Most, if not all, local box lacrosse programs have wrapped up their fall schedules. I spent the better part of Saturday at The Rinks in Huntington Beach checking out the California Cup tournament put on by West Coast Lacrosse and Victory Lacrosse.
The event featured 24 teams in five age brackets from at least seven clubs, stretching from South Orange County to Ventura County, playing roughly 47 games on three rinks over about a day and a half. Literally, wall to wall lacrosse.
Victory took two championships, winning the High School A bracket with a team comprised primarily of St. Margaret’s Episcopal players (remember, St. Margaret’s won the US Lacrosse Southern Section title last spring) and the U-13 bracket.
West Coast Lacrosse Sharks teams won the U-11 and U-15 brackets. The OC Bulls, under the direction of new Trabuco Hills HS coach Johnny Rodriguez and playing under the Victory umbrella, won the High School B bracket.
Other clubs taking part included Beach Cities Lacrosse, Laxidasical from the Santa Clarita area, Team Panos, Orangemen Lacrosse from El Dorado HS in Placentia and Power Minutes out of Chaminade HS.
This technically is the fourth year of the Cali Cup, but the format has changed nearly every year. Last year, for example, it was a de facto championship tournament for the Southern California Indoor Lacrosse League (SCILL). This year, though, it was more of an independent event, open to teams not affiliated with SCILL.
“I think that for a second year tournament offering the indoor game, something that is still new to a majority of American players, the tournament is very solid,” wrote Crawford McCarthy, Director of Marketing and Box Development for Victory, in an email interview. “Justin Eaton and his team at West Coast Lacrosse run a very smooth tournament, and The Rinks could not be a better venue for a box tournament. Competition for a second-year tournament is good, and I believe it will only get better.”
Eaton says that is the plan.
“I think we can handle maybe 10 more teams, if we ran all three rinks all day Saturday and Sunday,” he said. “We’re definitely prepared to handle growth in the tournament. One thought is turning the California Cup into more of a festival type event, with things like an all-star game and a skills competition, like fastest shot. We also want to add a coaches dinner on Saturday night, where we have a catered event for all the coaches that bring their teams. It’d be a great networking opportunity and a chance to share ideas about grown the sport.”
I had a great conversation with Eaton and a long email exchange with McCarthy about the state of box lacrosse in the local lacrosse community. Once I digest their thoughts, I’ll put together a broader post. But there’s a lot to digest, and it could mean box lacrosse takes off even more in the near future.