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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2010 NLL Preview - West Division

A few weeks ago I put up the poll asking which team will win the National Lacrosse League this year. I had intended to write this post immediately after, but time slipped away from me...
Finally - just in time for the 2010 season to start - I got around to putting together a preview of the various teams. The teams are listed as I expect them to finish in their division. The West Division is up first.

The 2010 season kicks off on January 8 when the Philadelphia Wings visit the Orlando Titans.

-West Division-

1. Washington Stealth
After moving from San Jose, CA to the Seattle, WA suburb of Everett, the Stealth are looking to make a serious impact in the Pacific Northwest. This move is fairly significant for the region since the Vancouver Ravens (2007) and Portland Lumberjax (2009) folded.
The Stealth also look to be the strongest team in the league. Stocked with numerous Canadians, including veteran Jeff Zywicki, they definitely have a firm grasp on the indoor game. However, the roster would be merely average if not for one player - Paul Rabil.

Possibly the best laxer of all time, Rabil currently holds the world record for the fastest shot at 111 mph. Last year the Stealth picked up him with the number two (overall) draft pick and were impressed with his ability to rapidly adapt to the indoor game, something many American players have trouble with. In 16 games, Rabil racked up 16 goals and 18 assists; he grabbed 3 more points in the playoffs. With his rookie season already under his belt, Rabil will continue to grow into a dominate transition player.

2. Minnesota Swarm
The closest thing we have to a home team, the Swarm were supposed to play their first preseason game at Wells Fargo Arena. Unfortunately various circumstances caused this game to be canceled. Despite the bitterness some of us feel towards the team because of this, we continue to support the Swarm.

Last year the Swarm missed the playoffs which makes choosing them to come in third in the West Division seem odd. However, their off season acquisitions lead me to believe that the bugs will become a major force in the NLL. In addition to a solid core of role players, Minnesota made what might be the best pick of the 2009 entry draft by picking up former Duke standout Zack Greer.

Greer made a name for himself at Duke University and was unfortunately a member of the team during the infamous rape scandal. Because the case was dismissed and the accuser discredited, Greer and his teammates were granted an additional year of eligibility. Following his (wrongfully) terminated coach, Mike Pressler, to Bryant University, Greer led the Bulldogs during their first year of Division I lacrosse. As a Canadian, Greer also brings extensive box lacrosse experience with him. Most recently he was a member of the Brooklin Redmen (2007-08) of Major Series Lacrosse. He played junior A box lax with the Whitby Warriors (2001-07). This summer he played his rookie year of Major League Lacrosse with the Long Island Lizards. Greer will bring much needed experience, energy, and firepower to the Swarm.

3. Calgary Roughnecks
Last year's league champions will get knocked down a couple of pegs this year due to the marquee players for Washington and Minnesota. Sure the Riggers knocked both the Mammoth and my number one pick Stealth out of the playoffs last year, but 2010 will be a different story due to the loss of their head coach and an assistant coach to the Toronto Rock.

Calgary also lost a key player in Curt Malawsky to retirement; he will stay on as the Assistant General Manager and Assistant Coach. The remaining bench is filled with Canadian role players but no real stars. Still, this group remains largely unchanged since last year's championship squad. Their slip in the standings is due to the loss of their coach and the moves made by other teams in the West Division.
4. Colorado Mammoth
The league's annual attendance leaders return to the Pepsi Center (where they also beat the attendance of the NHL's Avalanche and the NBA's Nuggets). With a massive crowd, the maroon and black have the best home field advantage in the NLL. Combined with the intelligent ownership of Stan Kroenke (Avalanche, Nuggets, Colorado Rapids, Arsenal FC, St Louis Rams), this team is in the position to make great things happen on a yearly basis. Although they last hoisted the Champions Cup in 2006, the Mammoth are a favorite to contend again this year.

Unlike 2006, the legendary Gary Gait is no longer involved with the team. Long time captain Gavin Prout is also absent having been traded to the Rochester Nighthawks (and subsequently traded to the Edmonton Rush). However the team still features local favorite and longtime Colorado fixture Brian Langtry.

Langtry is a key player not only for the Mammoth, but also Major League Lacrosse's Denver Outlaws. He has been a consistently strong scorer year in and year out; 2009 proved to be his strongest season yet. With 38 goals and 41 assists in 16 games, Langtry is a force to be reckoned with. His contributions will be the source of the Mammoth's success in 2010.

5. Edmonton Rush
This is the single team that I feel will absolutely finish in the same manner as last year. In fact, Edmonton has finished dead last every season since their 2006 inception except for one. They finished above the Portland Lumberjax in 2007; this was their first season with more than four wins (six to be exact). Last year they managed five wins. They have never had a winning season (obviously).

Due to Portland folding in the off season, Edmonton did gain Brodie Merrill. The remarkably transition player was the backbone of the Jax throughout his four year tenure with the team. Grabbing 47 points in 16 games last year, Merrill had his best NLL season since his rookie year (2006). As a d-pole with the Toronto Nationals, Merrill snagged an impressive eight goals and his fourth consecutive defensive player of the year award this summer. Merrill also added back-to-back Major Series Lacrosse championships and Mann Cups with the Brampton Excelsiors to his lacrosse resume over the last two years. Merrill was also an early choice of the Canadian National Team for the 2010 World Championships in Manchester, England.

As impressive as Merrill is, the remaining bench is lacking. With very few changes since last season, Edmonton's chances remain slim. Once again the Rush will fail to hit the 50% mark.

