A Lacrosse Editorial – The Difference Between American And Canadian Players

As a boy growing up in Canada who played lacrosse, just like in hockey, the goal was to hoist the championship cup in the air.  In Canada we are brought up to play for the glory of the Trophy.

The focus in the United States is more of the football mentality, playing for a scholarship, rather than just the glory of the game. 

Neither is wrong, both are noble goals, but it does set the two cultures apart.

To play seven games in eleven nights, while taxing, is not impossible for the Canadian player, in fact has been done in many Mann Cup championships over the years.  The American player is more focused to a career outside of lacrosse, and would rather play once a week, preferably on the weekend, concentrating on school or their vocation during the week.  Which answers the question of why in the past were there so many Canadians playing box lacrosse (indoor), and not as many Americans.

The summer leagues are a prime example, with the Canadian box lacrosse leagues (Major Series Lacrosse and Western Lacrosse Association) teams playing once or twice during the week, more in the playoffs, while the American field schedule  (Preimier Lacrosse League the Major Lacrosse League) having strictly weekend schedules. 

The National Lacrosse League (NLL), with head offices based in the United States, hold the majority of their games on the weekend also, with players holding full time jobs during the week.   

Questions if a league would become full time (with 40 to 80 games a year) would be:

  • could the league pay the players enough to stop them working in their careers of choice?
  • would they price themselves out of the market for fans?

A number of other factors would have to take place as well:

  • Solid ownership groups
  • TV deals
  • Major corporate sponsors.

Former Commissioner Nick Sakeiwicz of the NLL, who had experience growing leagues (he was the man in charge of the Major Leaugue Soccer expansion years ago), has started bringing in corporate sponsorships, and workout multimedia deals, as well as expanded the league by five teams in the last few years.  The league’s motive operandi is dealing with NHL/NBA ownerships, or Multi-Billionaires (Joe Tsai of Ali Baba fame) who own their arenas.

Time will tell if the leagues will get away from the weekend only idea, but as long as players have regular day jobs, weekend games will continue to be the norm. 

One big question…If they do go to weekday games, will it still be appealing for the American players?

Gary Groob
Gary Groob

Gary Groob has been involved with Lacrosse for the majority of his life, whether playing, coaching, or covering the sport for the media.

An avid fan, with a real drive about helping to “grow the game”, Gary became part of podcasts about the game in 2010. Through the podcasts, Mr. Groob was given an opportunity to write about lacrosse, and the rest as they say, is history.

Through many miles (flying and driving) Gary has made inroads with the National Lacrosse League, Major Series Lacrosse League, the Ontario Lacrosse Association, as well as the Arena Lacrosse League, covering the leagues, their teams, and players, working for, and in concert with all of them.

In the year 2020, Mr. Groob was made the media person for the Arena Lacrosse League, voted onto the board of directors of the Brampton Excelsiors Lacrosse Club, as well as being made administrator of the Lacrosse page “Global Lacrosse” with a membership of 9000 members in over 90 Countries. Gary was also made an administrator of Lacrosse History Past Present and Future in 2022.

Mr. Groob co-hosts a weekly Lacrosse show on Spanglish Sports World, and ZingoTV channel 250, as well as writes a weekly lacrosse column for La Portada Canada News (both in print, and online).

Gary also hosts a Lacrosse talk show and podcast for The Edge of Philly Sports Network, seen live Sunday nights at 9pm (ET), and archived on the Edge of Philly YouTube page, as well as Spotify.

Mr. Groob’s other sports interests include Hockey, Football, Boxing, Wrestling, and Baseball, competing competitively in Boxing and Wrestling for many years.