New school-centric curriculum and equipment endowment platform aims to introduce the NLL’s fun, sixes-style game play to a new generation of fans
Philadelphia, November 6, 2023 – The National Lacrosse League (NLL) today announced the launch of NLL UnBOXed™, the League’s new continent-wide grassroots campaign designed to bring the NLL’s fast-paced lacrosse game to more young boys and girls in more communities across North America.
The NLL will expand its multi-national activation footprint to include approximately 60 North American communities by the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles when sixes lacrosse, similar to the NLL’s 6-on-6 box lacrosse game play style, returns as a medal sport for the first time since 1908.
“NLL UnBOXed is an innovative approach to introducing and fostering the love of box lacrosse’s unique style of play among young boys and girls across North America,” said Kurt Hunzeker, NLL Executive Vice President, Commercial Operations. “With NLL-style sixes lacrosse coming to the LA28 Summer Olympics, it is imperative that the League leads by example and establishes NLL UnBOXed to create meaningful connections with more communities from coast to coast.”
Nine new “NLL UnBOXed Lacrosse Communities” will join the 15 existing NLL teams for the 2024 launch of the multi-tiered campaign: Baltimore, Charlotte, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Montréal, Ottawa, Salt Lake City, Seattle, St. Louis, and the Tampa Bay area.
The NLL will practice innovation and unique activation when engaging these non-franchise markets and grassroots participants, by creating community-relevant “team names” and brand identities to illustrate the League’s commitment to growing box lacrosse across Canada and the United States.
The first of the new NLL UnBOXed Lacrosse Communities’ brand identities will be unveiled today at 1pm ET, beginning the week-long rollout of the NLL’s nine new activation markets across the NLL’s social channels.
The next phase of the initiative begins in 2024 with the start of “NLL UnBOXed At School™,” a physical education-centric lacrosse curriculum created by NLL Hall of Fame inductee Casey Powell and based on the successful SPEED Lacrosse® platform Powell developed after he retired from the NLL.
“I am thrilled to be a part of NLL UnBOXed At School,” Powell said. “The SPEED Lacrosse curriculum will not only introduce lacrosse to young students across North America but also provide them with a pathway towards a lifetime of enjoying the sport. I myself was introduced to lacrosse in my gym class, and SPEED Lacrosse offers the perfect format to sample the game, play it at its fundamental level, and accelerate the NLL grassroots initiative.”
Built specifically for elementary and middle schools, NLL UnBOXed At School also includes a lacrosse equipment endowment program as the NLL and its partners will provide an assortment of sticks, balls, and goals to participating schools’ physical education departments.
All elementary and middle school administrators, athletic directors, and/or physical education teachers can request to become an inaugural participating school by registering at NLL.com/UnBOXed.
“The NLL UnBOXed program offers greater opportunities for all players at any age and skill level to increase their competency at an accelerated rate in a fun and friendly environment,” said Brian Lemon, NLL Executive Vice President, Lacrosse Operations. “The SPEED Lacrosse curriculum incorporated into NLL UnBOXed provides an unrivaled foundation for players that transfers to all disciplines of our game. Players are going to love it.”
NLL UnBOXed further solidifies the League’s commitment to growing youth participation, as last week the NLL joined other U.S.-based lacrosse properties to form Elevate28 with a focused mission to double lacrosse participation in the U.S. to 4 million annual players by the end of the decade.
The 2023-24 NLL season will commence with NLL Faceoff Weekend on December 1-2. The full NLL regular season schedule is available at https://www.nll.com/schedule/full-schedule/.
About the National Lacrosse League
The National Lacrosse League (NLL) is North America’s premier professional lacrosse league, with a record 1,165,528 fans attending games in 2022-23. Founded in 1986, the NLL is comprised of 15 franchises across the United States and Canada: Albany FireWolves, Buffalo Bandits, Calgary Roughnecks, Colorado Mammoth, Georgia Swarm, Halifax Thunderbirds, Las Vegas Desert Dogs, New York Riptide, Panther City Lacrosse Club (Fort Worth, Texas), Philadelphia Wings, Rochester Knighthawks, San Diego Seals, Saskatchewan Rush, Toronto Rock, and Vancouver Warriors.
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.