In Lacrosse We Trust was never intended to become
the best lacrosse website ever made what it is today. When I began the website as a Blogspot site at 13 years old, I won’t lie, I saw lacrosse as a tool, as my way into the sports media industry. I wanted to be a baseball writer, and as a homeschooled and confused child there was no possible way to find a niche there. Lacrosse was my way in.
In that way I have to thank lacrosse for so many things, because if it was not for ILWT, so many things never would have happened. Firstly, I never would have met so many great people and made so many friends in lacrosse and in sports. I never would have found my passion or gained the confidence as a site leader. I don’t know if I even would have ended up at Boston University.
In that way, ILWT did exactly what I intended for it to do. It changed everything and I feel so lucky that it has. When I began the blog there was one goal; get on SBNation, which to me was the dream sports media outlet. It took nine months before the website was accepted as a part of their network, which is what this five year anniversary is.
From there ILWT outgrew its bounds and became independent and has been that way since 2012, but I have to thank Tyler Blezenski and SBNation for launching what this ended up becoming.
Enough talking about me because you don’t read this website for that (thank you for reading this website). I want to revisit the past five years in lacrosse, because a lot has happened, but first I need to look at some of the people that have made this operation happen.
The Alumni and Current ILWTers
I have had four co-managers in the history of this site and one editor. My first co-manager was Zach Zielonka, who also ran the Buffalo Sabres blog at SBNation. After him was Mike Wilson, now the Saskatchewan Rush beat writer at NLL.com. Then it was Jack Goods, who is now a student at Marquette University. Currently Ian Neadle is the co-manager. All four have made this website what it is by being a voice of reason when I wanted to just take over the Internet.
Jim Flannery, our Calgary Roughnecks beat writer and NLL columnist, is also the editor and he is what makes the sentences on this website represent English. Without Jim I would be editing, and no one wants that.
You might recognize some of the names here because these people went on to do great things in lacrosse and in sports media, and I couldn’t be more proud for ILWT to have been a stop along the way:
Graeme Perrow, Matt Caruk, Bryan Reynolds, Chris White, Dan Shirley, Mike Mackley, Brendan Chamberlain, Kat Hassenaur Cornetta, Di Miller, Tim Thomas, Thomas Bovee, Josiah Kaahn, Scott Ludwig, Scott Arnold, Paul Weiss, Jeff Dorst, Dan Kopf, Erik Tiner, Glen Carey, Cameron Burnside, Randy Maykrantz, Cam Ferguson, Ian Pierno, Phil Shore, Jason Myers, Ryan Conwell, Dave Lisi, Devon Oldford, Dallas Brown, Kevin Iwanusa, David Ashby, Justin Millerson, Chris Goldberg, Booker Corrigan, Kerri Schreiber, Kayleigh Hagenbuch, Nicole Sulinski, Charles Wanner, Pete Crowley, Bill Kiser, John Iadevaia, Joe Keegan, Zach Richards, Ran Kirby, Joe Eck, Dave Giancola, Nate Brown, Jordan Hernandez, Kris Partington, Steve Nicholls, Jordan Sakal, Damon Gray.
And of course, the current staff:
Justin LaFleur, Dan Pattison, Ryan Zunner, Anna Taylor, Agnes Reis, Alex Uruqhart, Kyle Fletcher, Chris Jaztresembski, Rocco Granato, Andrew Goldberg, Andrew Baker, Kris Handley, Owen Munro, Pat Gregoire, Brendan Staudt, George Fourlaris, Jeff Werner, Miles McQuinn, Paul Schwedelson, Brian Davies, James Simmons, Brian McLoughlin, Chris Vale, Max Belmont, Jonaleah Carrow, Joe Askerberg, and Brendan McDaniels.
The Last Five Years
National Lacrosse League
Toronto Rock (2011), Rochester Knighthawks (2012, 2013, 2014), Edmonton Rush (2015). The past half-decade has been marked by the dynasty of the Rochester Knighthawks.
