As we close out the two week, forty four game, tournament style Junior A season, we need to look at how successful this was, and what went into it to be so successful.
City of Toronto Councilmen Mark Grimes was named commissioner of the league at the end of April, and I wonder if he’s had a chance to sleep since then.
First he placed Cody Jamieson in as governor for the vacant Six Nations team that left for the upstart Tewaaraton Lacrosse League. Jamieson then had to put together a brand new team from top to bottom. Mark then put together a committee (consisting of NLL GM’s, Coaches, and Referees…Paul Day, Derek Keenan, Ed Comeau, and Ian Garrison) to change and modernize some of the league’s rules. This was designed to make it more of a National Lacrosse League style. The goal was to make transition from juniors to pros much smoother, and easier for the players.
Ontario then lifted some of the lockdown laws, and Grimes went into action to arrange a mini-season.
How to make a mini-season work:
The season would take place in one arena, with an invite only crowd. Each player would get two tickets for each game, and once the game was over the invitee had to leave, to adhere to Covid-19 protocols.
The Toronto Rock Athletic Centre (TRAC) was chosen. TRAC is a two rinked building, that also has state of the art equipment to run broadcasts of each game on each rink. It was large enough to work with government Covid-19 protocols, and was central for most teams to get to.
Quickly, Grimes and company had to get in touch with all eleven teams, have them get their players together, and be ready for an end of July, TWO WEEK SEASON in which each team would play eight games (two games daily) in two consecutive weekends.
How to broadcast?
Enter JVI Video Production. JVI Video Production provides video filming and streaming for sports events including Ontario Junior Lacrosse League, Major Series Lacrosse, and the Ontario Junior Hockey League.
Since the league was going to have two games simultaneously, five times each day, plus an individual game at the end of the day, JVI used their two YouTube channels to stream them live with Pat Gregoire, and Matthew Carrick doing the play by play for every game.
To JVI’s credit, the broadcasts were professional productions…well called, well filmed, and quite informative throughout all forty four games. They had good graphics, highlights, and an excellent production team behind them.
And…it was free to anyone who wanted to tune in!
How was it received?
An absolute success by everyone involved!
Almost every game was a nail-biter, the tournament style season came down to the last few games to see who would make the one day playoff next Sunday. There were very few hiccups in the broadcasts, and we finally got live lacrosse!!
What these people were able to achieve, showed that no obstacle, or time frame was impossible to overcome, and with drive, passion, and organization, anything was possible.
The league has put everyone on notice exactly where the bar has been set to from now on.
Congratulations to Mark Grimes, OJLL, JVI Productions and the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre for a truely professional experience from top to bottom!
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.