PLL Adds Winter Classic Event

Earlier this morning, we heard a juicy bit of news.

Moments later, Sportico’s Emily Caron made it official.

This is something we were asking for the moment, the Utah tournament ended.

The initial reaction was, what about the Chaos?

The initial response, who cares? No reason to take NLL athletes away from their teams. No reason for the PLL to constantly cater to the NLL and vice versa.

The better response, is what the PLL has done by moving to the sixes format. Rather than a team potentially not be able to participate, the smaller roster will allow some version of a team like the Chaos to attend. How long the PLL is willing to work with the NLL on scheduling overlap is a post for another time.

Of course, this assuming the Chaos finish in the top four this summer.

It won’t just be the NLL athletes who are unavailable. There are still a handful of PLL athletes who coach at the college and high school level.

While new real estate agent Myles Jones may be willing to take eight days off to compete, it is unlikely Ohio Northern would want Coach Nat St. Laurent to step away from his college coaching responsibilities.

Will everyone who is available to play play? What happens if someone like Michael Sowers who suffered a concussion last summer gets nicked up towards the end of this summer? Will the Waterdogs be able to say you can’t play?

Ultimately, who cares what the rosters look like at this event?

The sixes format is something fun and new. It isn’t replacing what we are going to watch on Memorial Day Weekend. It isn’t replacing the PLL summer title game.

Perhaps, it will allow some player pool athletes an opportunity to play their way onto a summer roster spot. Perhaps, it will help further the exposure of the sport.

At the very least, we get something that is far more interesting and organized than those Team USA scrimmages against Notre Dame or Denver that used to be broadcast from Florida.

A great day for lacrosse news as predicted earlier this morning.

Press Release:

PLL Announces Return of Championship Series; Eight-day winter tournament to be played annually in World Lacrosse Sixes format

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — The Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) powered by Ticketmaster has announced that the Championship Series will return in February 2023.

As part of a refreshed model, the top four teams from the preceding PLL regular season standings will qualify for the tournament. Highlighted by the PLL’s mission of trailblazing the future of professional sports, including its broader push for inclusion in the 2028 Olympic Games in LA, the Championship Series will be played in Sixes-format. Qualifying teams will travel a 12-man roster to the 2023 tournament to compete in round robin play, finishing with a single-elimination playoff.

“As we thought critically about ways to expand the PLL, driving more seasonal awareness and providing additional playing opportunities and compensation for players became a top priority,” said Co-Founder and President Paul Rabil. “We’re thrilled to be re-introducing our Championship Series — now with an organic throughline from our summer regular season into the winter tournament.”

Games will be played in World Lacrosse Sixes format, including four 8-minute quarters on a 70-by-36 meter field. Instead of taking face-offs after goals scored, goalies will restart play with a clear. There will be a 30-second shot clock for each team’s possession, and face-offs will occur at the start of each quarter.

“The next half decade will be pivotal for the international growth of lacrosse,” said Co-Founder and CEO Michael Rabil. “As a proud partner of World Lacrosse, we’re excited to showcase the Sixes format and continue to push for lacrosse’s inclusion in the 2028 Olympics.”

In July 2021, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Membership voted to grant full recognition to the international federation for lacrosse. This was a major step toward inclusion in the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

Players competing in the Championship Series will receive compensation in addition to their PLL salaries that includes a wage and prize bonus based on their team’s finish. All games will be distributed through ESPN platforms. More details on location and tickets are forthcoming.

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