In yesterday’s Hot Pot, I looked into the growth in participation, leagues, and overall popularity, of box lacrosse in the United States. And now we’re hopping across the big pond known as the Atlantic Ocean to take a look at the European Lacrosse League (ELL), which is Europe’s answer to North American Indoor Lacrosse.
The ELL is
new to the lax scene this year in its second year of existence, and while the league has encountered some road bumps here and there, it seems to be progressing nicely. We’ll have more from the organizers of the league in coming posts, but for now we want to introduce you to the ELL’s brief history, and what this could mean for box lacrosse around the world.
Last year there were four teams. And in July, the ELL held a draft, and six teams were created. At that point, one of the team locations and management groups hadn’t been finalized, but 5 had been. The League planned on having one open tryout where all interested players could show off their skills, and all coaches could watch and scout, but due to a lack of interest that didn’t happen. Coaches and managers were then allowed to select other players that they knew. Each team is allowed to dress 23 players per game, including goalies.
The undetermined sixth teams never ended up finding a home, and the fifth team, which was slated as LC Sparta, was unable to fulfill all the requirements of the league, and so the ELL shrunk to 4 teams. Or did they? Turns out, instead of just letting the teams fold, the ELL took them over instead. Most young leagues, and every American sports league I can think of, would have tried to use the PR snake to find their way out of this, or just kept people in the dark 100%. But not the ELL. They’ve posted updates on their website regularly, and have been extremely forthcoming with developments. Reading through their site is actually a really refreshing take on “pro” sports websites. Sure, it’s raw, but it’s also just so honest. I also love that the two teams run by the league are referred to as ELL Blue and ELL Orange. Simple and honest!
And the differences between the ELL and other leagues only continue from there.
The ELL’s season is organized into four tournaments over September and October. Each tournament has a winner. The final tournament will be used as a “final” to determine the end standings and Champion. The first tournament was held last weekend and the ELL Blue team was the eventual winner, going 3-0 on the weekend. The majority of the players in the league are Czech, but there are also English, Irish, US, Canadian, Finnish, Austrian and German players, amongst other countries. And if you want to see these guys ball for yourself, you can! The games are all posted on www.net-tv.cz. You can also find video from the Ales Hrebesky Tournament on that site.
And then we get to the rules. I just took a screenshot of them so you could see for yourself. They are a little whacky, and they made some changes I’ve never even thought of, but it seems like it’s all in the spirit of fun and competition. It’s a very creative take on rules and standings at the very least… but why should pro leagues set their rules and regs in stone? This actually seems like the perfect place to try something a little different. LAS Approval!
That last rule is key. PLAY FAIR!
We’ll be back with more from the ELL, but for now check out their site, get to know the scene a little bit and watch some video! It’s not a bad viewing experience at all!