Title:
Quick-Net Lacrosse Net
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A net assembly for use in a lacrosse goal assembly having a goal frame assembly is provided. The net assembly includes a frame engagement assembly comprising a plurality of engagement sleeves configured to removably engage the goal frame assembly. Each of the engagement sleeves includes a detachment seam formed along its length wherein the engagement sleeve can be opened to engage the goal frame assembly. A netting material is affixed to the frame engagement assembly such that a ball restraint region is formed.



Inventors:
Winningham, Matthew (Royal Oak, MI, US)
Herman, Craig (Pleasant Ridge, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/839457
Publication Date:
05/08/2008
Filing Date:
08/15/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B63/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHAMBERS, MICHAEL S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WARNER NORCROSS + JUDD LLP (GRAND RAPIDS, MI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A net assembly for use in a lacrosse goal assembly having a goal frame assembly, the net assembly comprising: a frame engagement assembly comprising a plurality of engagement sleeves configured to removably engage the goal frame assembly, each of said engagement sleeves including a detachment seam formed along its length wherein said engagement sleeve can be opened to engage the goal frame assembly; and a netting material affixed to said frame engagement assembly such that a ball restraint region is formed.

2. A net assembly as described in claim 1, wherein said detachment seam comprises a zipper assembly.

3. A net assembly as described in claim 1, wherein said detachment seam comprises Velcro.

4. A net assembly as described in claim 1, wherein said plurality of engagement sleeves comprises: a cross-bar sleeve; a first side-bar sleeve; and a second side-bar sleeve.

5. A net assembly as described in claim 4, further comprising: a first base post sleeve; and a second base post sleeve.

6. A net assembly as described in claim 5, further comprising: a rear joint element mounted to said first base post sleeve and said second base post sleeve, said rear joint element configured to span a rear frame joint.

7. A net assembly as described in claim 6, wherein said rear joint element comprises: a triangular material element.

8. A net assembly as described in claim 6, wherein said rear joint element comprises: a lower joint element positioned beneath said first base post sleeve and said second base post sleeve; and an upper joint element positioned above said first base post sleeve and said second base post sleeve.

9. A net assembly as described in claim 1, wherein said plurality of engagement sleeves further comprises: a first back bar sleeve; and a second back bar sleeve.

10. A net assembly as described in claim 9, further comprising: a back joint element mounted to said first back bar sleeve and said second back bar sleeve.

11. A net assembly as described in claim 1, wherein each of said plurality of engagement sleeves comprises an elastic material configured to maintain detachment sleeve integrity during game play.

12. A net assembly as described in claim 1, further comprising a retention element mounted to said netting material and configured to engage a frame corner.

13. A net assembly as described in claim 1, wherein said netting material comprises: a first floating region affixed to said first side-bar mounting sleeve; a second floating region affixed to said second side-bar mounting sleeve; and a third floating region positioned between and affixed to both said first floating region and said second floating region.

14. A net assembly as described in claim 13, wherein at least one floating region comprises regions of alternating curvilinear weave.

15. A net assembly as described in claim 13, wherein at least one floating region comprises one or more material reinforcement strips dividing said at least one floating region to increase net rigidity.

16. A net assembly as described in claim 15, wherein said one or more material reinforcement strips comprise curvilinear material reinforcement strips.

17. A net assembly as described in claim 1, wherein each of said plurality of engagement sleeves are configured to span only a portion of a frame bar section of the goal frame assembly.

18. A net assembly as described in claim 1, wherein each of said plurality of engagement sleeves comprises a display surface formed opposite said detachment seam.

19. A net assembly for use in a lacrosse goal assembly including a cross-bar post, a first side-bar post, and a second side-bar post, the net assembly comprising: a frame engagement assembly comprising: a cross-bar engagement sleeve configured to engage the cross-bar post, said cross-bar engagement sleeve comprising a quick disconnect detachment sleeve formed along its length wherein said cross-bar engagement sleeve can be opened to engage the cross-bar post; a first side-bar engagement sleeve configured to engage the first side-bar post, said first side-bar engagement sleeve comprising a quick disconnect detachment sleeve formed along its length wherein said first side-bar engagement sleeve can be opened to engage the first side-bar post; and a second side-bar engagement sleeve configured to engage the second side-bar post, said second side-bar engagement sleeve comprising a quick disconnect detachment sleeve formed along its length wherein said second side-bar engagement sleeve can be opened to engage the second side-bar post; a netting material affixed to said cross-bar engagement sleeve, said first side-bar engagement sleeve and said second side-bar engagement sleeve, said netting material forming a ball restraint region.