John Tavares of the Buffalo Bandits became the first player to ever score 700 goals in 2011.
In 2012, John Grant Jr. broke the league’s all-time record with 116 points in a single season. Garrett Billings shattered the record for most assists in a season with 82. Colin Doyle’s streak of 188 straight games was snapped in 2012.
In 2015, Shawn Evans broke the record for most points in a single season with 130. This was in the second season where 18 regular season games were played compared to 16.
In 2011, Anthony Cosmo was traded from the Minnesota Swarm to the Buffalo Bandits for three first round picks.
In 2013, Dan Dawson was traded to the Rochester Knighthawks along with his brother Paul, with Paul Rabil, Jordan Hall, and Joel White being sent to the Philadelphia Wings.
Before the 2015 season Johnny Powless was traded from the Rochester Knighthawks to the Vancouver Stealth for the second overall pick, which became Jeremy Noble. When Noble did not report to Rochester, he was traded to Colorado. Powless was later traded from Vancouver to the Minnesota Swarm for Logan Schuss.
Garrett Billings, a year after tearing his ACL when he was on pace to break the single season points record, was traded from the Toronto Rock to the New England Black Wolves at the 2015 trade deadline. That offseason, New England traded Billings to Vancouver for Tyler Digby, who went to Calgary for Shawn Evans to arrive in New England. The Black Wolves also reacquired Kevin Crowley from Toronto, whom they had traded to get Billings in the first place.
Cody Jamieson signed the longest deal in NLL history when he signed a ten-year agreement with the Rochester Knighthawks.
Casey Powell bounced between Rochester and Colorado but has not played in the NLL since 2012. Meanwhile, Paul Rabil has not played in the NLL since 2011, when he was traded from Philadelphia to Rochester.
Folded are the Boston Blazers, but they remain the only team to fold in the last five seasons. Dan Dawson became the first player ever to be the first overall pick in three dispersal drafts.
Relocated are the Philadelphia Wings (New England), Minnesota Swarm (Georgia), Edmonton Rush (Saskatchewan), and Washington Stealth (Vancouver).
The Stealth relocated one year after being forced to play a home championship game in Langley, British Columbia, due to a conflict at their home arena in Everett, Washington.
The Calgary Roughnecks almost folded midway through the 2011 season before the Calgary Flames took ownership of the team. They are the only team to change owners in the past five years.
George Daniel remained the commissioner of the NLL until just three weeks ago.
In 2012, the Philadelphia Wings played a game against the Buffalo Bandits using Twitter handles as the names on the back of their jerseys.
In 2013, Steve Dietrich traded for himself as his rights belonged to the Toronto Rock and he needed a third string goaltender for his Bandits.
In 2014, the NLL expanded to 18 game regular seasons. This came before the league and the player’s association coming to an agreement on a new CBA in late 2013 that would last through 2020. A new playoff format was introduced, that used two-game series and used a “mini game” if the games ended in a tie. This format was not used in the 2015 Champion’s Cup.
In 2014, the Edmonton Rush set a new league record by starting their season 14-0.
After having television deals with CBS Sports Network and Universal Sports Network, the league currently does not have a TV agreement.
The NLL draft has been held in Oakville, Ontario since 2012 when the Toronto Rock debuted their athletic facility.
As of 2013, the average salary in the NLL was $19,135 with a maximum of $34,000.
Hall of Famers that have been elected are Steve Dietrich, Bob Watson, Pat O’Toole, Terry Sanderson, Pat Coyle, and Chris Hall.
Kaleb Toth, Lewis Ratcliff, Scott Ranger, Tyler Richards, John Tavares, Shawn Williams, Aaron Wilson, Pat McCready, Andrew McBride, Gavin Prout, Mike Accursi, Rich Morgan, Jimmy Quinlan, Cam Sedgewick, Chris Schiller, Bruce Codd.
