Hot Pot NLL

Hot Pot Of Lax: The NLL’s “Bench Clearing Lacrosse Brawl”

fight club

195,000 views and counting…

This Toronto Rock / Buffalo Bandits pre-season fight is getting more and more attention:

– Lacrosse Game Promptly Turns Into All-Out Fight | FanHouse
– Toronto Rock, Buffalo Bandits Brawl During Lacrosse Pre-Season Game | Huffington Post

There’s quite the discussion going on the big YouTube as well. Most comments aren’t worth sharing, but if you’re looking to be entertained, you know where to head.

Is this extra ‘exposure’ GOOD or BAD for our sport?

Drop your take in the comments section below.



– 412’s Winter Fashion Week is off to a great start:

Top 50 Team Items from 2010: #41-50 | 412 Lax

Lacrosse Unlimited Dye Jobs | 412 Lax

Lacrosse Unlimited Shooters | 412 Lax

Brooks Brothers | 412 Lax

Lacrosse Unlimited and Warrior Come Out to Play | 412 Lax

Lacrosse Unlimited Shorts | 412 Lax

– Tassel Me This, Tassel Me That | Sweet Sweet Lax

– Rumor has it… | Sweet Sweet Lax

– 2010 Thailand Lacrosse Candid Photos | Thailand Lacrosse

– Thailand Lacrosse 2011 Season Preview | Thailand Lacrosse

– Crowley Envisions Final Four for Stony Brook | Lacrosse Magazine

Yesterday’s Poll Results are in, and it looks as if string instruments take the cake (guitar, bass, violin, cello, fiddle!). However, a significant number of you play brass as well. Probably not the best tally given we just got 12 comments, but many thanks to those who did participate! Fun to discover that we’ve got such an eclectic group of laxers coming to the site every day.

About the author

Jeff Brunelle

Jeff Brunelle is the founder and CEO of Lacrosse All Stars. A west coast native and product of the MCLA, Jeff moved back East after college and truly fell in love with the game. He now spends every waking moment building and Red Label Sports from our headquarters in Boise, Idaho.


  • I am not a believer in the adage “there’s no such thing as bad press”… Check out the reader comments from the two links that Brunelle posted (not to mention the articles) and ask yourself if that’s how you would want to introduce your friends and neighbors to lacrosse.

    • Yep, well said… they give the sport of lacrosse a bad name, if the NCAA hold the players and teams accountable for their actions on AND off the field. Why shouldn’t the league commissioner does too for the NLL? where is “setting example for young players” fall in this act of lunacy?


  • I’ve never enjoyed watching two dudes beat the shit out of each other for absolutely no reason. Lacrosse gets enough bad press as it is, and those of us in the harder-to-reach areas take it on the chin every time something happens. Having to explain “It’s just a different style of play in different regions. Indoor lacrosse has lots of fights” is getting really old, but it’s worse when we’re trying to promote the box game

    • and fighting in box is NOT the same as brawling like punks. A fight is a fight and its between 2 willing participants. What happened at Six Nations is legal charges worthy. Straight thuggery. Embarassing for the sport considering this is a “professional” league.

      I’m just waiting for the guys that like brawls in baseball to start popping up… because that’s about as dumb as NASCAR. Let’s watch guys til they CRASH!!!! WOOOO!!!!!!

      • Agreed. There’s a difference between a 1 on 1 fight between two willing participants and the sort of stuff that came with the game in question.

        I think a big part of the reason I’m okay with fighting in hockey is because the guys are on skates. Fighting on skates is extremely different than fighting where you can plant your feet and swing away. Trust me, you put Eric Godard or Georges Laraque on turf and ask them to go, and the fight will be MUCH more brutal. It’s also easier to break up on skates as you can get two referees between the two guys who don’t have as much of a solid footing. Plus the fighting “code” for hockey doesn’t allow for much beyond 1 v 1 fights.

        In box lacrosse fights, you can plant your feet and swing away at guy, there’s so much more power involved; it just seems so much more dangerous. Not only that, but it seems a lot more difficult to get referees between players after they’ve both planted their feet and established space.

        No matter whether or not we think fighting is safe or reasonable in lacrosse, the NLL needs to make sure that the fights are conducted in a proper manner. 1 on 1, helmets and gloves off, as soon as a guy hits the ground, the fights over. There needs to be a code, just like in hockey. I think that’s where the fights run into a problem, when the guys went to the ground, they kept punching. This leads to 3rd men in trying to pull the guy off, the 3rd guy gets angry and starts swinging, this causes other guys to jump in, which leads to line brawls, which leads to bench clearing fights.

        Moral of the story: 1 on 1, throw the sticks away, helmets and gloves off, whenever someone hits the floor, fight’s over. If players follow that code, fighting can have a place in Professional Box Lacrosse. The sort of junk that happened in this game, however, gives a terrible impression for the sport of box lacrosse to a population that’s still being introduced to the sport.

  • I agree with all the previous comments. Clearly, the NLL has decided that it’s more important to appeal to the monster truck/WWE fan base to fill the seats. It’s a conscious decision by the league to allow fighting as “part of the game”. I’ve always thought it was silly in hockey and I know that many scoff at the idea of hockey without fighting, but this guy feels that both games are brutal enough without the, often premeditated, thuggery. Where else in Canada or the US is this accepted behavior? It’s not.

    The game should be entertaining enough to stand on it’s own without all the extra-curricular nonsense. If it’s not, perhaps it should just go away. As it stands, I won’t be taking my kids to see any of this action. I’m certainly not trying to raise a couple of wusses, but quite frankly they’re already exposed to enough ridiculous behavior without incorporating it into a lacrosse game.

