If Canada has its way, the world will be getting another lacrosse championship in the near future. Team Canada chairman Dean French says that Canada would love to spearhead the drive to create a U17 world championship for box lacrosse and they have a plan to lead to its creation. In the wake of the November 17 game between Canada and the Iroquois at the Bell Centre in Montreal, which was played before the main event between the senior teams, they are proposing to the US and Iroquois that the three teams look to play a demonstration tournament at the 2014 world field championships in Denver.
“The vision would be that, just like we have a U19 men’s field, that there would be a U17 men’s indoor world championship every four years,” French told IL Indoor. “We believe that promoting box lacrosse is a good thing for helping other countries that are developing their field lacrosse programs.”
French says the success of Canada at the senior level in field lacrosse speaks to the usefulness of box as a training tool for the outdoor game. “Box lacrosse has the same effect that indoor football/soccer has on soccer. You’re playing and developing skills in a confined space and it’s pretty self-evident [the benefit] that Canada gets for being ten times smaller than the US as far as number of players participating in field lacrosse, and we think a lot of that has to do with box lacrosse.”
If they can make it work, the demonstration tournament would see the three teams play a round robin and then have the top two teams meet in a championship game.
French sees Canada putting on box lacrosse clinics for people coming to watch the field lacrosse championships in Denver. If all goes well in 2014, his vision would see things keep growing. “The following year, ideally we would play at the same time as the 2015 indoor men’s and we would increase the amount of teams, again as a demonstration.”
There are several advantages to having the tournament for U17 players rather than U19, French says. One is that the U19 field championships take away Junior A and Junior B teams’ core players for a key stretch of their summer season, while the U19 age group would be taking out younger players who haven’t taken on such critical roles for their summer clubs.
“The second advantage is to the individual player. By making Team Canada U17, it helps the player get on the college radar screen if they’re not already,” French says. “When we competed as U19s in Finland [at the 2012 tournament], all of our guys were already either playing in the NCAA or they were committed to schools.” Also, French believes that preparing for a U17 tournament would encourage countries, such as the Czech Republic, who are growing the game to “increase their development at a younger age.
French emphasizes that at this point the plan for a demonstration tournament in Denver is just a proposal that has not been approved by the governing bodies of any of the three teams they see taking part next year. But French and his colleagues with Team Canada have a vision to make it happen, and they hope the rest of the lacrosse world will get on board.Stamp is a TV sports announcer and lacrosse lover whose skill set made him a defender but who always dreamed of being a goal-scorer. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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