***

The East Division preview will be published in a few days.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Random Update - Sorry

Christmas kept me pretty busy all the way through the weekend. With no box league last week or this week, I have little to report.
However, I am in the process of preparing a preview of the upcoming National Lacrosse League season. Hopefully I can get my West Division picks up tomorrow...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My New Stuff and the Holidays

I have not forgotten about my new stuff from Great Atlantic Lacrosse. I got it last week and have already worn the free hoodie and used the Warrior Kryptolyte shaft. Pictures have been taken; I just have not had time to post them yet. The last two weeks have been extremely busy.

Hopefully by this weekend I can get a post up with my new gear and a breakdown of the prices. I will say that I have to send back two things I ordered because of poor fit. I ordered a Maverik t-shirt because it looked awesome only to be disappointed when I got it. Even though it was a cotton shirt to wear regularly, it fit tighter than my (smaller size) Under Armour compression shirts. Not attractive on a big frame (and overweight) guy like me...

On a side note, the Kryptolyte is awesome. I threw my a Tribe 7 Savage 7 Sling Shute on it. Plays like a dream. Score from distance - well as much distance as you can get in box - with power. Highly recommend this combo. I'll throw up a pick of the complete stick too.

In the spirit of Jesus' birthday, I give you this: Merry Christmas!
Ps. Sorry I forgot to post for Hanukkah this year. Again, I have been very busy and missed it. Sorry. Happy belated Hanukkah!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Cold Days = Hot Deals

Everyone that really knows me know that I only endorse companies and products I trust and enjoy. Sure there are several ads below and not all of them are companies I do a great deal of business with, but they are all highly reputable. A few of the advertisers like Total Hockey,
FinishLine.com
,
Borders.com
,
,
Reebok
,
Top Skate & Surf Brands at Pacsun.com
, &
Soccer.com
are stores that I either frequent now or heavily frequented in the past (online or in person). All of them have proven to be safe reliable, and timely. I have had nothing but good experiences with any of them.
Over the past year, the bulk of my online shopping has been done at a single website:
Lacrosee.com
.
Most of my lax gear has come from Great Atlantic Lacrosse and every time I order I have been extremely happy. Many items feature user ratings and reviews; these are usually pretty accurate and helpful. The standard ground shipping (free for Club Lax members for all orders of $100 or more placed by 12/31/2009) usually skews toward the minimum - my items usually arrive within three business days. There are also all kinds of great deals and free stuff (free Brine Hoodie for all Club Lax orders over $100 through Christmas - code 396912).

I went shopping yesterday with some cash I received for my birthday a couple of weeks ago. My order came to $217.91 but I only paid $136.93 after taking advantage of several deals, including the free Hoodie. And I got free shipping!

While I am not going to post my entire order (yet), one of the items I picked up was a new shaft. Not just any shaft, but a Warrior Kryptolyte (30 inch). This bad boy is the 2008 model and is currently on clearance for $39.99; Club Lax members pay $29.99. Compare that with the original price - and 2009 model's price - of $89.99. A savings of $60 on one of the best shafts of all time? Yes please. I ordered chrome, but the Kryptolytes are also available in Maroon, Blue, Orange, and Green. The Warrior logo design and color is the only difference between the 2008 and 2009 models. Sadly there are no d-poles on clearance...
No doubt the Kryptolyte was the best deal of the day for me, but I feel pretty good about my other purchases as well. Once everything comes in (Wednesday according to UPS), I will get some pics and post them. In the meantime check out Great Atlantic Lacrosse and get shopping!

Save Big with Lacrosse.com's Deal of the Day!

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Post That Never Was...

December 5, 2009 - Des Moines, IA
A near-capacity crowd of 15,000 filled Wells Fargo Arena tonight to watch the Minnesota Swarm host the Colorado Mammoth in the state's first ever professional lacrosse game. Many fans also took in a high school tournament featuring teams from Omaha, NE and Valley High School in West Des Moines. Iowa State University's club lacrosse team hosted the University of Iowa prior to the professional game.
Minnesota, the de facto home team, got things off to an early start with their number one draft pick, Zack Greer, scoring in the opening minute. The former Duke University standout finished the night with four goals and three assists. His play led to standing ovations from the crowd.
Colorado responded with a barrage of their own. Former Hofstra player Brian Langtry netted a hat trick and Jed Prossner (North Carolina) grabbed two goals to lead the Mammoth in scoring. Langtry's third goal led to a Colorado scoring drive in the final period.
It proved to be too little too late. The combined efforts of the Swarm and the stellar goal tending of Nick Patterson carried the blue and gold to an easy 12-8 victory.
Based on the sellout crowd and the overall response, the Swarm have already committed to a return trip next year. "We were really impressed with the turnout in Des Moines," said team vice president Andy Arlotta. "The response to the game is beyond belief. We definitely waited too long to hold our first game at Wells Fargo Arena."
The game opened the preseason for both teams. The Swarm and the Mammoth are members of the National Lacrosse League. The National Lacrosse League was founded in 1986 and is the longest running professional lacrosse league in the world.

Sigh.If only...

Monday, November 23, 2009

12/5 Swarm Game Canceled

NATIONAL LACROSSE LEAGUE EXHIBITION GAME AT WELLS FARGO ARENA CANCELED

November 23, 2009 Global Spectrum, operators of the Iowa Events Center , announced today that the December 5, 2009 National Lacrosse League Exhibition Game at Wells Fargo Arena featuring the Minnesota Swarm vs. the Colorado Mammoth has been cancelled. The cancellation stems from logistical reasons and the two teams will now go head-to-head on Friday, December 18 in Denver , Colorado , home to the Mammoth.