    To anyone who doesn’t think that this behavior filters down to the youth ranks, you’re just kidding yourself. Even those who wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to this non-sense are now just a few clicks away from witnessing “part of the game”, often via the same websites that promote growing the game. That’s not intended to be a back-handed comment, just a fact.

  • I want you guys to watch this video…

    For those of you who don’t know, the Mann Cup is the Super Bowl of Canadian Lacrosse. Any NLL team would get smoked by either Brampton or the Salmonbellies. These teams are stacked with the best of the best ballers from the NLL and Senior A ball in Canada. I’ve been to one of these games and not only is it the most exciting lax I’ve ever seen, but also some of the sickest fights ever. This isn’t just a game to these guys. This is their life and their passion.

    We all know box isn’t field. Fighting IS legal, just like cross-checks and moving picks. You don’t go to a box game to see one guy dodge an entire team and shoot on an enormous goal. You go to see BTB passes off a pick and roll, shots into the smallest of holes on a 4×4 goal and guys getting lit up against the boards. You go to see Paul Dawson and Brodie Merrill in fist-to-fist combat while the crowd goes crazy. This is what boxla is. And while some may see it as brutal or “setting a bad example”, this is how the game started. Native Americans didn’t shake hands and play. They literally killed each other. And while I may not be one of those fighters, I still get amped every time I see two guys (or 10) get after it on the concrete. There is an unwritten code of ethics when fighting and most of the time, no one gets hurt because of those rules. I’m sure if a guy were to throw a cheap shot, he would pay for it down the road.

    As cliche as it is to say this, fighting just part of the game. Say something about hockey then too! Some may see it as barbarian but in most cases, I see players standing up for themselves or teammates looking out for one another. Unless your actually in the fight, you can all agree that they are fun to watch!

    In the end, it doesnt matter how many fights you get in, you still have to put the ball in the back of the net. Plus I’m sure they all got drinks together after that game anyway.

    • I sincerely hope everyone had drinks together after both of those brawls. You made several good points, most of which I’d make have made when I was younger and playing (origins of the sport, brawlers still have to score, unwritten ethics, fun to watch, etc.). But now that I’m older and coach, I find myself explaining the game to kids, parents, and/or outsiders on a regular basis – and I can’t see explaining how individual fighting is ever appropriate in a team sport. Logically, this means I’d have to advocate bench-clearing brawls to maintain team unity – but I can’t and I won’t because then it becomes another sport entirely (team boxing???).

      • But people seem to think that fights happen every game. This is not true. The majority of players play the game the way it was intended. There are a few standouts (Snider, Merrill, Doyle, Dawson, etc.) that usually make the highlight reels for fighting. For those of you have actually been to a box game, you can agree with my statement that fighting, while exciting, isn’t all that common. There are just as many highlight reels of goals as there are hits and fights. And while it is part of the game, doesn’t mean you need to raise your kids to be fighters if they want to play. There are many positive aspects of the game to be learned that make you a better field player as well.

        Players and companies like mine and ULAX are out to help spread the box game to those who don’t know it as well, to put to rest that this is a brutal game not suitable for players under 18 years of age. Not to knock most of your comments, but how many of you have actually been to or played in a box game? And yes, @Tom Huppmann, we promote the game we love because it is the best and fastest sport on two feet. Don’t hate the sport because you may not know enough about it.

        • Since you’re replying to me, I never said or implied that fights happen every game. Look, I could to rant about how the field game has been watered-down since I played in the 80s, as that would be tangentially related to your quest to “put to rest that this is a brutal game not suitable for players under 18.” I never said box was too brutal for anyone, particularly kids – I specifically called out fighting in team sports. Period. I’m good friends with someone who runs a boxla league (no need to drag him into this fray) and I’m looking to help him start one in my area. So please, let’s not go making assumptions about people we don’t know, OK? Thanks, dude. And if I can string you a traditional pocket as a way of sharing the love, it’d be my pleasure… danw AT lacrosseallstars DOT com.

          • Not meant to be directed at you Dan. Sorry for the misunderstanding. Just venting to everyone. You got some competition with the traditional strings. Connor W. has got a mean Canadian twig!

        • A day late and a dollar short perhaps, but I’ll replay anyway. To clarify, I wouldn’t say I’m hating on lax, indoor or outdoor. I wouldn’t have an opinion on the matter if I didn’t care. My point was simply that incidents such as the one in the video are rooted in the mentality that fighting and box go hand-and-hand. My opinion is that the NLL could stop this if they wanted to, but we all know that this puts butts in the seats that might not be there otherwise. It does just the opposite for me. It’s just my two cents on the matter, not an indictment on the sport of lacrosse. By the way, I was going to MILL games in the late 80’s when guys like Ricky Sowell played in Baltimore and I don’t remember it being the way it is now.

  • Saying this fight is good for the sport would be like saying the Duke rape allegations were good for the sport. Yes, it brings attention to the game, but at what price? A 1 v 1 fight is another story…but the bench-clearing mob mentality shown here by ‘professionals’ is above and beyond what most of us would consider acceptable.

    While boxla is a different sport, it is still a variation of the creator’s game…is it not? I see no respect or honor in this type of action.

  • Basically Team brawls = a no no. 1 on 1’s are acceptable with good reason. If you notice most lacrosse players will help a player back up if they own em with a body check, or after a good fight they’ll shake hands and be BROs again. That’s what bros do, we bang, then shake n bake Like Talledega Nights (NASCAR FTW once in it’s existence). People who are pricks and play lacrosse usually don’t last… I’m not gonna type a whole newspaper article but team brawls aren’t good exposure unless you live in redneck land, Louisiana then you get tons of respect. 1 on 1s are ok unless you go out and fight someone every game…

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