Czech Republic Brings Home the 20th Ales Hrebesky Memorial Championship
By Andy McNamara
The 20th Ales Hrebesky Memorial (AHM) international lacrosse tournament is in the books and the host LCC Radotin reign supreme.
In front of a sold out, raucous, outdoor crowd the Czech team defeated the defending champion Boston Megamen. The Green Gaels vs Nova Scotia Privateers was the third place all-Canadian battle that saw the Gaels come out on top.
LCC’s Petr Poupe and Dominik Sika brought home some personal hardware in addition to the championship trophy. Poupe was voted as the tournament’s top offensive player, while Sika received the award for best goaltender.
Fireworks and a huge party rang out over a rainy Radotin (suburb of Prague, Czech Republic) and capped off the four-day tournament that saw 20 teams from 13 different countries participate.
“I would say this was the best Memorial yet,” explained AHM organizer Ondrej Mika. “The level of competition was the greatest it has ever been and this is the most teams and countries involved.”
It cannot be forgotten that all the festivities and celebration were in honor of Ales Hrebesky who back in 1993 was killed by a drunk driver while waiting at a bus stop. In 1994 the Memorial was started by his club lacrosse team LCC Radotin.
At 21-years old, Hrebesky was an incredibly gifted lacrosse player that also exceled at hockey and gymnastics. His mother received flowers and thanked the crowd during a touching opening ceremony.
The action was fast and furious from the start of the AHM back on April 24 as teams played outside in multiple games daily that had gorgeous, but hot weather. Food, drinks, live entertainment, and a surprisingly intense All-Star game were all part of the festival.
Several countries were making their inaugural appearance in the annual Prague event. Poland, Scotland, and the combined squad of Israel/France fielded national clubs for the first time.
“It’s been great getting the players international exposure against high caliber talent,” said GM/coach of Israel/France Scott Neiss. “We have a long way to go, but we’ve learned a lot here.”
At its heart that is really what this tournament is about: growing lacrosse worldwide and everyone working together to achieve that.
Players already were talking about 2014. “We go back and watch the game tape, critique ourselves, and it only gets us pumped up for the next year. Can’t wait to come back again,” laughed Dublin Tropics member Ryan Doran.
As always the Ales Hrebesky Memorial goes by far too fast as all the participants wished each other well following the closing ceremony. The brotherhood and spirit of this prestigious event is what truly makes it special.
Andy McNamara is the play-by-play voice for the NLL’s Toronto Rock, the 20th Ales Hrebesky Memorial, and for international lacrosse. Follow Andy on Twitter @AndyMc81