Tickets purchased in advance for the game at Wells Fargo Arena will be refunded in full. For cash orders, please send your tickets to the Iowa Events Center at Attention: Ticket Office/Lacrosse, 730 3rd Street , Des Moines , Iowa 50309 and allow 7 10 days for a reimbursement check to arrive in the mail. For credit orders, the purchasing amount will be refunded on the credit card used to purchase.

For further questions please call 515-564-8000 or visit http://eloqua.link/http:/www.iowaeventscenter.com/.

Anyone that bought tickets from me/Valley: You will receive a full refund. But I need your tickets back in order to do so. Wells Fargo Arena is still holding me accountable for every ticket sold. You will only get your money back when I get your ticket back for this reason. Please bring your tickets to the next box league session on Thursday, December 3, 2009. My wife will be collecting the tickets and giving the refunds.

Needless to say, the high school tournament has been canceled. The Iowa vs Iowa State game was also canceled. All teams were going to play on the Swarm's turf.

Sorry they canceled on us. I was looking forward to this. Thanks for your efforts.
Contact me

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tickets - National Lacrosse Game at Wells Fargo Arena 12/5

I have a block of tickets to the National Lacrosse League game at Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday, December 5, 2009. The Minnesota Swarm host the Colorado Mammoth at 7:00 pm. The Valley Tigers Lacrosse Club has been invited to participate in a tournament before the game. In order to do so, all 50 tickets originally given to me must be sold. Over the last week, I sold nine tickets.
We are selling the tickets for the face value of $21. However, there are no additional ticket fees that come with online purchases. Also, most discounts through employers only end up negating the additional fee. In our case, $5 of every ticket sold goes to the Valley team - which is primarily funded through player dues - to secure indoor practice time this spring. Practice space is limited this spring so we must rent space for preseason training. The team is not funded by the school (other than uniforms).
In addition to the high school tournament and the National Lacrosse League game, Iowa State will host Iowa on the turf as the school's respective lacrosse clubs square off on the box turf for the first time. Admission to the high school and college games is included with your purchase of the NLL tickets.Get your friends, family, neighbors or whatever to buy tickets. Bringing a large crowd will increase our chances of hosting a game again next year. I can get additional tickets if needed. Wells Fargo Arena is a great place to watch hockey, let's turn it into a real House of Lax as well.
Your help is greatly appreciated! The game will be awesome!
I must have all of the money for the tickets no later than Thursday, December 3, 2009. I will be our box lacrosse league games that night. We can make arrangements at other times; please contact me beforehand. I cannot/will not release tickets until I have received your payment.
***

Valley players that wish to participate in the tournament need to buy/sell at least four (4) tickets. Every player is encouraged to sell as many tickets as possible as there is a chance that we may be able to field two squads if needed (100 tickets required). As of right now, there are two combined teams from the our league confirmed to be participating. The final team will either be comprised mainly of Black Knights players (based on discussions with the WFA staff), a third combined team from Omaha, or a second Valley team.
This is a unique opportunity. The games will be earlier in the afternoon but the final game will be immediately following the Swarm game. There will also be a professional clinic put on by members of the Swarm.
***
Tentative Schedule for Game Day
12:00 High School Tournament - Game 1
1:00 High School Tournament - Game 2
2:00 High School Tournament - Game 3
3:00 Iowa vs Iowa State
4:00 Swarm Lax Clinic
5:00 Pregame warm ups, dance team, etc.
7:00 Mammoth vs Swarm
9:30 High School Tournament Game 4/Championship

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Gritty Game

I just got home from hockey. We broke our losing streak with a tough, physical game against a frustrated Alien team. A couple of tempers got out of hand, but in the end we got back into the game and won 3-0.
God my legs are tired...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tribe 7 Update

A little change has been made at Tribe 7 since last week. The ThunderStick is now $60.00 but they are now offering free shipping. They have added a custom stringing option called the "SlingShute Arrow" at no additional charge.

A new carbon composite shaft has also been introduced. It is called the "Checkmate" and currently sells for $39.99.
They are introducing a pinched version of the current Savage 7 at the end of the month. Pricing information for the Optimus 7 is not yet listed, but expect in the same ballpark as the Savage 7 ($35 unstrung/$45 strung).

Hockey Night in Iowa

Tonight my adult hockey team, Cup o Kryptonite, plays at 10:00 pm. After a three game winning streak, we have hit the skids and lost the last three. Tonight we face Alien Hockey, whom we beat 7-1 in our last meeting.
Several things have worked against us in the last few weeks, most notably player absences. Hopefully tonight we will have a fairly full roster and our drive will have come back to us. We are also hoping that the late start time will have minimal effect on our players' energy levels. Defeating the commissioner's team would certainly boost our morale and get us back into the spirit of winning.
***
Tomorrow is the inaugural game of box lacrosse in Des Moines! Hopefully I am not too exhausted to make some decent predictions...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Valley Went 2-2 Yesterday