Major League Lacrosse
The biggest overall transaction in lacrosse in the past five years has to be the Boston Cannons trading Paul Rabil (and Mike Stone) to the New York Lizards. The three team deal, which sent Brian Karlunas to Ohio and Max Seibald to Boston, might be the most significant move in the history of pro lacrosse, as the Lizards went on to win the title the next year.
The Atlanta Blaze, Ohio Machine, and Charlotte Hounds all expanded into MLL. The Toronto Nationals moved to Hamilton before moving to Boca Raton and becoming the Florida Launch.
The Chicago Machine moved to Rochester to revive the Rattlers, of which the former namesake had moved to Toronto.
No teams have folded in Major League Lacrosse in the past five years.
Before the 2012 season, two games were added to the regular season schedule so that teams would play 14 games instead of 12.
Since 2010, Major League Lacrosse has played several neutral-site games, such as Atlanta, Houston, and Pennsylvania.
In 2012, the Denver Outlaws completed the best comeback in Major League Lacrosse playoff history by scoring the final 10 goals of a semi-final game against the Long Island Lizards to advance to the championship game at Harvard Stadium. This was accomplished with MVP Brendan Mundorf out of the lineup.
In 2013, the Denver Outlaws completed the first ever MLL perfect regular season before falling in the first round of the playoffs to the Charlotte Hounds.
In 2014, Zak Dorn won the MLL’s hardest shot contest at the all star game to become the first non-player in league history to win the award.
In 2015, New York Lizards FOGO Greg Gurenlian won the MVP award, the first faceoff man to ever win the accolade.
Lee Zink, Ryan Boyle, Stephen Berger, Matt Striebel, Greg Bice, Kyle Dixon, Casey Powell (and then returned), Jesse Schwartzman, Brad Ross, Tim Fallon, Albert Maione, Mark Millon.
The LXM Pro Tour
The LXM Pro Tour was a major factor on MLL for many years until the two leagues eventually merged in 2014. Before this, many west coast based players chose to play in the travel league instead of MLL, such as Chazz Woodson, Kyle Harrison, and Peter Baum.
Division II Champions
Division III Champions
Salisbury (2011, 2012), Stevenson (2013), Tufts (2014, 2015)
Boston University, UMass Lowell, Cleveland State, Hampton, NJIT, Richmond, Monmouth, Furman, Marquette, High Point, Michigan, Mercer.
Lyle Thompson emerged as one of the most polarizing figures in the history of lacrosse with his success at Albany.
In 2015, the Denver Pioneers won the national championship as the furthest team west to ever capture the title.
After 2013, Cornell’s Rob Pannell finished as the NCAA D1 all-time leading scorer.
In 2015, Blaze Riordan, the goaltender for Albany, went coast-to-coast to score a goal.
The Loyola Greyhounds won the 2012 national title behind Mike Sawyer and Eric Lusby after being unranked going into the season.
In 2012, the Colgate Red Raiders, behind Peter Baum, won their first ever NCAA playoff game with a comeback against undefeated UMass.
BYU (2011), Colorado State (2012, 2013), Colorado (2014), Grand Canyon (2015)
Senior and Junior Lacrosse
The Canadian Lacrosse circuit’s last half decade can be summed up by two words; Six Nations. The Six Nations teams have had a dominant run, with two Mann Cups, two Mintos, and a President’s Cup. Meanwhile, it took until 2015 for the Mann Cup to return west to Victoria while Ontario has dominated Minto Cups for the last five years.
Mann Cup Champions: Brampton Excelsiors (2011), Peterborough Lakers (2012), Six Nations Chiefs (2013, 2014), Victoria Shamrocks (2015)
Minto Cup Champions: Whitby Warriors (2011, 2013), Orangeville Northmen (2012), Six Nations Arrows (2014, 2015)
President’s Cup Champions: St Regis Braves (2011, 2012), St Catharines Saints (2013), Onondaga Redhawks (2014), Six Nations Rivermen (2015)
Canadian Lacrosse League
The Canadian Lacrosse League founded shortly before 2012, when it began its first season. The initial goal of CLax (originally pronounced CLax) was to have a division in Ontario and British Columbia. The BC division still has never come to fruition.
