This week the PLL heads to Gillette Stadium for the 2022 All-Star Game. The PLL does a great job of showcasing the colors and traditions of the town where the game is. This year the two teams will wear black and yellow, paying tribute to the Boston Bruins.
Fans were given the opportunity to vote and determine the captains for each team. This year’s captains are two of the top faceoff men in the country, Trevor Baptiste of the Atlas and Connor Farrell of the Chrome. Connor and Trevor then had the opportunity to draft their team last Thursday. Let’s just say, it should be a fun game.
The 2022 PLL All-Star Game will take place on Saturday, July 17, at 3:30 pm. The game should provide opportunities for the casual fan to engage and see some of the top athletes show off the fastest game on two feet.
The PLL has heightened the fan engagement and experience by introducing the Premier Pass. The pass came in the form of a free NFT and enabled pass holders the ability to vote for what rule changes the league should try at this weekend’s All-Star Game.
Rule Change 1: Bonus Ball
During the last two minutes of each quarter, each goal will be worth 2x. Imagine if Notre Dame and the Motor City Hitman, Sergio Percovic, had that chance in 2015 against Denver. I still have goosebumps listening to Eamon seven years later.
Rule Change 2: Shortened 2-Point Arc
The two-point arc will be moved this weekend from 15 yards to 13 yards. What difference does two yards make? A lot. Check out this shot chart from 13 and 15 yards respectively. I can hear Myles Jones and CJ Costabile laughing now.
A New Face of Lacrosse
The PLL had a number of prominent names and faces retire after the conclusion of the 2021 season. Connor Buczek, John Galloway, and Matt Danowski retired to focus on their college coaching careers.
Kyle Harrison retired from the PLL to become a professional shark on the Sharks and Minnows junior circuit.
By far the biggest loss though was #99. The co-founder and CEO of the PLL, Paul Rabil. He was a transcendent midfielder in the MLL, PLL, and for Team USA. Rabil became the face and ambassador of the game. After he retired following the 2021 season, lacrosse has been left searching for its next face of the game.
If you polled lacrosse fans and writers across our sport, I’m sure that you would get no shortage of answers on who will be the face of lacrosse. There is one name in particular to look at going forward.
The all-time leading point scorer in NCAA Division 1 lacrosse history, a Tewaaraton trophy winner, a professional lacrosse MVP, and NLL Champion.
There isn’t an adjective to describe Lyle’s lacrosse game. His stick is an extension of his body and he has the ability to continue to make us drop our jaws and stare in awe.
As good as his play is on the field, it is his role off the field that has elevated Thompson. He is a Native American Activist, he was at the forefront of the Standing Rock protests, has fought against discrimination on and off the field, and most recently has become a major spokesperson in the Every Child Matters campaign.
Lyle’s play on the field and his actions off it have the ability to expand lacrosse into communities that have been either forgotten or disregarded in the past.
Other Names to Consider: Myles Jones-Trevor Baptiste-Jeff Teat-Blaze Riorden-Chris Gray
Checking in on the Class of 2022
Four rookies will represent the Class of 2022 this weekend. Let’s take a look back at how they are making their adjustment from the college game.
The Atlas Attackman has fit in well with Eric Law and Jeff Teat. The Atlas currently own a 4-1 record on the season. Gray missed out on the NCAA tournament in his final season with North Carolina but is off to a hot start in the PLL. He is 7th in the league in points and has the Atlas sitting at the top of the standings with the Chrome and Whipsnakes. Similar to the Tewaaraton voting this spring, Gray will be in a head-to-head battle with Wisnauskas for Rookie of the Year. He will start at attack for Team Baptiste on Saturday.
The 2022 Tewaaraton trophy winner got off to a slow start in his PLL debut, tallying no goals and a single assist. Since that time, all Wisnauskas has done is score. He and fellow rookie, Brendan Nichtern, have led the Chrome to their hottest start in team history tied with the Atlas and Whipsnakes atop of the league at 4-1. Logan was announced this week as the new Volunteer Assistant Coach at High Point University. Wisnauskas will start at attack for Team Farrell.
I wrote a couple of weeks ago about how impressive 2nd. Lt. Nichtern’s career has been for Chrome. He and his teammates have remade the Chrome attack and led the team to a hot start. Nichtern has shown that he is a dual threat to shoot or find an open teammate when he is at X. Similar to the Tewaaraton voting, Nichtern will be in the conversation for Rookie of the Year with his teammate Wisnauskas or Gray. Nichtern is a reserve for Team Farrell.
It has been feast or famine this year for the former Cavalier midfielder. Moore has scored a hat-trick in three games and has also been held scoreless twice. Moore has helped lead the Archers to a 3-2 record. He will need to continue to find consistency on the field to help the Archers to make a late-season run.
The professional game is growing and is in good hands on ESPN. Enjoy the 2022 PLL All-Star Game and check out the skills challenge at 6:30 pm EST on ESPN+.