In case you didn't know, St. Paul has professional lacrosse

By Nathan Coppersmith

Unbeknownst to many at Macalester (including the author until two weeks ago), Minnesota is home to a professional indoor lacrosse team, the Minnesota Swarm. The National Lacrosse League (NLL) encompasses nine teams based in cities across the country, from Boston to San Jose, plus three teams in Canadian cities. Founded in 1986 as the Eagle Pro Box Lacrosse League (the name was changed to the NLL in 1997), four teams played in the first season. In its first year 124,536 fans attended games, but by 2006 that number had grown to 1,037,147. As it has over the past twenty-two years, the league continues to gain popularity and expand. In fact, the NLL Hall of Fame was established in 2006 and currently holds eleven inductees.

Despite the growing popularity of the lacrosse in the United States, 75 percent of the players are Canadian. Why? The answer is box lacrosse. Played on an ice hockey rink that has the ice removed (i.e. a concrete surface), many Canadian youths play hockey in the fall and winter and then turn to box lacrosse in the spring and summer. Fifty percent of the league’s players come from within 75 miles of Toronto and another twenty-five percent of the athletes hail from within 50 miles of Vancouver.

In the US, many young lacrosse players play outdoors in the during the spring, summer, and fall and then play indoors during the winter. These players tend to admire Major League Lacrosse, the professional outdoor lacrosse league.

At the moment, the Calgary Roughnecks lead the Western division with a five game undefeated season, while the Buffalo Bandits top the Eastern charts with a 5-1 record.