Who will it? Who will claim US Box Lacrosse dominance in 2015?
Irvine, CA – Matt Brown‘s summer can be described with one word, golden. After losing in the National Semi Final game against Duke on Memorial Day weekend, Brown has been on a bit of a tear. The director of the Denver Elite Box program first guided Team Canada to a decisive World Cup victory over the heavily favorited and much hyped Team USA. Brown then led his Denver Elite Box program to 3 gold medals at the USBOXLA Nationals this past weekend establishing Denver Elite as the newly crowned box lacrosse powerhouse in the USA.
“The event was again a well run competitive event showcasing the top Box programs in the USA, another successful step in the growth of the sport in this country” says Brown. It’s our program’s highlight coming to LA to play in this event.”
The weekend event started with the USBOXLA Academy on Friday where over a hundred players from pee wee to high school elite received individual instruction to get them primed for the upcoming tournament. Coaches were Matt Brown (Team Canada/DU Associate Head Coach, 3xMinto Cup Burnaby BC), Shaydon Santos (World Champion, 12 Year NLL, San Jose Stealth Captain, Whitby ON), Ben Prepchuk (World Champion, Minto Cup, Presidents Cup, Mann Cup, Sherwood Park AB) John Gallant (World Champion, Colorado Mammoth Captain, Minto Cup, Six Nations ON) , Jamie Lincoln (DU, Hofstra, Stealth, Mann Cup Champ,Mammoth, St Catharines, ON), Jamie Shewchuk(Colorado Mammoth, Minto Cup Champion, Sherwood Park AB) and Dylan Sheridan (University of Denver Assistant Coach, 3x MCLA All-American). The morning session featured pee wee and bantam aged players while the afternoon session of the USBOXLA Academy featured midget and high-school elite players. A number of University of Denver commits and future D1 recruits filled the floor for this uptempo display of talent.
“These players were going full tilt” says Jamie Lincoln, both a University of Denver and Hofstra standout. “You get to really what a player is made of out here, a player’s weakness is really exposed, but if they look good in this practice they will look amazing on the field. There’s no other way, we test their limits, in field its tough to push to these extremes” continues Lincoln, who lead Hofstra in scoring for his last 2 years of NCAA ball.
“You’ve got the top offensive mind in the game of lacrosse molding players out there, you’re seeing him emphasize certain aspects of Box skills that he uses for his field program’s offensive dominance” says Shaydon Santos. “There’s 2 extremes in Box development in the USA, there’s kids out there across the country paying big money for nothing more than ‘pick up’ or ‘pond hockey’, getting absolutely nothing out of it and then there’s the USBOXLA Academy, where coaches are shaping players into what powers the top teams in the world” says Santos. “There’s so many kids in the USA that aren’t blown away from their Box experience, well the Box experience in the USA is pretty horrible, it’s nothing like the actual game. But our kids are being trained by the best, they are playing actual games against the best, these are real programs, we’re beating some of the top Canadian teams now.”
“Our kids can play with the best, the biggest thing that separates our USBOXLA players from the best Ontario kids is knowing where and when to move, to be efficient and smart, we do everything 100 miles an hour, which is good, but we make our mistakes at 100 miles and hour too. We just need to build on the understanding of the game and that comes with more high level events like this” says Cali*Lax ALL-STARS coach Colin Doyle, one of greatest players in the history of the Box game.
While the players were on the floor, USBOXLA Referee in Chief Steve Verba was once again leading the USBOXLA Referee Certification Course in the classroom. This year referees from Denver, California, Arizona, Ontario Canada and Maryland made up the officiating crew of the event. “We have our experienced crew mixed in with some new refs for the upcoming tournament, we’ll run some 3 man teams to ensure the quality is there. The only way to move the game forward in the USA is through coaching, referee and player development and my job as Referee in Chief is to ensure the game can be played at a high level, safely, by the exact standards of the USBOXLA Rule and Situtaional book” continues Steve Verba, Referee in Chief of the US Box Lacrosse Association.
Games commenced on Friday evening and fans were treated to the most competitive Box lacrosse event in the USA.
