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Motor City Rumble Midwest box lacrosse
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Motor City Rumble & the Growth of Midwest Box Lacrosse

The Motor City Rumble originated from the formation of the Michigan Box Lacrosse League, which was founded back in 2018. This league was put together in order to provide a more authentic box lacrosse experience for players in the Midwest, as many programs were still trying to figure out how to introduce box lacrosse properly. The goal of the MBLL is to continue to provide lacrosse players of all ages in the Midwest the opportunity to play box lacrosse authentically and grow their knowledge of the game and its historical roots.

The MBLL was put together by Chris Shevins, a native Long Islander and prestigious lacrosse player in the Metro-Detroit area. Shevins played collegiately at Detroit Mercy and won a MAAC championship during his time with the Titans. After college, Shevins knew he wanted to compete at the next level and inevitably made that a reality. He ended up playing in MLL for a numerous of years, with his most notable achievement coming in 2017 as he hoisted the Steinfeld Trophy with the Ohio Machine.

Shevins became passionate about growing the game after getting more involved with the box lacrosse community. He spent time in Canada playing Sr B ball with the Six Nations Slash. At the time, Shevins was playing with the Jimmersons, Bomberrys, and Thompsons. This experience opened his eyes to the Native American community and their contribution to the game. After spending some time with box lacrosse in Canada, Shevins made the commitment to help grow the game in the Midwest region.

As the MBLL grew in popularity, Shevins saw the opportunity to bring a box lacrosse tournament to Michigan. He began to network with different teams in the Midwest area and was able to convince six teams to come play in this inaugural tournament. Even with COVID-19 concerns, the Motor City Rumble was born in 2020 with great success. At the end of the day, the six-team field provided lots of feedback, saying that playing the game during such tumultuous times provided its own relief from the current world issues at hand.

2021 Motor City Rumble

Shevins took the feedback from last year’s tournament and made sure to turn it up a notch this time around. The tournament was sponsored by Gatorade, providing free protein bars and sports drinks for the athletes all weekend. A local vendor, Square Lake Nutrition, was at the event all weekend to provide healthy herbal tea supplements to players who were from out of town and may not be able to get around town during the tournament. To go along with the mission of helping lacrosse grow in the Midwest, a gear drive was held to bring in equipment donations for Cass Tech High School, a fourth year program in the Detroit Public School District.

Nine teams from across the country attended the Motor City Rumble this past weekend. Teams travelled from Upstate New York, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh, just to name a few places. Team Poland even sent over a squad that inevitably won the entire tournament.

Many of the New York teams, such as the Rochester Bats and Bang City, were stacked with players with a long history of playing box lacrosse. These teams consisted of players who have been playing box lacrosse since they were as young as 6 or 7 years old. While the Midwest teams may be newer in age, they still consisted of some of the best lacrosse talent in the region.

Even with the Michigan teams having less experience in box lacrosse, Shevins admired everyone’s dedication to the game.

“There are no egos and we all have a great bond with one another,” he said. “Two of the Michigan teams are fairly new to the game, but they are dedicated to learning and their is no shortage of effort to their game.”

Players came from many corners of the country, spanning from Colorado to the East Coast. The talent pool was extremely deep as there were a number of current and former professional players in attendance. Many guys play in the Can Am leagues or other Canadian box lacrosse leagues. These leagues are considered to be some of the highest level of organized men’s box lacrosse. Almost all of the players in attendance were either currently playing in college or are post-collegiate athletes.

The games certainly lived up to expectations as every contest was extremely competitive. The best game of the day came in the semifinals when the Rochester Bats overcame the Pittsburgh Kingz in overtime to advance to the championship game. It was clear throughout the day that any of the teams in attendance could have been crowned champions.

While the tournament showcase hoisted few winners and many losers, the entire weekend consisted of smiles, hugs, and lasting memories. The game of lacrosse brought together a diverse community under one roof and one platform. Shevins hopes to continue to grow the game of box lacrosse in the Midwest and promote more diversity in the sport.

“In Michigan, many players play the game of lacrosse but do not have a deep knowledge of the game’s roots,” he explained. “Many have never met a person of Indigenous heritage or seen a professional player play, or experienced a high level of the game. This event has created a melting pot of cultures and allowed younger players in Michigan to experience  the culture of those who have the history of lacrosse in their bloodline.”

The event looks to continue providing a world-class experience for the teams and athletes involved. The goal is to continue to grow the reach and the field of teams in attendance, and even more importantly, the number of teams locally from Michigan. It’s amazing to see teams come in from all over the country as it only improves the level of competition in the host state. This tournament should play a continued role in helping to grow the game of box lacrosse in the Midwest.

Now for the other lacrosse news from the week of Nov. 9-15, 2021.

Last Week In Lacrosse

Recently-retired player and Premier Lacrosse League co-founder Paul Rabil, was named President of the PLL. In his new role, Rabil will continue to oversee the company’s media strategy, creative and execution, while also orchestrating lacrosse strategy and success on the field. 

The NLL began its preseason over the past weekend. The regular season is slated to begin on Dec. 3.

Clemson women’s lacrosse announced its inaugural signing class. Clemson University announced back in June that the school would add women’s lacrosse as a varsity program.

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Motor City Rumble Midwest box lacrosse