return in 2021 and the Ohio Machine who have hinted at a return next season.

“We were able to set up a team shop for each team in 24 hours,” said Fernando. (The fans’) favorite players are going to be wearing these masks too.”

In addition to his role with Fourg, Fernando is also lacrosse player.  The Lake Forest, California native is a goaltender and played collegiately at Concordia-Irvine before spending time on the Ohio Machine practice squad in 2017.  Fernando was selected by the Atlanta Blaze in the 2018 MLL Supplemental draft and will serve as an emergency goalie for the league during the upcoming season.

(Ron Fernando)

The Lizards will have three goalies on their roster, but the other five teams are only carrying two so if there are multiple injuries or illnesses to both goalies on a team, Fernando could be thrust into action.

“I’m very excited about it,” said Fernando. “I’m excited as a player to have some opportunities to play here and there for clubs in the Annapolis area but I’m just happy that the league was able to come up with something for everybody.” 

So what mask will he don when the tournament begins?

“I don’t know said Fernando with a laugh.  “Probably whatever mask I feel comfortable with at the time.”

I’m guessing he’ll have to start with the MLL mask and then have the other six at the ready in case he gets the call!

The official face masks for Major League Lacrosse from Fourg Athletics can be ordered by clicking here.

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