Editor’s Note: As Chris Fox explained in the recent “No Music in the NLL” post, we’ll be showcasing a lot more Canadian and box lacrosse content on LAS this winter. As a sort of counter point to Connor Wilson’s “US Youth Box Lacrosse is Making Strides“, Jeff Matheson is here to explain why we won’t be seeing a rash of US NLL players any time soon. The US may still have a long way to go after all. Where do you stand on the issue?
I love seeing the growth of box Lacrosse south of the border as it results into more people playing, which is the ultimate goal with any sport. This translates into the American box leagues pumping out NLL players in no time right? Well, not exactly.
First of all, look at this picture I put together above as a comparison. On the left is Canadian box lacrosse: playing in a hockey rink with solid boards and glass, a visibly obvious crease, and matching uniforms & helmets. On the right is the American version of the same thing: first of all the net is yellow and might even glow in the dark, there are more colours of helmets than Cascade’s website, and they are playing in what looks like an aquarium without the water in it. All kidding aside, let’s get to the REAL point.
If you look at any NLL roster you will notice one common trait: at least ninety percent, if not all of the players, are from either from the Toronto or Vancouver areas and the surrounding suburbs. Did you ever wonder why this is?
Here’s why: those are the only two areas with high-level minor and senior box lacrosse programs. These programs are equipped with enough coaches that know what they are talking about, appropriate facilities and equipment, and enough talented players to have a handful of teams. This constant high-level of competition between multiple teams that spans decades is where professional athletes come from, not from start-up leagues fooling around in makeshift arenas. I am not saying that they cannot eventually pump players into the pro leagues just don’t expect it anytime soon.