The Cali*Lax ALL-STARS, the perennial Box Lacrosse powerhouses in the USA, took home the first gold medal of the tournament with a Pee Wee gold medal beating a Jr Stealth team.
“Drake Domme, Stephan Pouteau, Lawton Corrigan and Wells Bligh were our workhourses” says coach Elliot Bender. “Wins were a total
team effort and think this undefeated tournament came down to having better stick stills up and down the line up than our opponents” says Bender.
“This Cali*Lax ALL-STARS team finished in a disappointing fourth place in the Calgary ‘A’ division this summer so there was a little bit of redemption for these boys, they had something to prove out there. This gives our Pee Wee program a perfect 10-0 record over the past 2 years at this event.”
At the Bantam level, the Cali*Lax ALL-STARS and Denver Elite squared off in the much anticipated Bantam Gold Medal game.
“Our team was fueled by the red hot stick of Ben Highfill, Nathan Rumph and first year Bantam player Quinn Marquez who is unquestionably the top face off guy in the entire tournament” says Santos.
Denver Elite proved too strong for the California team and took gold on the shoulders of an ultra strong performance of Denver goalie Chandler Nayman.
“Our Bantam team jelled and really came together as the tourney progressed. Jake Taylor has been the leader of this team for the past 3 season and thought he had a tremendous tournament. Griffin Wilson, big left hander came into the program and had an outstanding performance. Chandler Nayman, you talk about a player who has developed dramatically over the past few season’s well it’s Chandler, he would be my pick for the over-all MVP of the tournament. He was simply brilliant” says Denver Bench boss Matt Brown.
At the midget level, Denver Elite and the Jr Stealth faced off in the gold medal game.
“We were definitely the underdogs going into the game versus the Junior Stealth. They had a huge goalie in net who was very strong, they also had a bunch of imports. Mikey Bealer was great, the Rueth brothers were great as well. Caleb Rueth was a spark plug for our team when we were down by a few early in the game and he got some tough ground balls and played some real gritty lacrosse that the rest of the boys rallied around, got their emotions back on track. That was the turning point really. Amazing how that works. Championship teams have Championship goalies and Moose (Skyler Whinery) is exactly that, he was very good in net” says Brown.
Denver Elite took the gold in a 6-4 highly competitive match over the Jr Stealth.
The newly formed High school Elite level featured new comers San Diego Old School, a San Diego All-Star team directed by Toby Boucher. “Toby’s got a great Box background, has some years in the MILL, very excited to have these guys join the event” says Santos.
“The San Diego team was filled with extremely talented players, very fast, good stick work, complete athletes, but they don’t play in a Box program in SoCal. Field guys use a lot of their energy at the wrong times and places on the floor and makes these games difficult to officiate” says Santos. “We just need to play these guys more, Toby’s teams will be very good in the future and am looking forward to that, they just need to play” says Santos.
“Over the past 3 years Southern California teams that have entered USBOXLA events have gone a total of 0-26. They just don’t play Box in southern California, field is definitely king there.”
The High School Elite Cali*Lax ALL-STARS featured a number of new players to their program including 4 recent University of Denver commits wanting to take the leap into Box and their new offensive coach’s world. “We have 4 new players on this team from California who are going to the University of Denver. They know the success of the Box players at DU, the Matthews, the Bergs, the Flints, the Nobles, they want to develop these skills, they know the importance of it” says coach Shaydon Santos.
The Cali*lax ALL-STARS faced off yet again against the Denver Elite for the gold medal match at the High School Elite Division. This was the third and final time these two power houses faced off against each other in gold medal matches at the USBOXLA Nationals.
Many of the players on the floor fresh off the Team USBOXLA BC Intermediate Tour playing the top talent in the west coast. Denver Elite proved yet again too strong for the Cali*lax ALL-STARS and Denver Elite took home their third Gold medal of the weekend beating Cali8Lax
Matt Brown was very pleased with his team’s victory. “Chad Cruz is the captain of the team and was very good. Jarred Deanwas very strong in goal, I know his experience of playing up in BC with Team USBOXLA this past summer was huge for his development.