The Valley Tigers Lacrosse Club went headed to Lincoln yesterday for the Rampage Fall Classic. Rescheduled from October 10 due to snow, this was Valley second trip to Lincoln for fall ball.
On October 10, we had 20 guys coming with us. Yesterday only 13 could make it. More than half of yesterday's team were underclassmen. Only one team captain, and three seniors total made the trip. We also lacked our starting varsity goalie.
Luckily the guys that did go stepped their games up. Back up goalie Hunter Couch, in particular, had a huge day. Facing 45 shots on the day, he only let in 16. Most of the shots taken and scored were in the final game when the team as a whole was simply exhausted. Couch stood firm and still managed a 63% save percentage in that game. Bravo to Sugar Rush.
Many new players made their Valley debut yesterday. Let me be the first to say that the spring season looks bright.
Now for a quick recap:
Game 1 saw us against the Rampage. Lincoln narrowly lost to defending champion, Millard West, 6-4 in their first game. Apparently the home team was on their game yesterday. After they got ahead early, we came back to beat Lincoln 4-2.
Our second game was against a combined team featuring Westside and our heated rivals, River City. After allowing an early goal, Valley turned up the heat to win 11-4. This makes our fourth victory over the Black Knights in as many meetings.
Following a lunch break, we faced perennial powerhouse Creighton Prep in our third game. Prep's bench was twice as deep as ours and featured significant experience. After an early ejection of both a Bluejay and our team captain, Cam Bostwick, we dug in. Having gone down 3-0 by halftime, the Tigers dug in our heals and fought back to narrowly lose 3-2. Even without their most established leader on their field, our boys came together and persevered. This game exemplified a "quality loss."
Unfortunately our final game saw a Valley team with no energy left. The early morning drive combined with the lack of depth and dry weather depleted what little oomph remained. Despite high levels of fatigue, everyone came back and fought as hard as they could. All of our time-outs were used just to allow the guys to catch their breath. After fighting against the returning champs and their deep bench, we ended up with a 7-4 loss. Never in my life had I witnessed a team give their all and not give up when everything was against their favor. This game made me proud to be associated with the team.
I also want to share my thanks to the coach of Millard West. When one of our underclassmen got hurt late in the game, the coach showed a lot of class by calling a time-out. This is what lacrosse is all about. Thanks, coach.
***
Valley will play next on Tuesday, November 10 at Valley Stadium. The scrimmage will start at 6:30 pm and is open to the public.
***
The Box Lacrosse League begins this Thursday at 7:00 pm. Drake and ISU play in the first game. The Demons will host Valley in the second.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Lincoln Tourney - Take 2

Tomorrow morning the Valley Tigers Lacrosse Club heads to Lincoln, NE to make up the tournament originally scheduled for October 10. Because of work, I still have not made a single fall practice beyond the waning days of the summer league. Although to be fair at least two practices were missed because of rain and cancellations. I have not seen the team lately but am confident that we will be victorious in Nebraska tomorrow.
Unlike last time, snow is not in the forecast. The day looks to be fairly nice and warm. I am looking forward to it.
Reminder, the box league starts on Thursday night. ISU takes on Drake at 7 and Valley faces the Demons at 8. Here's to hoping that the league has a smooth start!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

With the first night of the Central Iowa Lacrosse Association's inaugural season of Box Lacrosse rapidly approaching, I have to admit that I am getting pretty darned excited. Now that the stressful part is done (aka making sure we have enough money), all I can think about are the games themselves. My wife is sick of hearing me talk about playing and, to a lesser extent, reffing the games.
With that I have been thinking about the games and the season as a whole. I wonder how the whole thing will turn out. Which team will win it all and which team will be sent to the minors? When I made the schedule, I thought about which games will be the most competitive. I think I created a fairly balanced league, but even the best laid plans can fail.
My friend Joe, of Alien Hockey fame, runs the adult hockey league I play in. Every week he makes predictions - usually using absurd criteria - for that week's games. Lately Joe has been on a tear, not only predicting the winner, but the goal differential. In tribute to everything Joe has done with hockey, which I hope to emulate with lax, I am toying with the idea of making weekly predictions for the box league. As they say, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."
With that, I ask all of you who will win the league. Will it be Drake, composed of college guys and anchored by a former Ithaca College (NCLL) goalie? Maybe ISU with its core of alumni? The youth of Valley? The melting pot of experience among the Demons? The poll is open now, my prediction will come next week...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Box League Rosters Posted!

Check them out here.
The rosters are up. The schedule is up. The dues are collected. We are ready for the league to begin next Thursday!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tribe 7 Lacrosse Sticks

Check it out. This is the Savage 7 head and Thunder Shaft from Tribe 7 Lacrosse. The complete package (complete with Jimalax hard mesh) is known as the Thunder Stick and costs a mere $49.99. Considering most 7075 titanium alloys (Brine F22 & Swizzle, Reebok 7K Zendium, etc.) cost more than $80 without a head, this is a steal!After receiving the sticks, I gave one to Coach Zach as a token of my appreciation for all he has done to get me involved with Valley and for teaching me the game. I know that the local lax scene would not be where it is today without his help. Neither of us could decide which stick we like better (the neon is uber bad ass is person); ultimately my wife chose the black stick for me.
All of the pictures were taken the night that I got the sticks in the mail. I took more pics of the neon mesh because it showed up better on camera. The details make this an odd looking stick, but its specs conform to both the current NFHS and 2010 NCAA rules. This makes the Thunder Stick an even better value. To order one, visit Tribe 7 Lacrosse today.
I got these on October 9. I apologize for not getting the pictures up sooner, but I have had some stuff on my plate.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Happy Anniversary!!!!

