The Scoop Winter 2016 - Page 9

Flying our black flag

A Special Message to MBYLL Families from HGR Lacrosse

HGR Lacrosse is celebrating our ten-year anniversary. Since day one, our company has had a very clear and simple mission statement:

1. Make sure all of our players have fun and develop a passion for the sport.

2. Make sure every player increases their lacrosse IQ and skill set.

3. Eventually get our players ready for and guide them through the college recruiting process.

We have decided it’s time to add a fourth core value to our mission statement. It’s a big one.

4. All players should play town lacrosse for their town youth or high school team during the

spring season.

The club lacrosse scene was born out of necessity. Unlike our football, basketball, and baseball counterparts, college lacrosse programs don’t have a dedicated recruiting coach on staff. College coaches are involved in practice planning and practices, pre-game planning, film and games, all spring long. This leaves no time to get out and watch high school players play.

The answer to this problem was summer recruiting tournaments. To have 50–100 or more club teams playing in front of 50–100 college coaches greatly benefited both parties. Both players and coaches got huge exposure to their desired demographic, in “one stop shopping.” It was a great answer to a problem, with the added benefit of keeping a stick in a player’s hands throughout the year, for further skill development.

The club season used to be a summer-only scene. Then, summer became summer and fall. It seems the trend now, especially in Massachusetts, is to extend the season even further into the spring. To HGR, this is crossing a clear line and borders on sacrilegious.

With Massachusetts' huge hockey roots, it seems easy for parents to make this leap, and may even seem necessary in their eyes. This couldn’t be further from the truth. For the last decade, HGR has sent hundreds of kids on to play competitive lacrosse, from DIII–DI. This has happened without a spring season. Can you imagine a state championship football game where the best players from that town are in the stands instead of on the field, because they play select football in the fall? Why then is it so easy for us to accept this in the hockey world? Why is the lacrosse world trending in this direction? It’s not headed this way throughout the rest of the country. It’s simply not necessary for us to head in this direction either.

The current mold isn’t broken. So why are we attempting to “fix” it? The answer is simple: money. Now, we’re not against companies trying to make money. That’s capitalism. That’s America. The problem is the way it’s happening. It’s stepping on sacred ground, which is town spring lacrosse.

Plus, keep in mind, college coaches are still unable to recruit in the spring.

Why does HGR love town lacrosse so much? Maybe it’s a bit of nostalgia. But really, we think there’s just so much to be said for playing with the kids in the neighborhood. The lacrosse stud, the kid who won’t play in high school, the kid who may go on to be a musician instead of an athlete, the snowboarder–all of them getting together for the love of the sport.

And what about the love of the sport? Is playing for the purity of the sport, instead of always trying to showcase ability or further careers, not good enough anymore? Why can’t we allow kids to be kids for a couple of months a year? Not always having so much pressure on them. There are great values taught at this level. You can get great perspectives from new coaches instead of the same coach and same message all year. We don’t want to burn kids out on the sport before they even get to high school. And we certainly want to make sure that club ball never replaces high school spring lacrosse. Not to mention all the great lacrosse that gets played at the town youth lacrosse level.

We are very much in the club lacrosse business and believe in it just as passionately as we do the town programs. However, we feel that we can and should coexist. Club lacrosse is the best way to get recruited to play college lacrosse. But the reality is playing summer and fall club ball is plenty to achieve this goal.

We also offer indoor leagues, clinics, and summer camps. Basically, we provide all a player wants or needs to develop their game and passion for the sport, without interfering with town lacrosse. And without stealing time away bike riding, fishing, or maybe just the freedom to enjoy being a kid.

Bryan Brazill, Owner of HGR Lacrosse & Merrimack College Men's Lacrosse 1st Assistant

The Scoop / Winter '16 9