Taking shots and playing against the top offensive talent in the west will only make you better and that’s exactly what happened with Jarred. He was outstanding in net. I know all our guys that participated in that BC tour said it was the best lacrosse experience of their lives. A lot of our younger guys want a shot at BC’s best, they want to play on Team USBOXLA, they want to follow in the footsteps of the boys who just came back. As an organization we are here to develop not only the best Box lacrosse players in the USA but to make these boys the best players in the world” continues coach Brown.
Team USBOXLA, an All-Star team comprised of the top players in the West who just played Team Alberta in Calgary faced off against the tournament ALL-STARS on Saturday night at the
pee wee, bantam and midget levels. Making his triumphant Box Lacrosse coaching debut was 6 x National Champion and University of Denver Head Coach Bill Tierney who coached Team USBOXLA for these All-Star games.
The Tournament medal standing is as follows:
1) Denver Elite – 3 Gold, 1 Bronze
2) Cali*Lax ALL-STARS – 1 Gold, 2 Silver
3) Jr Stealth – 2 Silver, 1 Bronze
4) Alberta Mavericks – 1 Bronze
The 2015 USBOXLA Nationals are set at July 31-Aug 2nd, in Los Angeles California.
Moose Skyler Whinery
This year’s US Box Lacrosse Association (USBOXLA) Nationals were easily the biggest and most successful since the premier box lacrosse tournament in the US kicked off three years ago.
Teams (Pee Wee, Bantam and Midget) from Colorado, Washington, Minnesota, Alberta, British Columbia and California competed for medals this year at the Anaheim Ducks (NHL) run The Rink in Irvine, CA.
“Not only do we want to teach kids in the US how to properly play real box lacrosse and show them how it can improve their field game too,” said USBOXLA Founder and Cali-Lax ALL-STARS coach Shaydon Santos, “we wanted the absolute best youth playing the sport competing against one another like so many of us did growing up in Canada.”
The “us” Santos speaks of were present at this year’s Nationals, coaching groups from across the US and Canada. Coaches, all of which are current or former pros (or soon to be), included; Matt Brown (formerly Arizona Sting, current Denver University Associate Head Coach), Lewis Ratcliff (Vancouver Stealth), Aimee Caines (formerly Columbus, Montreal and Buffalo, currently Assistant Coach with Minnesota), Brett Hickey (Vancouver Stealth), Jeremy Noble (anticipated first round selection in 2014 NLL Entry Draft, entering Senior year as elite level middie at DU), Andrew McBride (Calgary Roughnecks captain), Jamie Shewchuk (formerly Minnesota and Colorado), Ryan Benesch (Buffalo Bandits) Adam Bysouth (formerly Calgary, Portland and Anaheim), and Santos, who was a longtime defender and captain in the NLL for 12 years.
“We know how to present the game differently than it’s always been done here in the States,” added Santos, who believes learning from elite level athletes that have played the box game is the only way American youth will properly benefit from the sport.
Just weeks after the 2013 National were put to bed, USBOXLA has already added groups from Maryland and Ohio, close to bringing aboard a number of other organizations. These new association members will take part in next year’s Nationals.
Check out highlights from this year’s Nationals below
Los Angeles, CA – The 2nd Annual USBOXLA Nationals wraps up with 3 days chocked full of the highest level of Box Lacrosse competition to ever take place on USA soil.
Elite Box Lacrosse Organizations from Colorado, Washington, Minnesota, Alberta, BC and California descended upon the Los Angeles area for the annual event that featured 22 teams in 3 division. What separates this event from any other in the USA is the quality and style of play. The play in the Box is interchangeable with any Canadian Tournament.
Most of the teams in attendance have just returned from their Canadian tours and have multiple years worth of legit elite level Box Lacrosse training. This also marks the 3rd and final time the core group of American Box Lacrosse organizations will meet on USA soil in 2013. The season started early in the new year with Vancouver Stealth’s King of the Northwest Tournament, followed by Denver Elite’s Battle in the Box taking place in June. The teams then went off to Canada and returned to meet here in LA for the USBOXLA Nationals. Teams were firing on all cylinders for this event.