Wow!
A year has passed since I started this blog and officially declared my desire to bring lacrosse to Des Moines. I never would have imagined that things would be as crazy as they are now. I never even thought about making a real website.
All I hoped for was that I could find a couple of guys that wanted to toss a lacrosse ball around. Eventually we would get new guys out and we would slowly build something. Maybe in a few years we could get a team together to play in the GPLL or something or at least have some short field box-style games.
Then things took off rapidly. I got hooked up with the then-recently established Valley/Waukee team (now officially Valley Tigers Lacrosse Club). That lead to a rapid education in the game and a gig as a volunteer assistant coach. Soon after a modest number of adults showed interest and I set up Toss Around events when Valley was not playing.
When summer came, we had enough guys to play lax on Thursdays and Saturdays for a while. Eventually schedules caused us to drop to Thursday nights only, but we still managed to get fairly decent numbers for most of the summer. As more adults came out, we saw more high school players and even some junior high kids got into the mix.
With summer turning into fall, the summer league wrapped up and Valley practices began in earnest. A rescheduled fall ball tournament in Lincoln looms ahead of us as does a scrimmage game at Valley Stadium. The city's first ever box lacrosse league launches in just under two weeks on November 5. Topping it all off, Wells Fargo Arena will host a National Lacrosse League preseason game between the Minnesota Swarm and Colorado Mammoth a month later on December 5.
Although I have had little to do with it, the women's game is starting to take off here as well. We will continue to support their efforts and may be able to bring the high school team into the Valley club program.
As we officially head into the second year of the Central Iowa Lacrosse Association, steps are underway to improve the organization as a whole and continue spreading the sport through the community. With the help of the NLL game, we hope to further increase overall participation and are making plans for a potential middle school program. The field league should be more structured next summer, but we will also plan to have regular pickup games as well. If things continue at this pace, additional high school club programs should not be too far off...
Here is to hoping that 2010 is even more productive than this year was!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Random Update - Hockey League

My adult hockey league started at Buccaneer Arena a little over a month ago but I have been too busy with various lacrosse things (or lazy) to post about it.
In my first game on September 16, I could feel my long absence from the ice. Our whole team seemed as rocky as I felt and we fell to Yankee Doodle Dandee (Tattoo) Voodoo 6-3. On the winning team was my future box league teammate, Caleb Harrelson.
The next week I felt about 500% more confident on the ice and our team came together after the humbling loss in week one. We destroyed an utterly stacked Puck Hawgs team 8-3.
Week three featured the highly anticipated match up against a well established Alien team. League commissioner Joe Bafia loaded his roster with the best players available. It shocked everyone when we skated away with a 7-1 victory.
A large win was found again in week four against Red Alert, a team of mostly newcomers. We beat the scarlet skaters 8-1.
Spirits were high as we went into last week's game against Irwins. With only the initial loss to YDD holding us back, we figured our recent cohesiveness would easily carry us past the winless men in yellow. Yet we seemed to be lacking something as we went down 3-2.
After handing Irwins their first win of the season, our determination was high as we faced Caleb's YDD for the second time this season. When our bench was fairly full and theirs contained only three subs, we knew the game was in the bag. Unfortunately somebody forgot to tell them that. The game was a back and forth battle as we allowed too many shots from the slot and their defense tightened. I took a season high 12 (or so) shots - most of which came close to scoring from the face off circle - but came up empty. With a tie score in the closing minutes of the third period, it looked like a shoot out was imminent. However, a goal with 45 seconds left gave YDD their second victory against us.
Just like last week, we knew something was amiss. Both games were noted for the absence of sponsor/captain, Matt, and the team's heart and soul, Mike. Hopefully whichever man is the missing cog returns next week. Or both of them; yeah that works too.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Final Stages for Fall Preparation

1. The box league is all but ready to go. I deposited the cash yesterday and will be paying the Soccer House shortly. I sent out the rosters and schedule as they look right now. After I review the feedback, I should be able to settle on the final versions of each. My goal is to have the final versions sent out and posted by midweek next week. Hopefully no more last minute issues arise...
2. The Lincoln Rampage tournament was cancelled on October 10 due to snow. It has been rescheduled for Halloween. We have an earlier start time, but that means that we will be back home earlier. Preparing for this tournament has been frustrating for me since I have been unable to attend practice due to work (also a frustration for collecting dues).
3. Preparations are being finalized for an outdoor scrimmage at Valley Stadium in early November. This may be an Orange vs White game or possibly a Valley vs ISU game. Details forthcoming...
4. We are drawing nearer to the National Lacrosse League's debut at Wells Fargo Arena. I am still working with the Events Center staff to figure out how we will be involved. Various things ranging from a Swarm clinic to a high school tournament to Valley playing a short demonstration game have been discussed. Hopefully I will have more information soon. There was also a discussion about a Valley fundraiser, but that looks dead in the water. I do have discount coupons and many metro area companies are offering discounted tickets. Regardless, the game will be awesome.

By the way, here is the link to the Google Map to the Soccer House.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Box Lax - Coming Together

I have almost everybody's money for the inaugural box lacrosse season. A couple of people contacted me yesterday so i know their cash is coming in. A couple more are question marks. Aside from the people I talked to yesterday, the league still has room for a few more field players. If you are interested, contact me ASAP and complete the registration info. If you have mailed your payment and have not contacted me or been contacted by me, it is essential that you let me know it has been sent. I plan to turn off the Paypal on Sunday night and will return all late registrations once the league is full...
For everybody that has paid: I plan to email the preliminary schedule and possibly the rosters by the end of the weekend. I have to do some tweaking due to winter break for the college kids, but the number of games will remain unchanged. The rosters are still beign finalized for the Demons & Valley. We are trying to decide if we should split the high schoolers and adults between the teams or not. Feedback?

