The third tournament of the European Lacrosse League season is set to kick off, and Ondrej Mika caught up with us to tell us what’s new this week.This is the third season of the European Lacrosse League, and this season has four competitive teams made up of Slovaks, Czechs, Germans, British and even American players. This week several American players will be joining the league ranks after Canadian Marco Hill joined last week.
“ Ginny Cappiccioni and Patrick Crosby are top class goalies and we expect that they will help to improve the game caliber remarkably, as so will George Castle. Brandon Boccellari who studies in Prague now was definitely an asset for Pietro Filipi team in the Tournament Two.” Mika told us.
One of the big things with a growing international league is the quality of play. Very few players have played pro level (mostly the Americans and Canadians who go and play there) and only a few studs come from Europe. Radek Skala has been a beast all season, and Victoria Shamrocks jr player and fellow Czech Dominik Pesek will be joining the league this week.
“We are pleased with the participating players’ interest.” Mika says. “On the other hand we are not happy that there are only four teams. It is a step backwards since the last year, but it reflects the situation of lacrosse in Europe: everything is done on voluntary basis, nobody is paid for managing and coaching teams and there are not so many enthusiasts who can accept such commitment. Also we are missing some talented Czech and European players who simply cannot spend more four weekends with playing lacrosse and pay for their travel costs. It it typical Catch 22 situation: teams cannot get sponsorships because the sport is too small and sponsor cannot be massively promoted in big media, but the sport cannot improve and get to media without strong sponsors. Also in Europe we need to change players approach to more professional: some of them still do not realize that when they register and get drafted they are expected to work for the team, although they are not paid. We want them to take their participation seriously. But we are pleased that many players are happy and willing to travel from far away to take part in the ELL even in such conditions.”
The league has seen parity already this season with the last place team in the first tournament, the Wolves, finishing first in the second tourney. “We expect that the teams will improve remarkably. It was obvious in previous seasons and also this year the tournament two games were better than in the inaugural tournament.
“Certainly all teams improve as they get more coordinated and players and coached are getting know each other better. The Custodes and Wolves have an advantage that the core players play together regularly. It is obvious in comparison with very “colorful” and international Pietro Filipi team, which consists from talented individuals from many countries.”