After a one-year hiatus, the PLL All Star Game made a return in 2021. While there were many notable absentees due to injury, the game and subsequent skills competition were still enjoyable.
PLL ALL STAR Game & Weekend 2021
In my eyes, an all-star game is a way to celebrate the best players in a league, or at least those who performed the best in a given season. My gripe with the all-star game in any pro sports league is the overly-relaxed feeling to the point that you wonder about the point of having one. I’m also a fan of having all-star festivities at the end of the season with cash rewards to encourage high-level play more similar to regular season contests.
The PLL All Star Game definitely showed off amazing skills, created a fun environment, and even toyed with faceoff rules for various reasons. I’m sure the average or newer fan really enjoyed it, but as a lacrosse diehard, the first three quarters of positional changes and turnovers just didn’t do it for me.
But the fourth quarter is when things seemed to ramp up. As the game got tighter, so did the effort and execution. Who doesn’t love an all-star game that ends with a timeout to set up a possible game-tying possession?
PLL All Star Game MVP
Tim Troutner was, deservedly so, the most talked about player of the day. He not only led his team to a victory, 23-21, but he also made an incredible 24 saves with a behind-the-back goal of his own. He single handedly raised $12,000 for the Oakland Lacrosse program thanks to the $500 per save reward.
PLL Skills Challenge
This is always one of my favorite events, especially in the NHL and NFL. I appreciate seeing some of the world’s best players showing off their skills, speed, and creativity through these specific events.
Overall, the performances were solid, but the one event that I think the league’s injuries hurt the most was the freestyle challenge. No offense to Dhane Smith and TD Ierlan, who I thought performed great, but it’s hard to imagine a freestyle challenge without the likes of Lyle Thompson or Paul Rabil. I mean, just look at this beauty from Rabil in the MLL skills competition years ago.
PLL Accuracy Challenge: Marcus Holman
PLL Fastest Player: Romar Dennis
PLL Fastest Shot: Jake Froccaro
PLL Goalie Challenge: Kyle Bernlohr
PLL Freestyle Challenge: Dhane Smith