20. A net assembly as described in claim 19, further comprising: a first base post sleeve configured to engage a first base post of the lacrosse goal assembly; and a second base post sleeve configured to engage a second base post of the lacrosse goal assembly.

21. A net assembly as described in claim 20, further comprising: a rear joint element comprising a triangular material panel mounted to said first base post sleeve and said second base post sleeve where they meet.

22. A net assembly as described in claim 19, further comprising: a first back bar sleeve configured to engage a first back bar of the lacrosse goal assembly; and a second back bar sleeve configured to engage a second back bar of the lacrosse goal assembly.

23. A net assembly as described in claim 19, wherein said netting material comprises: at least two sections of alternating curvilinear weave.

24. A net assembly as described in claim 23, further comprising: at least one material reinforcement strip positioned between said sections of alternating curvilinear weave.

25. A net assembly as described in claim 19 wherein said netting material comprises: at least one retention element configured to engage a corner of the lacrosse goal assembly.

26. A net assembly as described in claim 19, wherein: said cross-bar engagement sleeve is configured to span only a portion of said cross-bar post; said first side-bar engagement sleeve is configured to span only a portion of said first side-bar post; and said second side-bar engagement sleeve is configured to span only a portion of said second side-bar post.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates generally to a lacrosse goal assembly and more particular to a lacrosse net assembly with improved assembly/disassembly characteristics.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The sport of lacrosse has increased in popularity significantly over the years. Wherein it once had a limited range of collegiate clubs in the east coast, it now ranges throughout the United States and internationally. In combination with its official growth, so too has the growth of general popularity and the resultant increase in general recreational play. One key aspect of lacrosse that often impacts its professional, collegiate, and recreational followers is the necessity to set up relatively portable equipment quickly. This allows the users to take full advantage of a wide array of locations without the need for permanent fixtures. This is a benefit to the entire range of play from practice to performance.

Although lacrosse in its simplest form is fairly minimalist with regard to many professional sports, it does require some infrastructure even at its most basic. Central to the basic required structure is a goal or net. These goals are commonly portable structures that may be easily transported between locations and quickly assembled. The underlying goal structure may be solid for better rigidity or may be collapsible for ease of transportation. In any event, a netting assembly must be affixed to the goal structure prior to the beginning of play. Traditionally, this has represented a non-insubstantial effort and time expenditure of players. Thus, it has represented an area in need of improvement.

Prior netting assembly attachment involved the actual tying of a vast number of individual strings onto the goal frame structure. This represented a considerable amount of effort and time. In addition, it posed a danger of haste-based error in the stringing. This could lead to customer dissatisfaction and to net failures during play. Furthermore, the goal frame structure would commonly be more robust and thereby outlast the netting assembly. Thus, even among permanent structures, netting would be required to be untied and retied at least occasionally. Finally, existing alternatives to the complex net threading failed to accommodate the wide array of goal frame structures. Many such structures are assembled, disassembled, or fixed in a vast number of fashions. Therefore, netting assemblies configured to easily engage these structures were often design-specific. This limited the replacement net sales to existing owners of the underlying goal-frame structure. It would be far more beneficial to have a more flexible net assembly that reduced assembly time while allowing such a net assembly to be used over a wide variety of goal frame designs.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the advantages of the present invention, a net assembly for use in a lacrosse goal assembly having a goal frame assembly is provided. The net assembly includes a frame engagement assembly comprising a plurality of engagement sleeves configured to removably engage the goal frame assembly. Each of the engagement sleeves includes a detachment seam formed along its length wherein the engagement sleeve can be opened to engage the goal frame assembly. A netting material is affixed to the frame engagement assembly such that a ball restraint region is formed.

