The National Lacrosse League has announced that the first-ever Junior NLL Tournament, comprised of youth teams from six NLL cities, will take place from Aug. 23-25 at Toronto Rock Athletic Centre (TRAC) in Oakville, Ontario.
The Buffalo Bandits, Colorado Mammoth, Minnesota Swarm, Rochester Knighthawks, Toronto Rock and Vancouver Stealth will be represented across Bantam and Peewee teams in the weekend-long competition at TRAC.
“The Junior NLL Tournament has been a vision of many of our NLL Governors for a long time,” said Colorado Mammoth head coach and Junior NLL Committee chair Bob Hamley. “To see it come to life is exciting for everyone involved. A big thanks to Jamie Dawick, the Toronto Rock staff and the Committee for all their hard work in making this a reality. And good luck to all of our NLL kids!”
While several Junior NLL teams have experience playing in recent tournaments, the event is the first of its kind in that it will be exclusive to teams affiliated with the league.
“It’s the first time we’ve done it with just NLL teams,” said Stealth president and general manager Doug Locker. “It’s something we want to do over the course of the year moving forward where we do it at different sites. I think it will be great for the kids.”
Another unique aspect to the tournament will be the use of professional officiating for the games.
“We’re going to use actual NLL referees,” Locker said. “It should be a world-class event that will essentially close out the summer season.”
The TRAC is also set to host the 2013 NLL Entry Draft on Monday, Sept. 16 along with the Combine from Sept. 14-15. The TRAC, which serves as the Rock’s offices and training facilities, hosted several NLL preseason games last year and continues to be an epicentre of indoor lacrosse for players of all ages and skill levels.
“We’re very excited that the inaugural Junior NLL Tournament is being held at the TRAC,” said Toronto Rock owner and president Jamie Dawick. “It’s an honour to be hosting the six NLL cities being represented. These type of events are exactly what I envisioned when building the TRAC. We can’t wait.”