Before the tournament commenced, the US Box Lacrosse Association hosted a referee certification clinic to ensure the tournament’s participants safe and consistent game play. Steve Verba (California) and Adam Gardner (Ontario) led referees from Colorado, Minnesota, California and British Columbia through the intense 4 hour course. “We need to work just as hard as all these players and coaches at developing the game-play here in the USA” says Steve Verba USBOXLA Referee in Chief. “These coaches have their well trained players playing on an edge, they are playing here to win, they are beyond the US’s introduction to indoor field lacrosse and it’s up to us 15 refs here at this tournament to make sure it’s played within the exact standards of the USBOXLA Rule Book”.
“Years ago when Cali*Lax first started traveling to Box tournaments in the USA, these untrained field refs hired to work would stop the play, bring the coaches in and say whoa whoa whoa, we’re here to have fun, tell your players to take it easy. Actually, no, I’m training my kids to win at Box like any field lacrosse travel team paying money to play would. We shouldn’t treat this game any different. We stopped going to those events and found great partners with the same Box pedigree, developed the game and now we’re all training very hard and playing to win. This tournament is a collection of these American partners and this is what Box Lacrosse is” says Shaydon Santos, President of the US Box Lacrosse Association.
Coaching these elite level Box Lacrosse teams gathered at the tournament, were the following coaches: Matt Brown, Lewis Ratcliff, Shaydon Santos, Aimee Caines, Brett Hickey, Jason Noble, Andrew McBride, Jamie Shewchuk, Ryan Benesch and Adam Bysouth. All Canadian pro players who’ve spent their entire lives within the top Box organizations in Canada and the professional ranks.
Box newcomer and Princeton lacrosse legend Trevor Tierney joined his Denver Elite crew on the bench for his first official Box Lacrosse event said this after the event “I now completely understand the emphasis Matt (Denver Coach Matt Brown) put on Box development. This game, played as is should, is bringing development back into the equation here in the USA.”
Even Trevor’s dad Bill Tierney, US Lacrosse hall of famer and 6x National Champion at Princeton chimed in
— Bill Tierney (@DUCoachTierney) August 10, 2013
“There’s always a sense of fear. Everybody in the USA is scared of Box mostly because people have never seen it or played it at the youth level. The uncoached, untrained 8 week version served in the USA is scary . Once you have people who’ve played it their entire lives at the helm, can teach the game as it’s meant to be played and you have well trained officials then the game, as it’s been given to us, can be played, played safely and played well” says Matt Brown, University of Denver Associate head coach and Team Canada coach.
After the tournament ended the Cali*Lax ALL-STARS cemented their claim as the Standard for US Box Lacrosse by bringing home 3 medals (Gold, Silver, Bronze) at the USBOXLA Nationals with the Jr Stealth hot in their heels winning 3 medals as well (Gold, Bronze, Bronze).
At the Pee Wee level the Cali*Lax ALL-STARS ‘A’ Team dominated from the very first whistle to the last winning the gold in easy fashion beating the Denver Elite in the gold medal game. The same team avenged their gold medal loss at Calgary’s Canada Day Tournament to the Burlington Chiefs. The Jr Stealth took home the bronze.
At the Bantam level the Jr Stealth continued their winning ways and went undefeated throughout the tournament taking home gold by beating the Canadians 9-4, an all-star team of Calgary area players. The Jr Stealth Bantams also had a great showing in Calgary going undefeated there. The Cali*Lax ALL-STARS took home the bronze in this division.
Finally, Andrew McBride’s, a 2 time world champion with Calgary Roughneck, Mavericks took home the Midget gold beating the Cali*Lax ALL-STARS, a team undefeated in 2 years. The Mavericks are an ALL-STAR team comprised of Central Alberta players. The goal medal game went into a shootout locked at 6 and the Mavericks took the 3 shot contest 1-0. Fans were not disappointed to this nail-bitter. The Jr Stealth took home the bronze in this level.
It wasn’t all work and no play at the tournament either. The US Box Lacrosse Association’s Kill’r Shootout crowed America’s best breakaway artist in the Pee Wee, Bantam and Midget age groups. Because these boys are big time, cold hard crisp Benjamins were awarded to the steely nerved champion at each level.
“It’s a great time to end the season and a family destination. Not only is there great competition, there’s also the beaches, Hollywood and Disneyland right there” says Jamie Shewchuk, Denver Elite bench boss and crafty left NLL finisher.
