I was perusing IL‘s NLLInsider.com and found a great article by Chris Fox that proposes a North American Lacrosse Championship every four years opposite the cycle of FIL World Games. The World Games will be played next in 2014 in Denver so Chris’ idea could start in 2012 and then continue in 2016.
He is not just talking about field lacrosse and he isn’t just talking about box. He’s talking about both. Chris proposes to have both an outdoor and indoor championship series run right next to each other and he names a bunch of cities that have both MLL and NLL worthy facilities like Toronto, Rochester, Denver and Vancouver. He leaves out another obvious choice in Boston, but I think he’s really on to something!
His post got me thinking about the expansion of the MLL, especially when he mentions that the Toronto Nationals have really helped Canadian and (to a lesser extent) Native American players adapt to the modern field game. In my opinion, Toronto is the Canadian National Team with a couple of yanks and a couple of NA players thrown in. So as the MLL expands again (as they seem poised to do soon), why not place one of those teams on a Native American reservation?
Box lacrosse arenas fill up on reservations across the Northeast and Canada to watch the local boys play. I think you could get VERY good results by having a Native team play on Native territory and if the league is able to operate in Canada and the US, crossing the border shouldn’t be a problem that can’t be resolved.
The team could play all of its games on one reservation at a set field or it could rotate between different fields on different reservations. The issue of stands and stadiums could be a legitimate roadblock, but how much can it really cost to set up some bleachers and fence off a lacrosse field? It can’t be more than renting space at a professional sports arena!
The MLL will obviously push for major cities to pick up teams (like Pittsburgh and cities in Florida) as they expand, but right now the league has the chance to do something different – something that would make professional lacrosse truly unique and something that would educate the younger generations on the history of the game while allowing some of the best players in the world better access to the game.
There couldn’t be any restrictions holding non-Native players from playing for the team, but as the Toronto Nationals have proved, it is not that hard to stack a team with the players you want on it. It would require a dedicated staff and ownership group, but the idea that there could be a Native American-heavy team in a pro league for the sport they invented is too tempting to pass up. This needs to happen!