PJ MartinUnCommon Fit Lasersharks Photo: Larry Palumbo / Coyote Magic Action Shots
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Adults ONLY Sin City Box Classic – LIVE THIS WEEKEND!

I’ll be putting quite a few stamps on my passport in the coming year for lacrosse, but my first venture will be a domestic one. A forty-minute short hop from Salt Lake down to Las Vegas will bring me into town for the fourth annual Sin City Box Classic.

This first endeavor of the calendar year will be my fourth tournament in Vegas, but only my second time back in the box.

Work proved to be an insurmountable hurdle in the past, but this year I couldn’t pass. Dollars come, they most certainly go, but we only have a brief lease on life. I’ll get a job with a sweet 401k and stock options when I’m dead.

Here’s to 2017

2016 got quite the rap as a terrible year. If you were to consult your local internet, 2016 was rife with atrocities, loss, and the general degradation of humans. While I will acknowledge that we have entered a new calendar year, I refuse to acknowledge that any three hundred and sixty-five day spin around the sun is any better or worse than the next. T

here were losses in my 2016, some especially heavy on my heart, but the good will always outweigh the bad if you decide that that’s just how it’s going to be.

My 2017 will be just as good as my 2016, because I said so. The good ole boys at LaxAllStars and I have doubled down on our commitment to the game and to say we’ve got a full plate for ’17 would be an understatement. I didn’t really know what I was getting into with LAS more than a year ago, but it’s been a great relationship thus far and we’re just getting started.

What Are We Looking At?

This article will be relatively vague, as that’s all I can offer. I’ll be previewing and predicting to the best of my ability, which is a comically poor ability level. Complimenting my awful predictive senses is the fact that this is in fact lacrosse, and lacrosse is especially difficult to predict in the realm of men’s club/senior divisions.

Who’s going to be there? Who’s got a kid now? Who didn’t get off of work? Who’s great in the opening game but can’t handle a hangover? Lots of factors go into my scientific assessments.

The groups were selected roughly a week ago, and so I’ll go about discussing group play predictions as well as talk about each team to the best of my knowledge at the same time.

Group A: The Bloodbath

Photo: Larry Palumbo / Coyote Magic Action Shots
Photo: Larry Palumbo / Coyote Magic Action Shots

I see the fight to the top of group A to be the most difficult to predict. A multitude of unknowns regarding the Canadian teams, who the LaserSharks will be bringing, and to what degree box lacrosse is rubbing off on the local Vegas guys.

UncommonFit LaserSharks

I believe I’m speaking for not only LaxAllstars, but the majority of the lacrosse world when I say that we love these guys. They’re a solid club on the floor and an outstanding club off the floor as well.

Highly talented guys from the New Jersey/Philly/Boston areas have filled out impressive rosters for tournaments all over the world, and we’ll look forward to seeing exactly who they’ll bring this year to Vegas.

Jamie Plunkett UnCommon Fit Lasersharks Photo: Larry Palumbo / Coyote Magic Action Shots
Photo: Larry Palumbo / Coyote Magic Action Shots

The UcFit Sharks are known for big bodies on D, and an American hybrid style of playing offense that often involves high flying dives, juggernaut drives through entire teams of defenders, and laser-guided outside shots from players who grew up playing field lacrosse.

I’ve got the Sharks going far. I have an idea who will hoist hardware in Vegas, and these boys are definitely in the discussion.

Airdrie Mohawks

Okay. So. I’ll say it now, that I know absolutely nothing about the three Canadian clubs. While that might reduce my educated guesses to just being guesses, that will never stop me from having an opinion!

What I do know about the Mohawks is that they’re A) from Alberta B) the Senior C provincial champions of Alberta.

While some of you may say “well, it’s Senior C…” I would happily remind you that Senior G would arguably be better than the majority of “box” lacrosse played in the US.

Growing up playing box lacrosse will undoubtedly give you an advantage over guys who didn’t grow up playing box lacrosse in a box lacrosse tournament.

Team Vegas

There are two options here. Team Vegas will be the underdogs to upset the field and escape this group with an astonishing second place finish in group play, or I see Vegas comfortably finishing fourth in the group with no guarantee of a win at all over the weekend.

The last time I made it to the Sin City Box Classic, Team Vegas boasted two or three guys with box helmets, and even less guys wearing rib pads and biceps. Granted, this was two years ago.

Science tells me that there wouldn’t still be a Team Vegas, if Team Vegas wasn’t having a good time. When you’re taking heavy crosschecks without the correct gear, you’re gonna have a bad time.

I’m looking at Vegas with hopeful eyes to see if box lacrosse is taking hold in Vegas or it’s just a novelty that comes to town every year.

Corn Crackers

UncommonFit Corn Crackers Sin City Box Classic
Corn Crackers Kits via UncommonFit

I’ve already admitted ignorance, so I won’t get into that again. The Corn Crackers are out of British Columbia and will be a collaboration of a couple different Senior B and C teams from up North.

British Columbia has a rich history in box lacrosse, and just the fact that these guys have seen competition from some of the best in the business their whole lives invites me to wonder just what exactly Senior “C” lacrosse looks like in BC. I’ve had a couple teammates that have said they’ll play Senior C games out in BC that I was stunned to hear weren’t playing for Senior B championships.

The Crackers will be looking good in UncommonFit uniforms, which will lead to a wonderful dynamic of “oh hey thanks for the unis, here’s a monster crosscheck!”

Group A preditions:

  1. UncommonFit Lasersharks
  2. Airdrie Mohawks
  3. Corn Crackers
  4. Team Vegas

Group B: The Proving Ground

This is the easier of the three to predict in my opinion, but there’s plenty of room for surprises in this three team pool. The Cali Buccs have won all three of the Sin City Box Classics leading up to this year, but it will be up to clubs from opposite ends of the country to try and dethrone Cali before the playoffs even start.

