Tonight is the night!
The night when the best of the best in the lacrosse world gather together to show off their skills and give fans nationwide the a show the will be long to be forgotten.
The 2012 MLL All-Star game is being held in Palm Beach County, Fla.
This will be only the 3rd time that the All-Star game has been held in a location that does not currently have a team.
It has also been stated by the MLL Commissioner that they like to use the All-Star game as a test run for new markets they are looking at. As was the case when Denver hosted the All-Star game in 2005.
So does this mean we could be seeing a Florida based MLL team joining the ranks?
It’s possible, but an All-Star game is not a definite sign, as we saw when the the 2002 All-Star game was held in Bowie, Md.
The last couple of years the MLL has run what they call their “Ultimate MLL Fan contest.”
The two fans that are picked do get the ultimate fan experience, as they are treated to gear, one-on-one time with the MLL stars, and serve as honorary captains for the game with the best seats in the house (on the sideline with the teams).
This years winners are Dallas Towner of Delaware and Ian Burbidge of Oregon.
For the third time in MLL history, this years All-Star game will feature an Old School-Young Gun format.
The last two times this format has been used for the All-Star game the games have been very tight, with both games going into overtime.
Will this year repeat and treat us to some bonus lacrosse, or will one team dominate?
I know the feelings are mixed between the ‘In Lacrosse We Trust’ staff members.
When you look at the rosters for this years game, a few things stick out.
Lets start with the Young Guns…
The Young Guns’ roster consists of 20 players.
16 of those players are appearing in the All-Star Game for the first time!
The next big thing that sticks out is that there is only ONE rookie that made the All-Star game this year.
That rookie is Long Island Lizards attackman Matt Gibson.
Gibson, former Yale University attackman, leads all MLL rookies with 10 goals and 10 assists in five games this season.
His honors continue as he is also the only rookie to earn Cascade Rookie of the Week honors twice, and marks a spot as only the 14th rookie to ever make the All-Star game in league history!
The big story on the Old-School roster is none other then Rochester Rattlers midfielder Matt Striebel.
Striebel will set an MLL All-Star Game record by playing in his MLL-record eighth All-Star Game.
He is the fifth player in MLL history to play in at least six All-Star Games.
He has played in the last 8 STRAIGHT All-Star games.
Talk about a true All-Star!
During half-time of the All-Star game, fans will be treated to the 10th annual Bud Light Skills Competition, which consists of the Fastest Shot and Freestyle contests along with the Goalie Gauntlet.
Last years winner of the fastest shot contest was defenseman Kyle Hartzell of the Ohio Machine.
Boston Cannons midfielder Paul Rabil won last year’s Freestyle event.
Personally I thought Rabil’s freestyle runs were very lack luster last year, so I am defiantly hoping we see something extra special from someone this year.
Last but not least, I would like to mention that for the sixth straight season, Major League Lacrosse will hold an All-Star Game jersey auction following the All-Star Game where the proceeds go to charity.
This year the league has partnered with the HEADStrong Foundation.
Following the All-Star Game, the players will autograph their game-used jerseys, which will then be auctioned off on the MLL website, and the New Balance Foundation will match the net dollar amount raised!
This is a great way to not only own a piece of MLL history but also help out a great cause.
Over the last five years of the MLL auctioning off the All-Star game jerseys, they have raised over $140,000 for charities across the nation.
The auction starts on Saturday, June 30 at 12 p.m. and last for 10 days.
Don’t forget you can watch all the fun on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com.
The game starts at 7:30pm Eastern time, so make sure to gather your friends, program the DVR, and make a party of it!
Talk about a great game to use to introduce new people to the game.
Have fun, and as always please remember to drink responsibly 🙂