The World Indoor Lacrosse Championship 2015 takes over the Onondaga Nation next month and in preparation for the historic event we will be taking a deeper look into each of the 13 nations that will be competing for the gold September 18th-27th, 2015!
Looking at the country’s completely unique lacrosse background, we’re positive the Czech Republic will be bringing their own style of play to the WILC 2015.
Based on their #4 finish at the last WILC, the Czechs have earned the title as the “#1 Team in Europe.”[mks_separator style=”solid” height=”2″]
Box Lacrosse Founded: 1987
Governing Body: Czech Lacrosse Union
Previous WILC Finish: 4
Preparations for the WILC 2015
What is the level of excitement like around the Czech team prior to traveling to the United States and the Onondaga Nation?
Prior to this coming September, Czech Lacrosse has never sent such as large bunch of players to North America in its 30-year history! Not only is the senior team traveling over the Atlantic over for the WILC 2015, the junior team will be joining them to compete in the U19 World Lacrosse Challenge!
The whole party will include almost 70 people spending a total of 3 weeks in North America. It seems there’s no need to point that such big project is very logistically difficult and very expensive. We believe that this experience will be just another step on the way toward the world lacrosse leader countries!
Our junior team is comprised of strictly locally bred lacrosse talent ranging from age 16 to 20. With very limited numbers of teams of the same age in Europe, we know that our junior team does not have so much game experience, but this tournament is perfect opportunity for our youngsters to gain it.
After the World Lacrosse Challenge the junior team will travel to Syracuse to join seniors and taste the atmosphere of world-class lacrosse at the WILC! Some exhibition games are scheduled for the juniors while in Syracuse and they will be also part of the U17 Indoor Demonstration alongside with Team Canada and the Iroquois scheduled for Saturday, September 26th.
We believe that many of names on the Czech junior team roster, currently unknown to North-American scouts, will get their chance to be discovered for professional lacrosse teams in Canada or the US.
Our senior team travels to Syracuse to be member of elite Blue Division in very first time in lacrosse history!
This is based on excellent fourth-place ranking that was reached at the WILC 2011 in Prague four years ago. The Czech team would like to build on this success while in Onondaga. We truly believe that our players have gained more experience since and would be able to be worthy and strong opponents to the North American teams. The goal of our team would be to defend our position as the best European team and try to complicate the path to medals for teams such as Canada, the Iroquois Nationals and the USA.
Czech Lacrosse History
When was box lacrosse founded in the Czech Republic and by whom?
Current lacrosse in the Czech Republic has roots in a special version of lacrosse known as “Czech lacrosse,” which was played there years before the first official outside contacts were been established in the mid-1980’s. A few teams from this Czech Lacrosse League decided to start a new competition played by international lacrosse rules in 1986. The Czechs decided to start with box lacrosse because of popularity of ice hockey in the country. The first box lacrosse league was started in 1987 and three teams from the league, LCC Radotin, TJ Malesice and LC Plzen, are still active in what is now called the National Box Lacrosse League.
Czech field lacrosse league (called National Field Lacrosse League) commenced in 1992 with the original three teams plus LC Jižní Město. In 2012, teams from outside of the Czech Republic, Slovakia’s Bratislava Tricksters and Austria’s Vienna Monarchs, joined the league.
At the international level, the Czech field lacrosse team made its first appearance in the Manchester World Lacrosse Championship in 1994 and has attended every World Championship since. The Czech Republic was one of the constituting members of the European Lacrosse Federation; the first European Lacrosse Championship was held in Prague in 1995. The Czechs were pretty successful in the first three European Lacrosse Championships, being defeated every year only by England in gold medal games.
Wow, that’s a rich history! What else can you tell us about Czech box lacrosse?
As mentioned above, the Czech players prefer playing indoor lacrosse and based on the last World Indoor Lacrosse Championship in 2011, the Czech Republic has held the title as the best European country after finishing fourth overall, losing to team USA in the bronze medal game.
Lacrosse in the country is based on club teams, playing both box lacrosse and field lacrosse in different periods of the year. Late winter and spring is dedicated to indoor lacrosse, while field lacrosse is played in the summer and fall season.
The clubs play not only in the leagues, they also participate in tournaments like the Ales Hrebesky Memorial for box or the Berlin Open and the Prague Cup for field.
What other events has the Czech Republic competed in internationally?
- Participation in European Lacrosse Championship from 1995 – Present
- World Indoor Lacrosse Championship 2003 – 6th Place
- World Indoor Lacrosse Championship 2007 – 7th Place
- World Indoor Lacrosse Championship 2011 – 4th Place
- World Indoor Lacrosse Championship 2015 – TBD
2015 Players and Staff
It looks like you traveling with a very large group which is great, but why so many players?
The final cut to 23 names will be made just days before the start of the WILC. All candidates will travel abroad and play all exhibition games before start of the WILC. Those who are less fortunate and do not make the team will stay and help the team as a support.
We believe we are bringing not just the team, but also strong group of Czech people with special chemistry!
Which key individuals from your country should lacrosse enthusiasts look toward as the team’s most experienced players for the WILC?
We are bringing good mixture of players from experienced veterans to intrepid youngsters.
Among veterans we can mention 41 year-old Martin Mrlik, who played in the very first Czech Republic at the WLC 1994 in Manchester. He also played at all three previous WILCs!
Also 35 year-old Pavel Došlý, well known as one of the European lacrosse stars, will participate in his fourth WILC!
Czech roster includes also Petr Poupě (27) who on took lacrosse legends during the WILC 2011, European all-star shooter Jiří Košťál (30) and young talent Dominik Pešek (23) who gained rich experience in Canada’s junior leagues.
Among future Czech-stars, we dare to mention defender Jakub Výmola, goalie Tomáš Čekal, Matěj Barák and Jachym Plecháček.
Who is your coaching staff, what is their experience?
Our head coach is none other than NLL Hall of Famer Jim Veltman, who has been involved with Czech team for more than 8 years. Jim has years of NLL coaching and playing under his belt and will be joined by his assistants Troy Cordingley, Roman Pokorný, Pavel Semerák and Jiří Malina. The group will be forced to make tough decisions, because they still have more than 30 names on the list of players.
Is there anything else you would like the worldwide lacrosse community to know about the Czech Republic or the team?
The Czech Republic is likely the only country to which the game of lacrosse was not brought from abroad, it was started by Czech people. During the first few years of box and field lacrosse leagues, there were no players or coaches from lacrosse developed countries.[mks_separator style=”solid” height=”2″]
Thanks to Czech Assistant Coach Pavel Semerák for taking the time for this interview.