Founded by Paul St. John, the semi-pro lacrosse league has lasted until now and prepares for its fifth season in 2016. Several teams have gone (Peel Avengers, Brampton Inferno, Iroquois Ironmen, Oshawa Machine), but five stable teams emerged; Niagara Lock Monsters, Durham Turf Dogs, Ohsweken Demons, Southwest Cyclops, and Barrie Blizard.
Champions: Ohsweken Demons (2012), Iroquois Ironmen (2013), Niagara Lock Monsters (2014), Barrie Blizzard (2015)
NLL Players: Damon Edwards, Pat Saunders, Dave DiRuscio, Mike Burke, Caleb Wiles, Mark Farthing, Corey Fowler, Colin Boucher, Chris Attwood, Zach Higgins.
American Indoor Lacrosse
North American Lacrosse League
The North American Lacrosse League began as an idea in 2012 as an American box lacrosse league. Founded by former NLL commissioner Jim Jennings, the league featured five teams for the 2013 season. Until late December of 2012, the league was set to take off. Then a dispute over commissioner Anthony Caruso set apart the teams into two leagues. In 2013, just the Kentucky Stickhorses, Lehigh Valley Flying Dutchmen, and Boston Rockhoppers played an exhibition season. In 2014, Lehigh Valley left and two new teams, the Baltimore Bombers and Rhode Island Kingfish entered the fold. Both those teams exited midseason and Boston defeated Kentucky for the only ever league championship before the league folded.
Professional Lacrosse League
The PLL split off from the NALL in a lawsuit in which the leagues fought over who would be identified as the NALL. Leaving were the Charlotte Copperheads and Jacksonville Bullies along with two Pennsylvania based teams that never came to be. Replacing them were the Reading Rockets and New Jersey Rascals. Eventually, New Jersey didn’t play any games, the league went through three commissioners, and then disappeared.
Continental Indoor Lacrosse League
The CILL, eventually the Midwest Indoor Lacrosse Association, is a semi-pro lacrosse league that began in 2011 with all midwest based teams. The CILL has lasted through numurous changes at commissioner and teams moving, yet teams such as the Grand Rapids Dragonfish, Chicago Outlaws, and Pittsburgh Octane have remained at the core of the league. The Colorado Sabertooths went on a two-year championship run before having to leave the league. Cam Holding and Zak Dorn are two players who have gained attention through the league.
United States Lacrosse League
The USLL was a lacrosse league announced in December of 2013 by Nick Desrosiers, the former commissioner of the PLL and owner of the Rascals. One team was announced, the Maine Moose Trax, but there has been no news of the league since.
Arena Lacrosse League
The ALL is a league announced by former CLax commissioner Paul St. John that was set to have a showcase tour in the summer of 2015 but was posponed to 2016.
Premier Series Lacrosse
The PSL was founded by former NALL players and coaches Ginny Capiccioni, Patrick Crosby, and Larry Fila that completed its first series in December of 2015. The league takes a similar format to the European Lacrosse League with weekend series and is for American indoor lacrosse players.
The Canadians dominated the tournament with performances from Colin Doyle and Dan Dawson leading the way. One of the major stories of the tournament was the emergence of the Czech Republic, who finished fourth overall.
Israel emerged as a contender in International lacrosse in 2014, but the first time they were on display in indoor lacrosse was 2015 and they finished in fourth place. They upset the Czech Republic to make it to the final four but ultimately lost to USA. This tournament was the first international lacrosse tournament played on Indigenous land.
The Canadians upset USA on its home soil in the championship game with an 8-5 victory. Goaltender Dillon Ward was named the MVP. Israel, Germany, Scotland, and Finland emerged as contending teams. Nine new nations competed; Russia, Israel, China, Colombia, Belguim, Costa Rica, Thailand, Turkey, and Uganda.