The elite level teams gathered at this tournament will go back to their local areas, train hard and meet again early in the new year. The games played at this tournament are simply the best Box Lacrosse games ever played on US soil.
As selected by Tournament Coaches – the US Box Lacrosse Association Proudly Presents the 2012 USBOXLA Nationals ALL-STARS
- Ty Ewen – Jr Stealth
- Kyle MacWilliam – Jr Stealth
- Ryan Sasek – Jr Stealth
- Connor Whyte – Jr Stealth
- Jonah Hirshorn (G) – Denver Elite
- Connor Terrell – Denver Elite
- Jake Taylor – Denver Elite
- Lance Tillman – Denver Elite
- Jackson Rose – Denver Elite
Dino Kambeitz – Jr Mammoth
Jake Govett – Jr Mammoth
Bobby Baltzer – Jr Mammoth
Ryan Carlson – Jr Mammoth
Knox Dent (G) – Jr Mammoth
Charlie Maly – Jr Mammoth
- Nathan Rumph – Cali*Lax ALL-STARS
- Chase Barloga – Cali*Lax ALL-STARS
- Ty Yanko – Cali*Lax ALL-STARS
- Tres LeClaire – Cali*Lax ALL-STARS
- Haden Hardy – Cali*Lax ALL-STARS
- Spencer Almy (G) – Cali*Lax ALL-STARS
- Kevin Jaggers – Cali*Lax ALL-STARS
- Nash Harford – Cali*Lax ALL-STARS
- Brock Bauer – Cali*Lax ALL-STARS
- Elliot James- Jr Stealth
- Ian O’Hern – Jr Stealth
- Brett Newton – Jr Stealth
- Trevor West – Jr Stealth
- Nathaniel Heritage – Jr Stealth
- Karter Williams (G) – Jr Stealth
- Skylar Whinnery -(G) – Denver Elite
- Andrew Zwiers – Denver Elite
- Mac Mease – Denver Elite
- Matt Pollack – Denver Elite
- Brett Newton – Jr Stealth
- Kaedyn Williams – Jr Stealth
- Jason Mclean – Jr Stealth
- CJ Schuster – Jr Stealth
- Karter Williams (G) – Jr Stealth
- Joe Rodriguez – Cali*Lax ALL-STARS
- Troy Loper – Cali*Lax ALL-STARS
- Duncan McGinnis -Cali*Lax ALL-STARS
- Oscar Mahoney – Cali*Lax ALL-STARS
- Colton Steiner – Cali*Lax ALL-STARS
- CJ Watkins (G) – Cali*Lax ALL-STARS
- Thomas Hankins(G)-Cali*Lax ALL-STARS
- AJ Guralas – Cali*Lax ALL-STARS
- Ty Goff – Cali*Lax ALL-STARS
- Ryland Rees – Cali*Lax ALL-STARS
- Nick Bopp – Denver Elite
- Chad Keuzer – Denver Elite
- Noah Smith – Denver Elite
- Landon Baird – Denver Elite
- Drew Wade – Jr Stealth
- Drew Tosaya – Jr Stealth
- Jackson Lanning – Jr Stealth
- Connor Dyehouse – Jr Stealth
- Ethan Jensen – Jr Stealth
- David Mather (G)- Jr Stealth
- Kyle Sutherland (G)- Cali*Lax ALL-STARS
- Sam Oliver – Cali*Lax ALL-STARS
- Nick Angileri – Cali*Lax ALL-STARS
- Jon Maymar – Cali*Lax ALL-STARS
- Matt McGloin – Cali*Lax ALL-STARS
- Reed LeClaire – Cali*Lax ALL-STARS
- Griffin LeClaire – Cali*Lax ALL-STARS
2012 USBOXLA CHAMPIONS
Congratulations to the Champions of the 2012 USBOXLA Nationals. Check out the 2012 Real Time Scoreboard to track each of these team’s road to victory.
Los Angeles, California – Aug 2012- Over this past weekend, professional Box Lacrosse organizations the Jr Stealth, the Jr Mammoth, Denver Elite and the Cali*Lax ALL-STARS descended upon Los Angeles, California for the first ever USBOXLA Nationals.
