ELLICOTTVILLE—The Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with Rhino Lacrosse, will host the inaugural Ellicottville Lacrosse Tournament as part of the Ellicottville Lacrosse Festival, Sept. 22-24.
“We are excited to host this and are going to schedule it as a multi-year event here,” said Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Brian McFadden. “It really suits our approach in Ellicottville, where we’re big on sports having hosted the national bowhunting championships for years.”
While the festival will include a multitude of venues starting with open ceremonies during the evening of the first day, the tournament features nine divisions for boys and men from ages of 8 to 50-plus to be held at Ellicottville Central School and the village park in a four-game format with no more than eight teams per division. The tournament hopes to bring youth and adult teams from all over the Northeast United States.
McFadden said conversion of football and soccer fields at the Ellicottville schools combined with baseball and soccer facilities at the village park were all needed to create a venue to run 10 simultaneous games to accommodate an expected 72 teams.
Three of the five boys divisions are distinguished by school grades that include 3-4, 5-6 and 7-8. The older boys divisions are JV (grades 9-10) and Varsity (grades 11-12).
Three of the four divisions for men are categorized as master’s levels I-III, with only one open division for ages 21 and above. Masters level I is for ages 30-plus, masters level II for ages 40-plus and masters level III for ages 50-plus.
Ryan Powell, the operator and founder of Rhino Lacrosse, thought Ellicottville would be a good fit for the tournament after visiting the town six years ago. McFadden said the amount of lodging, the number of fields and the community itself all lend themselves to a successful festival.
“[Rhino] run tournaments in Vail, Colorado as well. He thought that we had the perfect place to run their kind of tournament,” McFadden said. “[Powell] gave us a call to see if we were interested and it took us about six months to put it together to make sure we had the infrastructure ready to go and it’s signed, sealed and delivered and ready to roll.”
Registration is by team and costs range from $750-$1,100. The adult divisions begin play Sept. 22 at 2 p.m., while the youth divisions have a Sept. 23 at 9 a.m. start. Team registration is through a single contact individual and communication liaison for each entered team. Game format includes two 22-minute (running time) halves with two U.S. lacrosse certified officials and a certified sports medicine staff on site for all games.
The festival plans a series of events, clinics and demonstrations in an effort to help promote the sport of lacrosse that include wooden stick making demonstrations, 3-on-3 mini tournaments, exhibition wooden stick game and skill tests. Lacrosse merchandise will be on sale through vendors and the event will also include a fun zone and dunk tank with live music and food trucks.
The festival’s mission statement is to “Preserve lacrosse’s incredible history and promote its totally unique community. As this game continues to spread it is important to support the growth with events that embody the true essence of the sport. It is our responsibility to supply the next generation of lacrosse players with a deeper understanding of America's first and most sacred game.”
The festival directors are Mike Riorden and Powell, who is a four-time All-American at Syracuse University.
More information can be found by phoning Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce media and communications manager Chris Chapman at 699-5046 or online at www.ellicottvillelacrosse.com.