Monday, October 12, 2009

My Prediction Might Be Closer Than I Realized

Last winter, not long after I started this blog, I wrote a series about mainstream sports companies moving to lacrosse. Most of this was speculation about the next brand that could move into lax, but I also talked about some established brands. By now everybody knows that Reebok, Nike, and Adidas have successfully debuted their equipment.

With an exclusive NLL deal, Reebok gets fairly constant feedback and their gear is held in high regard. Having sampled some via Valley team members, I have to say that their lax gear is as good as, if not better than, their hockey equipment.

All of Nike's gear is produced by STX. This gives Nike an immediate competitive advantage as they did not waste time on research and development and were able to immediately jump into the game. Their products made their official onfield debut during the 2009 NCAA championships on a few players at Cornell, Hopkins, and Syracuse. All three schools have endorsement deals with both Nike and STX. Expect this trend to continue. Rumors are also swirling that the G22 line will be axed by STX to make Nike their premier line.

Adidas launched a subpar line to negative reviews. Strong movements on the contract and endorsement side of things helped bring Adidas to the forefront. To match these moves, the company has increased the look and quality of their gear with the new John Grant Jr line. Much like Nike, expect Adidas gear on NCAA teams sooner rather than later.

Now I want to move back to one of the companies I focused on during my speculation - Easton. I gave a few reasons why Easton is poised to move into lacrosse. Perhaps most encouraging is their extremely popular hockey pads, gloves, and equipment. Their extensive knowledge and innovative use of aluminum alloys and composite materials in their arrow, baseball and softball bats, and hockey sticks also indicates a strong potential to produce quality lacrosse equipment.
What I did not realize at the time of my writing was the fact the Easton is sort of involved in lacrosse already. Ok, technically Easton is not involved, but its corporate sibling is. Through the investment group, Fenway Partners, corporate acquisitions brought Easton Sports, Bell Sports, and Riddell Sports Group together in 2006. Riddell is a renown producer of quality lacrosse helmets and maker of pads and gloves under the Onyx name (formerly Riddell and Shamrock). while the pads are less than popular, the helmets are used by many NCAA and MCLA teams, and were formerly worn by team USA (Warrior now has the national team's contract).

What does this mean? Considering the movement of the major players to lax, it only makes sense for Easton to join them. Combining the lax resources of Riddell/Onyx with the hockey experience of Easton would be the most practical move. Doing so would give Easton a couple of options. First they could build upon their strong baseball and hockey reputation to make themselves a premium lacrosse brand out of the gate - similar to Reebok's approach. Second, they could continue to utilize the Onyx brand as a lower-priced entry point for beginners. The relationship would be more defined that that of Nike/STX, Warrior/Brine, and Adidas/Reebok. This might give Easton a clear advantage in terms of brand perception.

Easton is also in a unique position to revolutionize the lacrosse helmet market. Their hockey helmet has only been available to the general public for little over a year and has already become one of the top sellers. Its primary rival, the Mission Intake, is no longer being produced and the current crop of Reebok, CCM, and Bauer lids are far less inspired. Strengthening their ability to take the helmet market by force is the deeper corporate portfolio. In addition to Riddell, Easton would have access to Bell's technologies. Bell is the top manufacturer for extreme sports helmets. It is not hard to imagine a slew of new models from this company taking on Cascade more successfully than its current offerings.

Will an Easton rebrand happen? Most likely. It is just a matter of when, not if.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I Hate Global Warming

I mean, global warming is the reason for such heavy snow in the early part of October, right? The month is not half over so global warming is the only plausible reason for it to be 30 and snowing instead of 55 and raining, right? They only hand out Nobel prizes for things that actually happen, right? Ignoring this global warming-caused unseasonal snow would be acknowledging that the whole thing is an inconvenient truth, right?
Because of what I will refer to as Al Gore's Inconvenient Weather, Valley's lacrosse tournament in Lincoln was canceled/postponed. Unfortunately we all got up early, met at Southwoods, and started heading west. Luckily one of the other coaches (thanks, Parker) caught us before we were out of Dallas County. We turned around and headed back to West Des Moines. I am upset for a lot of reasons.
1. We did not have out lacrosse tournament today. We have been preparing for this tournament since school started. Zach has been exclusively focused on it for a couple of months. I have been looking forward to it - this was the highlight of my fall. I love coaching lax almost as much as playing and love watching lax almost as much as coaching. As a coach, I love the opportunities to interact with my players and scout opposing teams. Now that is down the crapper today.
2. I still woke up extremely early (5:30) on a Saturday. I did nothing last night to ensure a good night's sleep since I knew I had a full day ahead of me. Waking up early on Saturday is like pounding Jaeger in church on Christmas - it's just not right.
3. I went out in the snow for nothing. Between getting gas, figuring out who is riding with whom, talking to parents and players, and other miscellaneous crap, I probably spent an hour outside this morning. It is freaking cold.
4. Mostly I am upset that our ignorance of Mr. Gore's incredibly entertaining Nobel-prize winning documentary caused us to make it snow in October. If only we had listed to the former Vice President earlier, perhaps we would be wearing flip flops and bard shorts now. I am sorry sorry Mr. Gore; I will do my part to stop global warming so that we never have to deal with early October snow again!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Adidas Ups Their Game

Although the prices has not yet been released, the new 2009 John Grant Jr line of Adidas gear is officially here. The Adidas lacrosse website has pics of the new gear. I have to admit that it looks great both in terms of style and function. Unlike their first line of equipment, Adidas looks to have gotten this gear right - supposedly with JGJ's input. Either way, the new gear definitely demonstrates that Adidas has arrived...


