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US Box Lacrosse Development – Matt Gibson

Note from the Author: If you don’t already know, box lacrosse is my obsession, the only problem is, I’ve always lived in regions where field lacrosse is king and hockey is just starting to really break through. I will be conducting more interviews and compiling research on the topic, and I hope to build more awareness around the development of indoor lacrosse in the United States.

Photo Credit: Larry Palumbo

Ohio produces good hockey, just not a lot of it, so boxla could never piggy back on the hype like in more northern regions. Rinks in the Midwest typically stay open through the summer and the players who are passionate about the sport tend to dedicate themselves to the ice year round.

Some guys do pick up lacrosse sticks in the spring, but honestly there isn’t a lot of cross-over, and I attribute this to the lack of junior programs in the US for box players. I think since both communities, lacrosse and hockey, are so small, but so similar in places like the Midwest, if you meet in the middle and offered box programs, players would look at becoming tri-sport athletes, but with three sports not as common here in the States.

I had the opportunity to ask Matt Gibson some questions about his opinion on box lacrosse development, specifically here in the US, through Kevin Rowen who sat down with Matt during some off-time at the recent UCLA Men’s Club camp. Matt is traditionally a field player from Chaminade HS, NY. and went on to have a very successful career at Yale, then got selected 33rd in the 2012 MLL collegiate draft.

He also just finished his first season of playing professional box lacrosse in the NLL with the Minnesota Swarm, the Swarm chose him 46th overall even though Matt had little to no expereince on the carpet. He packed in 12 points in 8 games as a NLL rookie.

Matt Gibson on US Indoor Lacrosse

How do you feel about the current state of American box?

I want to see it grow and I think it’s good for player development.

Matt feels most Canadian defenders are better scorers than a lot of American offensive players, because of defensemen in box being required to handle the ball more, and to move it in traffic.

Where did you get your start with box lacrosse?

There were no leagues for me to play in growing up. Leagues are everywhere now; NYC, LA, and so on. It’s not that big yet, but it’s getting bigger and helps develop stick skills from top to bottom. I started playing in the summer of ’09,  Junior A in Langley, BC. I liked it a lot, but I didn’t play again until this past season in the NLL.

When setting up clubs in the United States, should we look to the typical Canadian Senior and Junior A/B model, and do you think it benefits development?

Yes, if you’re referring to structure of Junior to Seniors and moving up within a club, and if you just mean youth box then also, yes. I don’t like the club team system in the state, because you aren’t representing your home town, as players typically do in Canada, and playing with your boys from home.

Have you had any opportunities to play in any FIL events or a tournament like the Ales Hbresky memorial?

I have considered playing in Euro tournaments and would love to but haven’t yet. Who doesn’t want to go to Prague and play lacrosse?

Check out K-Row’s video of Matt tricking it up in SoCal.