Cali Buccs

As is aforementioned, the Cali Buccs have won all three of the preceding tournaments, and have no intentions of letting up for the fourth. I was fortunate enough to run with these boys and hoist the hardware two years back, but I’ll be doing my best to ensure their isn’t a four-peat. Putting up big numbers on the scoreboard is imperative for Cali, for at least when I was there, we also gave up quite a few goals as well. Lethal shooters and relentless offensive rebounds that just pin defenses on the floor will be imperative when the silver and gold buccs take the floor again this year.

Brooklyn Dodgers

Brooklyn Dodgers Photo: Larry Palumbo / Coyote Magic Action Shots LASNAI LaxAllStars.com North American Invitational box lacrosse 2016
Photo: Larry Palumbo / Coyote Magic Action Shots

I love this. Seeing a club that will travel not just from the City to Upstate for the LASNAI tournament, but to make the investment in their program and make the trek across the country in hopes of building on their successes.

I’m curious how the roster will compare to that at the LASNAI, but if the core group of guys is there, I think we’ll see Brooklyn turning some heads and potentially upsetting the champs.

The idea of a club in a major metropolitan area such as New York getting really established to the point where they’re traveling all over the country/globe really appeals to me as a legitimate model for growth in the US. Glad to see BK in the building.

Washington Wolves

This one I’ve got basically nothing on, so I’ll just make some stuff up. I have my reservations about predicting any wins in group play for the Wolves, but that might be a mistake.

With a geographic proximity to BC, it wouldn’t be outlandish to predict Washington as one of the likely hotbeds for box growth in the near future. When the Stealth were in Washington, it’s likely that box was popular for a good number of folks, and to think that it didn’t make those guys want to enjoy playing as much as they enjoy watching would be foolish.

I’m looking forward to seeing the Wolves and the Dodgers play on the first day of the tournament. That will set the stage and hopefully prepare both teams to give the reigning champs a run for their money.

Group B Predictions:

  1. Cali Buccs
  2. Brooklyn Dodgers
  3. Washington Wolves

Group C: The Island of Misfit Toys

This one is a little tighter than the rest just because it seems to be a pool of three teams where none of these teams seems to really have played with each other much before this tournament.

I’m sure some of the Calgary guys have grown up playing together, and some of the Total guys were on the same Hawaii squads, and I know I’ve played with a bunch of my Sin City teammates all over the world, but there are just so many unknowns. Unknowns are synonymous with the word “fun” in my book.

In Vegas? Even better.

Sin City LC

It’s tough to call this team the “home team”, as I have firsthand knowledge as to where all these guys are coming from, but this club is Nick’s first baby and this tournament is Nick’s second-born. In years passed Sin City has had trouble getting numbers, and this year has been no different.

We finally solidified a roster… last week? And we’re looking to do damage with representation from clubs including but not limited to the Vermont Voyageurs, Chicago Outlaws, Nova Scotia Privateers, The Mencshner Men, Glasgow Clydesiders, and many more.

UncommonFit Suicide Squad Sin City Box Classic
Sin City Kits via UncommonFit

We’ll see if we can pull it together as a squad on the floor that first day, but rest assured after that first night, we’ll all be tuned in to the same station.

Calgary Gunmen

It’s a two-pony race in my opinion when it comes to group C. I see there being a lot of import talent with Sin City, but I see the chemistry of the Senior B/C guys out of Alberta being a very dangerous mechanic if these boys come out playing good hard box lacrosse the way they were born and raised doing so.

I foresee balanced and comfortable offenses that will wear down overly-active American defenders and with the pick of the litter of goaltenders from Calgary, it would be a safe bet that getting one in past a time tested goalie might be difficult for American shooters. We shall see!

Total Lacrosse

This club I know virtually nothing about, but I keep seeing guys in spacey uniforms popping up on my newsfeed in tournaments all over the western United States including annual appearances in Hawaii for their fall tournament.

While I see appearances and I see sustainability and perseverance, some notion in my head seems to think I always see these guys at the bottom of the leaderboards. Don’t come for my head for saying so, because I do truly dig teams that keep on coming back for more lacrosse regardless of outcome.

Trust me, I’ve been on plenty of those teams. Total lacrosse seems to be a great crew of guys and I’m looking forward to sharing the floor with them.

Group C Predictions:

  1. Sin City LC
  2. Calgary Gunmen
  3. Total Lacrosse

WIN OR LOSE!

Win or lose (there are no ties in real sports), I’m anticipating seeing some awesome box lacrosse this coming weekend. Awesome lacrosse is magnified tenfold when it’s played by awesome people.

Awesome lacrosse and awesome people will both be in the city of sin this coming weekend, which has the potential for some interesting developments to say the very very very least.

What a Coincidence…

Did I mention that the Adult Video Network is having their trade expo in Vegas that same weekend? Could’ve sworn I mentioned it… Well then, I probably forgot to mention the Sin City Box Classic is slated for the same afterparties as well? Huh… How could that possibly have slipped my mind…?

What It’s Really About!

Nick Peterson has built this tournament on the founding principles of having REAL box lacrosse with long game lengths to give traveling teams as much bang for their buck as possible.

He’s also built this awesome tournament for the underserved market of senior level lacrosse for these grown men to have some outrageous fun while still competing at a high level.

I love it. Nick is a good buddy of mine and he’s one of the tireless guys trying to build box lacrosse in a grassroots manner without the misguided ambitions of getting rich or famous.

For those unfortunate souls who won’t be in attendance, stay tuned to LAS for pictures, videos, and recaps covering this tournament and all its glory.

I can’t wait for this weekend. It’s going to be a riot on and off the floor.