Some MCLA programs, notably Michigan, already use Adidas gear. Expect the trefoil's NCAA clubs to start using these products as well. With Notre Dame as a marquee client in every other sport - and the fact that the Irish were unhappy with Michigan's more comprehensive deal - expect them to be among the first to don the new stuff. Brown and the other Adidas programs will probably start picking it up as well. I would wager that the Adidas sponsored colleges will switch to Adidas gear as soon as their current equipment deals are up.
The door may also open for their corporate holding, Reebok, to supply these teams. This happens already in NCAA hockey. Adidas, Wisconsin, Michigan, and the other Adidas sponsored schools wear Reebok and CCM gear with their Adidas jerseys.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Hold Up on Your WFA Swarm Tickets!!!!!

Ok, I know I posted some info just the other day about the tickets for the Swarm game at Wells Fargo Arena, but hold off on your purchases, please! I spoke briefly with one of my Iowa Events Center contacts earlier today and it looks like something awesome is in the pipeline. I have a quick meeting with both of my contacts this evening right after work to set up a fundraising ticket package for the Valley Tigers Lacrosse team!
In addition, WFA wants to host a high school box lacrosse tournament before the Swarm game! They are interested in having 6-8 teams (including Valley) participate. I will spreading the word to the Nebraska League coaches this evening when I have the full details. My contact at the Swarm mentioned that a few high school teams up north were interested in coming to Des Moines for the game, so there is a possibility that they may take part as well! Do not forget about the possibility of a Kansas City team or two...
The tournament will be in addition to the Swarm vs Mammoth and Iowa State vs Iowa games and a lacrosse clinic put on by the Swarm!
As soon as I get the full information and get home, I will post it and send out what I can. This is exciting news and will only help to spread the game in the metro!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

National Lacrosse League: Minnesota Swarm vs. Colorado Mammoth

The National Lacrosse League is taking Wells Fargo Arena by Swarm!The National Lacrosse League is visiting Des Moines for the first time as the Minnesota Swarm take on the Colorado Mammoth in a NLL exhibition faceoff. The two teams will prepare for the 2010 season with this Western Division matchup. The game starts at 7:00 pm.
Tickets, priced at $41, $31, $21, and $11, are on sale now and can be purchased through the Wells Fargo Arena Ticket Office, all Dahl’s Foods locations, online at www.dahlstickets.com, or by phone at 1-866-55-DAHLS. Interested groups of 10 or more can receive a $5 off discount on all price levels. For more information on group discounts, contact Jason Evans at 515-564-8146 or via email. Let him know that you are part of the CILA/Valley group.
- or -
Show your loyalty and ask how you can purchase Iowa or Iowa State tickets. Both schools are selling tickets at special prices as part of a fundraiser. You can also contact the Hawkeyes or Cyclones directly about purchasing tickets. They will face off at 3:00 pm.

Visit the Iowa Events Center homepage to learn more!

I also have a few fliers (ok 100) that I can give out. However, they are making the trip to Lincoln this Saturday - Valley has a fall ball tourney. I can get more from the Events Center as needed.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Amazing Things Happening Here - Women

First of all, I want to thank Jaacki McKinney for her efforts in getting the girls game off the ground in the metro. Jaacki has taken over for Robyn Crisp, whose family moved back to Delaware. Jaacki has made some impressive strides so far this fall.
There was a girls' lacrosse meeting in Waukee on Wednesday. Thirty-two girls showed up! That is impressive by itself, but the school advisor informed Jaacki that even more girls asked about lacrosse on Thursday morning. Unlike our boys' program (unfortunately), they have enough participants from one school to fill the team.
The girls' team will compete against Omaha teams, and possibly Kansas City teams, this spring. anyone interested in learning to play or coach the girls' game - regardless of age - can attend and participate in their practices. Jaacki is hopefully that the Waukee girls can lead to increased interest from girls at other schools. As the interest is growing, there is a strong possibility that another coach will spring from the local ranks to form a second team.
Jaacki is also spearheading a group of women to field a post-collegiate team. This team would play in regional tournaments and possibly scrimmage against the Waukee team. All of this information -and more- will be added to the Central Iowa Lacrosse Association website as soon as I get the chance!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Anyone Want to Take a Road Trip?

By now most of you know that the Minnesota Swarm of the National Lacrosse League are coming to Wells Fargo Arena on December 5, 2009. I have been working with the team and the arena to get on the turf for an intra-squad scrimmage and am awaiting that information.
The Swarm would also like for us to come up to the Twin Cities to take in a game at their home facility, the Excel Energy Center. They have offered let Valley play a local team - Minnesota officially sanctions lacrosse, by the way - before the Swarm game. To do this, we will have to meet some criteria.