Other objects and features of the present invention will become apparent when viewed in light of the detailed description and preferred embodiment when taken in conjunction with the attached drawings and claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front view of a net assembly for use in a lacrosse goal assembly in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a rear view of the net assembly illustrated in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3A is a detailed illustration of an engagement sleeve used in the net assemblies of FIGS. 1 and 2;

FIG. 3B is a rear-view illustration of the engagement sleeve illustrated in FIG. 3A; and

FIG. 4 is an alternate embodiment of the engagement sleeve illustrated in FIG. 3B.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring now to FIG. 1, which is an illustration of a lacrosse goal assembly 10 in accordance with the present invention. The lacrosse goal assembly 10 is preferably comprised of a goal frame assembly 12. It is contemplated that the goal frame assembly 12 may be formed from a variety of materials and construction techniques including, but not limited to, aluminum tubular frames, pvc vinyl tubular frames, quick-disconnect frames, and carbon-fiber frames. The goal frame assembly 12 preferably consists of a cross-bar post 14 running horizontally over the top of the goal frame assembly 12. A first side-bar post 16 and a second side-bar post 18 run vertically downwards from the cross-bar post 14 towards a base section 20. Although a variety of base sections 20 are contemplated, one embodiment contemplates the use of a first base post 22 affixed to and extending from the first side-bar post 16 and a second base post 24 affixed to and extending from the second side-bar post 18. The first base post 22 and the second base post 24 preferably are joined at a rear joint 26 to form the base section 20.

In a separate embodiment, it is contemplated that the goal frame assembly 12 further includes a first back post 28 and a second back post 30 connecting the rear joint 26 to the upper portion of the first side-bar post 16 and second side-bar post 18 respectively (see FIG. 2). The result is a rigid goal frame assembly 12. It is further contemplated that the individual elements of the goal frame assembly 12 may be attached and assembled in a variety of fashions including attachment methodologies that facilitate disassembly of the goal frame assembly 12 into reduced size components.

The present invention therefore includes a net assembly 32 configured to be easily attached and disassembled from the goal frame assembly 12 described in addition to a wide variety of alternate frame designs. The net assembly is comprised of a frame engagement assembly 34 configured to removably engage portions of the goal frame assembly 12. This includes a material loop encasement 36 forming an engagement sleeve 38 to house a portion of the goal frame assembly 12. The engagement sleeve 38 is configured to accept portions of the goal frame assembly 12 by way of a detachment seam 40 formed down the length of the engagement sleeve 38 (see FIGS. 3A-4). In one embodiment, it is contemplated that the detachment seam 40 is comprised of a zipper assembly 42 (FIG. 3B). In another embodiment, it is contemplated that the detachment seam 40 may be comprised of a Velcro seam or other quick-detach methodologies 43 (FIG. 4). It is further contemplated that detachment seam 40 be configured to be orientated rearward upon installation onto the goal frame assembly 12. This allows the material loop encasement 36 to include a display surface 44 opposite the detachment seam 40 for advertising or product endorsement during operation. A netting material 46 is affixed to the frame engagement assembly 34 such that a ball restraint region 48 is formed within the goal frame assembly 12. Thus, the net assembly 32 can be quickly and securely affixed to the goal frame assembly 12 to form a ball restraint region 48.

The net assembly 32 is quickly and simply installed onto the lacrosse goal assembly 10 by utilizing the engagement sleeves 38 to removably engage the goal frame assembly 12. This is accomplished by opening the detachment seam 40 of the engagement sleeve 38 such that the material loop encasement 36 becomes a flat strip of material. This can be easily accomplished by unzipping the zipper assembly 42, pulling apart the Velcro 43, or disengaging any other quick-detach methodology. The material loop encasement 46 is then simply placed over one of the goal frame posts 14, 16, 18, 22, 24, 28, 30. The zipper assembly 42 or quick-detach assembly 43 is then re-engaged such that the material loop encasement 46 is secured surrounding the goal frame post. By engaging, in a similar manner, multiple engagement sleeves 38 to multiple posts 14, 16, 18, 22, 24, 28, 30, the net assembly may be securely fastened to the goal frame assembly 12 with a minimum of time or effort. Net assembly 32 removal may just as quickly be accomplished by disengaging the zipper 42 or quick-detach assembly 43 and removing the engagement sleeve 38 from the associated post.

