It began as a fun idea to play lacrosse in the beautiful Adirondack mountains with 7 teams in 1990. Little did George Leveille know that the fields near Lake Placid would turn into a magical place where lacrosse players from around the world would come to become part of one of the sport’s greatest traditions.
30 years of lacrosse and memories later, Powell Lacrosse would like to celebrate the commitment of the Leveille family and all those who help run the tournament as well as the players of all ages who turn Lake Placid into the lacrosse capital of the world every summer.
The Lake Placid Lacrosse Tournament will draw more than 250 teams this year from the youth level all the way up to the 65+ teams from August 5-11. Whole families will make the trip with many having ventured up to this former Olympic site for decades now. Grandparents will watch their grandkids play during the week and many will suit up a few days later to join in on the fun.
Before the heyday of the MLL and now the PLL, Lake Placid is where you would come to watch the best players in the world. To put it in perspective, the MLL was founded in 2001 and the PLL in 2018 long after Lake Placid was already hosting the best of the best. Nowadays there are few pros who can make it out to play in the tournament because of their commitments in those leagues, but there is no doubt some wish they were playing on the grass fields of Lake Placid instead.
I think Mike Powell put it best in an article he wrote for the Field Exploration journal a few years ago:
“People always ask me why I didn’t play professional lacrosse for very long and my answer is very simple. When I was growing up we didn’t have professional lacrosse. Every summer we would fill up a cooler and go spend three days in lawn chairs along the sidelines with our dogs watching the best lacrosse in the world from three feet away. After the game ended all of the players would join their family, friends and fans for an afternoon under the ski jumps in the Olympic Village. The best were not just the best players but they were accessible people, it humanized my heroes and that made a huge impact on my view of the sport. I still go play in Lake Placid every year, I love it and it brings me right back to those pivotal days of my youth.”
The Leveilles and the Powells grew up watching the sport’s best play in Placid and then years later they would be the ones dominating on those same fields.
A look at the men’s and women’s teams across the older divisions and you will find that many teams are made up of groups of college alumni coming back together to reunite for one week every year to relive the glory days and once again compete for a meaningful championship. The Syracuse vs Cornell alumni games will respark the same competitiveness the players had when they still donned their school’s jerseys. Walk over to a field of the Men’s 18+ Gold Division and you will likely find some of the best current D1, D2, and D3 players playing games at an insane level of skill. Players from across the country try to find a way to get on a roster at Lake Placid.
Off the field, there are also 30 years of stories of the wild antics of the players on the lake renting boats from Captain Marney’s, climbing into the nearby mountains, and letting loose long into the Lake Placid nights with a long day of lacrosse ahead of them the next day. Teams like the Buffalo Lacrosse Academy contingent design Buffalo inspired jerseys and apparel while playing with the grit and skill that could only come from such blue collar players from a blue collar city. They will be easy to recognize around town by their matching shirts and Go Bills chants.
The recent MLL Legends games where the greats of the past meet again to play is also becoming a can’t miss event. You can find Gary Gait, the Powells, the Leveilles, and so many other Hall of Fame players once again tearing up the fields at Lake Placid. The pace of the game may be a bit slower, but the players still have the skills and handles that they showcased at the highest level not too long ago.
Lake Placid also isn’t afraid to help usher in new ways. At this year’s tournament they will be experimenting with the proposed rules that World Lacrosse is hoping will create a more Olympic friendly version of lacrosse. During the MLL Legends game they will try the 6-on-6 format with four 8-minute quarters of running clock, a 45-second shot clock, smaller roster sizes (10 per team), no backup rule for shots (possession changes based on team that touches the ball last) and faceoffs only at the start of each quarter and overtime. Placid bridges the past, present, and future of the sport.
30 years of amazing goals and plays.
30 years of players of all ages getting bumps and bruises while smiling through it all.
30 years of lifelong memories.
Powell Lacrosse is proud to sponsor such an important event to the lacrosse community.
Here’s to another 30 years of Lake Placid lacrosse and beyond
Go to the Lake Placid website for scores, pictures, and information for if you are looking to play next summer.