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Fireside Chat: Dresden Lax In The Box Lacrosse Tournament

When I was in the Czech Republic for the Ales Hrebesky Memorial Box Lacrosse Tournament, I learned that there was going to be an addition to the European box lacrosse tourney scene this year, called Lax in the Box, and it was going down in Dresden, Germany.  I tried to get back over for the tournament but life and the NCAA lacrosse season finishing up made that an impossibility.

Since I couldn’t be there in person, I spoke with Simon Krause and Stephan Pampel, of the Dresden Braves (the club hosting the event), to get a better idea of just what was going on here! The tournament will be played this weekend in Dresden, Germany, and if everything goes as planned, we will have a review of the tournament from a friend of the website who is in attendance!  Good luck, Luke!

Box lacrosse has been growing quite slowly in Germany so far, but an event like this could change all of that.  See below for my Fireside Chat with Simon, and learn about the newest box lacrosse tournament on the planet:

Why have you decided to start a box lacrosse tournament in Dresden, Germany?  Did the Ales Hrebesky inspire you at all? 

My idea in 2010 was to have some kind of real box lacrosse tournament and not one of those gym/half-field/half-box rules tournaments.  Of course was the Ales Hrebesky Memorial an inspiration because it is by far the best and most interesting box tournament in Europe.

Because of the close distance to the Czech Republic, and their success in the game, we wanted to involve more German teams in this whole boxlax thing. The main reason why we finally ended up with the tournament like it is right now was that we are able to rent the Arena we will play in when there is no ice on the field.

It was a tough fight with lots of talking to management, but we finally got the spot, and that is also the main reason why we choose the date in May, because we can only play on the field from May to July.

Dresden germany concrete hockey rink box lacrosse
It's a GREAT location to play some box lacrosse!

What has the reception to the idea of a box tourney in Dresden been like?  I see you have TWELVE teams registered to play… clearly there was a lot of interest! 

The main idea was to have a combination of Czech teams and German teams in groups so everybody would profit from the games. The Czech clubs are always looking for new teams to play against and the German teams need more experience in the game of box lacrosse.

After we sent out the invitations in end of Nov. 2011 it took 3 weeks till the first team registered. And we had a deadline for registration at end of Jan 2012.  But after Christmas we got one registration every two days. Fortunately, registrations came in from all over Europe, so we are able to represent 6 nations at the tournament.

At first we wanted to have a maximum of 10 teams to make sure all got enough game time, but after we had up to 16 registrations we decided to shorten the time between the games to create 2 more spots. Unfortunatelly there were 4 teams that cancelled registration at end of March and April, so we had to reinvite teams and the last spot was taken by a very good LCC Wolves (Radotin youth box team).

Is there a lot of German support for the tournament?  Is box lacrosse big in Germany? 

Since the tournament is one week before the German field playoffs, all the high ranked teams did not show any interest in the tournament. On the one side this is bad for the tournaments overall level of play but it also gives other teams the chance to show their potential in box lax.

Fortunately, we got one of the best boxteams of Germany, the Bundeswehrteam, for the tournament. In my opinion, box is not big in Germany. At least not as big as it could be. I think getting a German team for the ELL or a National Team Boxlacrosse for Germany might be a big step towards more box lacrosse in Germany.

Where are you playing the games?  Is this the only box in Germany? 

The Games are played in a 4200 seat big Hockey arena in the center of Dresden. It is on concrete since we could not affort a carpet.  As far as I know, there has only been one box lacrosse tournament in a real box, which was played in Hanover in the past.  So right now we are the only ones who can present that.

Do you hope to draw North American teams over in the future? 

If the tournament goes well, and it surely will, we hope of course to draw the attention of American teams too. The biggest issue at the planning of the tournament was that we were afraid we would not get enough teams to play. But after the huge interest we will definitely host one again next year. Of course having an American, or Canadian, team come play would be awsome.

What is the City of Dresden like?  Tell us a bit about the City and what people can expect to find there culturally? 

In my opinion (and I only moved to Dresden 3 years ago) Dresden is the most beautiful city I have ever been to. It has lots of Culture and is big on partying. You have old places in downtown which were all restored over the last years. Chilling at the Elbe (main river) is perfect in Summertime. The University is the best and biggest in Eastern Germany (exept Berlin…) and creates a very young and free atmosphere.

There is a lot I could tell you about Dresden but to really understand it you just need to have a look for yourself….

What does the future hold for the Lax in the Box tourney? 

Hopefully many years of successful tournaments with increasing interest from teams, audience and fans.  And hopefully more teams from other nations.

Can Dresden become the home of German box lax with a successful tourney? Do you plan on playing more year round?

I don’t know about Dresden becoming the center of box lacrosse in Germany ( I dont know if we would want that), but we are planing on using the arena not only for the tournament but also for camps to increase and improve box lacrosse in Germany. With our new Coach from America, Sean Menz, who played Box there, I think we have accomplished the first step.

How are you guys learning the game? And making sure that it grows? Are you getting the local kids involved? 

Some of us already played in the ELL last year. I went to the Boxcamp in Munich 2 years ago. Basically, we had practice besides the field practice and only for box. I was reading books and watching videos about how to best teach players, who don’t have the best stick skills and are not used to that type of roughness, how to play real box.

A few days ago, we had the last practice before the tournament and watching the guys develop over the last 3 months really was a lot of fun. We even can play some pick and roll now!  The players basically come from the field lacrosse team. We try to get as many as possible playing box as well as field lacrosse.

Since Dec. 2011 we have a cooperation with the Eislöwen hockeyteam (II Div) and will give Lacrosse and Boxlacrosse practice for their youthteams during their offseason.

AWESOME STUFF!  Thanks for Simon and Stephan for taking some time to speak with me about the Lax in the Box tournament!

It sounds like a great event, and one we just might have to take in personally next year.  Always wanted to go to Dresden!  And now I can play box lacrosse there?  Almost too perfect.Dresden germany box lacrosse trophy

Oh, and that trophy above goes to the winners.  HOW COOL IS THAT?  If I do make the trip, I want to win!