Premier Series Lacrosse – What Is That?
Premier Series Lacrosse is a new American box lacrosse league, and while it has some of the same characteristics that the NALL and PLL both had, it is also quite different from those two failed pro leagues. Are some of the same people involved? Yes. Is it American box lacrosse? Yes. Is it going to run on the East Coast? Yes. So what’s different?
I’m glad you asked.
The league is only sort of a league right now, so the word series is really more appropriate. The idea is to have four teams, and all four teams would be controlled by Premier Series Lacrosse. All four teams would compete in four weekends of box lacrosse (mostly in PA, but also in MA and maybe MD), and all four teams would be stocked with American players who want to play box. Locations are picked based on facilities, and good players living in the area. Each team will correspond to a branch of the US Military, and PSL will make donations to charity groups that benefit each branch of the armed services.
The PSL is organized as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit. The PSL is run by Larry Fila, Ginny Capicchioni, Patrick Crosby, and Julian Maliszewski. All four combined have decades upon decades of experience in the box game, and they have seen teams and leagues come and go. However, this group also shows staying power, and one need look no further than Larry Fila’s wonderful Baltimore Indoor Lacrosse League for proof. Ginny, Patrick, and Julian have all played in it.
When I spoke to members of the group, they seemed very aware of the past failures in American box. All wanted the semi-pro leagues to work, and each of them gained insights as to why the leagues ultimately didn’t. This leads us to the biggest difference between PSL and the NALL or PLL… the PSL is not-for-profit. Now, at first glance you might ask how a not-for-profit league could work where a for-profit league didn’t. It’s a fair question. So here is how it would all hypothetically work…
Premier Series Lacrosse wants to support military charities, and they want to see box lacrosse in the US grow and improve, and they think they can make both of these things happen. To do so, they will need players to pay to play, and I couldn’t have been happier when they said as much. Paying players would have killed this new venture faster than anything else. Even if you only paid guys $100 a game, that could total up to $4,000 a game and $100,000 for a SHORT season. For a smaller start up, that is a prohibitive cost on top of jerseys, refs, arenas, and other associated costs.
Simply put, there is not enough money, or interest, in box lacrosse in the US to make a small pro league work. You really can not pay players right now, as sad as that is. It’s just not going to happen. But you can PLAY box lacrosse, and pay a little something to do so, and for the near future, that’s just the reality. I’d love to see someone prove me wrong here, but without big time dollars being spent, ticket prices alone are not going to turn a profit. So “club style” box lacrosse really is the best option here.
It’s good to see PSL recognize this, and here is their response to my question about overcoming recent box lacrosse struggles in the US:
It is very unfortunate that the previous leagues have not worked out, as the American Indoor Players have suffered the most. However, with our registration fee and business model, we expect to sustain ourselves for an extensive period of time. Most importantly, EVERY YEAR we are in existence, we are providing awareness of our own people and their service, a strong fabric of our culture. So our stance on the problems and failures that have occurred in American indoor lacrosse is this – “Premier Series Lacrosse plans to move with purpose.”
We do not compare ourselves to other leagues because we are not like other leagues, due to our mission and message.
Now, can adding in a charity aspect change anything for the better? Or is that just money out the door After all, US box lacrosse is scattered and divided, as well as being much smaller than field lacrosse. So can PSL be the type of thing that brings the box community together, and will the mission to help service members resonate? PSL answered that question as well:
We expect to bring together our entire American community of indoor lacrosse through this platform and purpose. We will draw awareness to the sport and the cause. If our mission benefits both lacrosse as a whole and our charitable benefactors then fantastic. Right now we are looking at what we have in front of us, and once this season is done we can move on to the next.
So they’re keeping it small and focused, basically. I can get behind that.
The jury is ultimately still out on Premier Series Lacrosse, and the general public will have to wait for the season to kick off to get a better sense of the venture, but the pieces seem to be there. The mission is simple, it’s not trying to be something bigger or more than what it is right now, and people with experience are behind the wheel. While US box lacrosse has seen some rough days, Premier Series Lacrosse seems to have the potential to get the adult game back on track.
Overall, I’m actually optimistic this time.
Premier Series Lacrosse Quick Facts
- PSL will use FIL rules with slight modifications for safety
- Teams will wear camo-themed uniforms, each in the colors of their corresponding military branch – Admirals (Navy), Bombers (Air Force), Rangers (Army), Snipers (Marines)
- Games will be played from October through early December
- Teams will not have a “hometown”
- The Championship trophy is named after longtime US box lacrosse pioneer, Frank Menschner, who passed away earlier this year. Rest in peace, Frank. You were a good man!
- Players sign up to register, and then there is a draft on October 10th. Teams are finalized by November 10th
- Fees to play in the league are $335.00, and are tax deductible. Player fees can be sponsored by a business or person.
- For more specific info on Premier Series Lacrosse, visit their website.