1. Valley has been given the option of picking a Saturday home game. Our options are Feb 13 and Feb 20. The February dates will work better with Valley's spring schedule.
2. Valley can choose between playing at 2 pm or 4 pm. The Swarm games start at 7:35 pm.
3. Valley has to sell a specific number of tickets to play. 2 pm = 75 tickets; 4 pm = 100 tickets.
4. Tickets will be $17-24 each. Many teams use ticket sales as a fundraiser. If Valley does, we would put the money in the team account to cover tournament fees, extra equipment, uniforms, etc. I will have to put a deposit down for the tickets beforehand.
5. Valley's name will be announced on the scoreboard during the Swarm game.
6. Valley would get to play a Minnesota team on the turf.

I would like to know if this is something that enough people are interested in. Basically we would need 10-15 Valley guys to play. And we would need to sell at least 75 tickets total. Plus we will need to arrange transportation (car pool?) to and from the Twin Cities. This is all tentative as we weigh our options. Keep in mind that this would be a late night; we would not leave the Twin Cities until after 10:00 pm. Right now I am merely trying to determine interest.

Please respond as soon as you can. This is be a good opportunity for a road trip to watch Valley play non conference opponents and to catch a professional lacrosse game.

The information in this post pertains to playing in Minnesota email only! Wells Fargo Arena information is still being finalized.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Summer Is Over - SOLL Ends Soon

With the sunsets coming upon us earlier every night, I realize that my days of field lacrosse are nearing their completion. The Summer Open Lacrosse League was scheduled to allow working guys like myself to get out and play a game once a week. That system worked great until nature started workign against us. Now that it is dark by 8:00 pm, I recognize that playing all the way until 7:30 pm is becoming harder and harder.
To stretch things out as long as possible, I have decided that the SOLL will continue up to Valley's fall ball tournament in Lincoln on Saturday, October 10. That means that the final night of the Summer Open Lacrosse League will be Thursday, October 8. After that, Zach may decide to have Valley practices on Thursday nights, but nothing is certain.
This will give the casual laxers about a month off before the Open Box Lacrosse League starts up at the Soccer House. Registration for the OBLL is currently open and will remain open through Thursday, October 15 - one week from the final night of the outdoor league. The OBLL will feature rostered teams, scheduled teams, and a variety of competition. Unlike the summer league, the box league will not have pick up sessions!
Next year's summer league will most likely mirror the box league's structure. Our goal going forward is to have an organized, expanding, and stable league. Education and fun will always be at the center of our lacrosse programs. Let me know if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions to further the growth of lacrosse in the metro and the state.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Iceman Cometh

Wednesday night sees my triumphant return to Adult recreational hockey. This year I will join many of my friends, former teammates, and competitors in a new league at Buccaneer Arena on Wednesday night. Once again I will play for the team sponsored by Cup O Kryptonite - the best coffee shop in town; they also happen to be the best comic store in the city.
Although I played with the same group last year at Wells Fargo Arena, our games were spread out sporadically. The irregular schedule combined with the small number of games was not very satisfying. Thankfully I will have a full slate that runs all the way to May 19. Our league commissioner, Joe Bafia, dedicated our trophy to a fellow adult league player that passed away on the ice earlier this year. It is a very noble tribute and we will be proud to hoist the Fleming Cup this May.
Cup O Kryptonite Hockey Schedule:
September 16 vs YDD Tattoo 9pm
September 23 vs Puck Hawgs 9pm
September 30 vs Alien 9pm
October 7 vs Red Alert 9pm
October 14 vs Irwins 7:30pm
October 21 vs YDD 10:30pm
October 28 vs PH 10:30pm
November 4 vs Alien 10:30pm
November 11 vs RA 10:30pm
November 18 vs Irwins 9pm
December 2 vs YDD 7:30pm
December 9 vs PH 7:30pm
December 16 vs Alien 7:30pm
December 23 vs RA 7:30pm
January 6 vs Irwins 10:30pm
January 13vs YDD 9pm
January 20 vs PH 9pm
January 27 vs Alien 9pm
February 3 vs RA 9pm
February 17 vs Irwins 7:30pm
February 24 vs YDD 10:30pm
March 3 vs PH 10:30pm
March 10 vs Alien 10:30pm
March 17 vs RA 10:30pm
March 24 vs Irwins 9pm
March 31 vs YDD 6:30pm
April 7 vs PH 6:30pm
April 14 vs Alien 6:30pm
April 12 vs RA 6:30pm
April 28 vs Irwins 9:30pm
May 5 PLAYOFFS
May 12 PLAYOFFS
May 19 PLAYOFFS

*The colors shown on the schedule do not represent the actual teams' colors.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Iowa at ISU

Yeah, yeah, you know the annual game is this Saturday in Ames and kicks off at 11:00 am. You probably know that after the teams' openers, this could be anyone's ballgame. While I am sure UNI is significantly better than North Dakota State, the Cyclones definitely looked better than the Hawkeyes last week. A top 25 FBS team should fare well against a FCS regardless of who it is; no matter how good UNI is in their division of football, Iowa should have destroyed them.
What does that mean for a game that often defies the teams' records on a yearly basis? Not much. Regardless, the game should be awesome. I am calling the Cyclones by three.
More important to my mission of spreading lax across the state is the game taking place Saturday evening. ISU is hosting Iowa at 5:00 pm. This fall ball game is meaningless in the bigger picture. It does, however, provide the first glimpse of the teams newest players. Will former Valley players Luc Jacobs (Iowa) and Ben Couch (ISU) suit up for Saturday's game? A fall game would be the best time to try them out...

Tribe 7