Anyone who’s been to the Ales Hrebesky Memorial, or any number of other tournaments around Europe, knows that you start to develop your own personal favorite clubs. We might like how a certain team plays, we might have a friend or two on the roster, or they just might be the best team and everyone loves a winner.
Over the past few years I’ve really become a fan of a few select programs. Sometimes these teams win some games, but for the most part I’ve found myself partial to the teams that are building and not letting the scoreboard halt their progress. The Polish Eagles happen to be one of my personal favorites.
The Polish Eagles
The Polish Eagles are the box contingent of the Polish National Lacrosse program. I’m a big fan of the country’s internal league, having visited the Grom in Warsaw. The LAS crew hung out with the Polish guys quite a bit in Godollo for the European Championships and we’re big supporters of the program, but it is their determined box team with which I am most familiar with.
I’ve been to the AHM three times now, as well as made an appearance at the Frank Mencshner Cup this past September. I don’t believe I’ve played against the Polish Eagles every year, but of the four tournaments I would assume I’ve been on the other bench three of the four times. They haven’t had a great record at the Memorial as far as wins and placement, but this is a team that comes to get better and leaves with smiles on their faces.
They come in by car the night before or sometimes the morning of the tournament. They sleep in the gymnasium. They bring rosters of ten or eleven guys on average. Their girlfriends work the doors in the box. Anything they have to do to get to their guys on the floor, they’ll do. I love these guys.
I love watching the Polish Eagles improve game by game and year by year, and now they’re going to be able to test their mettle against the 19 other nations currently signed up for the inaugural European Box Championships in Finland this July.
A Brief History
Polish players have been involved with box lacrosse since 2009 when Kosynierzy Wroclaw put in a team with the Czech National Box league. Later on in 2011 and beyond, no formal team was entered but Polish individual players participated in the ELL box league. The Polish Eagles did not form until their berth in the 2013 Ales Hrebesky Memorial, but have gone on to play in other box tournaments including the Mayor’s Cup, Lax in the Box, Isar Box, and the aforementioned Frank Mencshner Cup.
Hockey rinks are not readily available in Poland, making development more difficult, but with close proximity to other nations who are developing box lacrosse more rigorously like Germany and the Czech Republic, development has been possible despite the inherent difficulties.
Eyes on Turku
The Polish have announced their 2017 agenda that will give them a strong downhill run right into Finland in July. Camp will meet for the first time in January for a weeklong camp that culminates with the weekend Mayor’s Cup in Prague. In April, Poland will participate in the European Invitational, as well as the AHM the following weekend in the storied land of Radotin.
One additional tournament weekend in Dresden for Lax in the Box will be the final assembly before the 3 week endeavor in July. Prior to the European Championships in Turku (July 8th-15th), the Polish will hold one last camp for training in the Czech Republic.
In addition to the promising youth and natural given size that Polish teams have historically enjoyed, they will also have the benefit of being coached by Heath Garlow of the Seneca Nation. Garlow brings 25 years of box lacrosse experience to the table and has been a big contributor in the improvements made over the past few years to the Polish Eagle performances.
A Helping Hand
The Polish ARE looking for additional help for this run. In addition to the core group of Polish Eagles that have been there from the word “go”, the Polish are seeking out a maximum of three North American box lacrosse players with direct Polish heritage. More specifically, they’re looking for what we’re all looking for, offensive lefties, but additional support out the D door is also wanted.
Any questions, comments, or words of support for the Polish guys can be directed to Tomek via firstname.lastname@example.org
The boys started this program from scratch only a few short years ago. Without the means to get a team over to the WILC last year, this will be a HUGE catalyst for the Polish program as a whole, but more specifically geared towards growing a box lacrosse program in the very promising world of Polish Lacrosse.