Age divisions ranged from Pee Wee U12, Bantam U14, Midget U16 and HS Elite U18 and the teams competed in a 2 day tournament event.What makes this different than any other indoor event in the USA in the past is that each of the association members are directed and coached by some of the Box game’s top coaches and secondly, the event was sanctioned by the US Box Lacrosse Association which meant standardized rules under the US Box Lacrosse Association rulebook and certified referees to ensure the utmost safely and quality of play.
The weekend started with an individual skills clinic presented by Lewis Ratcliff, Shaydon Santos, Brett Hickey, Jamie Shewchuk and Mark Myashita. Combined these pro Box players have over 40 years of Professional NLL Box experience. Players were put through the paces by some of the top instructors of the Box game here in the USA with the resumes to back it up.
With over 120 players in attendance in the friday preliminary skills clinics, Jr Stealth Director and one of the game’s elite players Lewis Ratcliff said “there’s absolutely nothing better in developing skills than playing Box Lacrosse, and Box Lacrosse isn’t a clinic or a few Box drills performed on a field, it’s spending the next 5 to10 years playing the Box game against other well coached programs like the ones gathered here at the Nationals”.
The tournament also featured a USBOXLA Level 1 Referee certification course to ensure the quality of gameplay. “Each of us are playing to win, we train our players year round in becoming Box players and we take this development very seriously. We push our players hard and because of that we need that structure there to keep the game in check and the refs this weekend did a great job” says Jamie Shewchuk of the Colorado Mammoth and Denver Elite.USBOXLA referees for this event were from Denver , Washington, NorCal, SoCal, BC and Ontario.
The youngest division, the U12 Pee Wee division was headlined by ultra strong performances by Steve Govett’s, the Jr Mammoth and the Denver Elite. Both programs sailed through the round robin and met in the Gold medal match in an absolutely fantastic Box game going the distance until the Jr Mammoth finally pulled ahead in the last seconds of the game. Junior Mammoth Head Coach, Steve Govett, said this after the tournament “This is a great event for the growth of our indoor game. Wonderful venue, fantastic competition, great weather, this is what the game is all about. I am so proud of our boys for battling through some adversity to edge a great opponent in a game that will long be remembered in US Box Lacrosse.”
The Bantam U14 Division was headlined by the magnificent play of the Cali*Lax ALL-STARS Ty Yanko, a player sure to make a huge impact on the NCAA and the NLL. The Cali*Lax ALL-STARS White team took the Bantam gold over a strong Denver Elite squad on the heels of Yanko’s stellar performance in the Box.
The Midget U16 division was dominated by the Cali*Lax ALL-STARS where the Cali*Lax ALL-STARS RED team played the the Cali*Lax ALL-STARS WHITE team in the championship game. “My midgets have been with me for 4 years now and on 5 Canadian tours, they train year round, the only people stopping this first graduating class of US Box players are Canada’s top Box programs” says Santos. “I’d like to think a few of my midgets will play in the NLL one day. A player like AJ Guralas could step onto any top Midget A team in Ontario or BC and produce.”
The Varsity Elite division was controlled by the Jr Stealth from the first whistle to the last. The Cali*Lax ALL-STARS did manage to make it a game in the gold medal match but Ratcliff’s Jr Stealth proved too skilled and well coached to take anything less than gold. “We’ve got some very skilled players in the Varsity division, so much so that I’m sure a few of these hometown boys will be out with our pro team in the next few years” says Ratcliff. “One of the goals of what we’re doing with the Stealth Academy is to place local talent into the professional Stealth team. We want a roster full of Washington players, players playing at the top level on earth and we’re committed to developing that talent.”
“Pro coached competitive teams, amazing indoor outdoor Anaheim Ducks venue, Disneyland, the beaches in LA, palm trees, it’s an amazing event. It’s everything Box Lacrosse needs” says Daphne LeClair whose 3 sons play Cali*Lax ALL-STARS, 2 of those also attend The Hill Academy and are committed to D1 NCAA programs.
“My phone won’t stop since this weekend” says Ratcliff. “Everyone is sold, everyone is hooked, this is the future”.