Unless you have been sequestered for the last year or so, the MSL and the OLA have been at odds over a few issues. The first issue was the transfer of the Brampton Excelsiors to Joe Norton, and his subsequent moving of the team to Owen Sound. The other issue was the neglect of MSL teams to pay the $150/player fee to junior teams they drafted from. Both sides were dug in, with no end in sight other than litigation.
Doug Luey, Commissioner of the MSL recognized the transfer as legal, and had a schedule made for this year’s summer season. The schedule had Owen Sound, but not Brampton. This obviously upset the Brampton board, as well as the OLA. The OLA threatened to suspend Luey for five years, and take over for his board if he didn’t comply.
A question that came to mind was could the OLA just step in for an elected board? A dangerous precident was being set. Could the OLA overrule anything, even if it wasn’t in their constitution?
The other threat the OLA made was that they wouldn’t sanction the MSL games. Meaning no insurance, and no OLA referees, as well as no representation for the Mann Cup.
Would the MSL go rogue?
The PLL Problem:
On top of everything going on, the Premier Lacrosse League had put out a statement that players that played for the PLL would not be allowed to play anywhere else while their league was playing. Since the schedules ran concurrently, this would be an even bigger blow to the already ailing MSL.
The MSL was going to open the summer season with an exhibition game on Six Nations between the home town Chiefs and the Brooklin Lacrosse Club. This day was also a celebration of the First Nation people for Bread and Cheese Day for the Creator, and playing the Creator’s game was the best way to celebrate.
Being a holiday in Canada, attendance was good, the mood was good, and expectation of lacrosse had everyone excited. One problem, the OLA didn’t assign referees for the game. This was a direct attack at the credibility of Doug Luey and his league.
A lucky break:
Two gentlemen were sitting in the crowd who were officials, offered to work. The game went on as scheduled. The men reffed a good game, and in the end the Six Nations Chiefs won 10-6.
A statement from the MSL’s website said
“The delay was a result of the OLA not assigning officials to the game without both teams knowing, because of the dispute between Major Series Lacrosse and the governing body. On Friday, the Chiefs were assured there would be a game and officials would be present in good faith. A letter to MSL and the Chiefs said, “… the OLA recognizes the significance of this event as well as the heritage of our game, and therefore we would be in agreement in having this MSL exhibition game as part of the event.”
MSL commissioner Doug Luey did assure the OLA that the league would abide by the decision from a tribunal via text. This was part of the stipulations set by the OLA to have the game take place.”
However they choose to solve this dispute, it needs to take place away from the game itself. Fans have been waiting for two years to get back to league play, and it would be a travesty if they were robbed again due to the selfishness of these groups, and their politics.
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 10 years ago. Through the podcasts, Mr. Groob had 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).
Mr. Groob 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.