Although the aforementioned net assembly 32 may have a variety of configurations, one embodiment contemplates the net assembly 32 comprising a cross-bar sleeve portion 50 configured to engage the cross-bar post 14 (FIG. 1). The net assembly 32 further includes a first side-bar sleeve 52 and a second side-bar sleeve 54 configured to engage the first side-bar post 16 and the second side-bar post 18 respectively. The net assembly 32 finally includes a base post sleeve assembly 56 for engaging the base section 20. The base post sleeve assembly 56 preferably includes a first base post sleeve 58 and a second base-post sleeve 60 configured to engage the first base post 22 and second base post 24 respectively. The netting material 46 has a plurality of netting edges 62 attached to a side-seam portion of teach of the sleeves 50-60, 64, 66. Although it is contemplated that the sleeves 50-60 may be formed of a variety of materials, one embodiment contemplates the use of elastic material such that dimensional variance will be generated. This allows distances, such as between frame bars, to vary while still allowing net assembly 32 attachment. This further allows the net assembly 32 to be attached to a wide variety of frame assemblies produced by a variety of manufacturers. In addition, the elastic material allows stress incurred on the seal between the netting material 46 and the sleeves 50-60 to be absorbed and thereby reduces incidents of seam separation.

In still another embodiment, the net assembly 32 can further include a first back-bar sleeve 64 and a second back-bar sleeve 66 configured to engage the first back post 28 and second back post 30 (FIG. 2). This provides a more three-dimensional rear support for the netting material 46 wherein goal shape is retained. It is contemplated that the first back-bar sleeve 64 and the second back-bar sleeve 66 each include a detachment seam 40 similar to the other sleeves as described above. It is contemplated that the netting material 46 is attached to a side-seam portion of the first and second back-bar sleeves 64, 66 such that the netting material is divided into approximately three floating regions. A first floating region 68 is located between the first side-bar post 16, the first base post 22, and the first back post 28. The second floating region 72 is located between the second side-bar post 18, the second base post 24 and the second back post 30. Finally the third floating region 70 is positioned between the cross-bar post 14, the first back post 28 and the second back post 30. Although it is contemplated that the netting material 46 may be comprised of traditional perpendicular thread directions 74, in one embodiment it is contemplated that the netting material 46 be comprised of alternating curvilinear weave 76 (wherein the weave in each direction is formed in a differing curvilinear direction). It is further contemplated that the third floating region 70 (or each floating region) may include one or more material reinforcement strips (curvilinear themselves preferably) 78 placed within to divide each region 70 down further and add to netting rigidity.

Although the respective sleeves 50-60 may run the entire length of their respective frame bars, it is contemplated that they only encompass a portion, thereby leaving the front frame corners 80 uncovered. This prevents sleeve interference with performance. It is contemplated, however, that a retention element 82 may be utilized at each of the front frame corners 80 to secure the netting material 46 to each corner 80. In one embodiment, the retention element 82 is comprised of an elastic engagement element. In other embodiments, rigid clips or other engagement elements 82 may be utilized. It is further contemplated that the netting assembly 32 further include a plurality of joint element 84 configured to span between adjoining sleeves 50-60 where they meet at joints. This, especially at the rear frame joint, provides additional stability to the lacrosse goal assembly 10. In one embodiment, the joint elements comprise triangular material elements 84 mounted to adjoining sleeves 50-60 spanning the frame joint 86. Although a single joint element 84 may be utilized, one embodiment contemplates a lower joint element 88 positioned between the bottom of the first base post 22 and the second base post 24. The embodiment may further contemplate an upper joint element 90 positioned between the top of the first base post 22 and the second base post 24. Finally, the embodiment may further contemplate a back joint element 92 positioned between the first back post 28 and the second back post 30 where they meet. This would create a triple strength rear joint which thereby provides additional rigidity and strength to the lacrosse goal assembly 10.

While the invention has been described in connection with one or more embodiments, it is to be understood that the specific mechanisms and techniques which have been described are merely illustrative of the principles of the invention, numerous modifications may be made to the methods and apparatus described without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.





 
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