If you haven’t yet hopped on the train, I would advise to do so right now. It is late July, and the Premier Lacrosse League just finished up the All-Star break and is getting set for the second half of the season and the playoff push. At this point, each team has played each other at least once, with some teams having played each other twice so far. The league is small. In its first season they have only six teams…the same amount as the other Professional lacrosse league—The MLL. Many people want to say there is competition within the two leagues—which there is, but I like look at it as a plus for the sport. A way to grow the game…for now. In a few years I see there being only one Professional Lacrosse league in the United States. But for now there are two, and we have to live with that. This week will be about the PLL, and next I will cover the MLL.
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What I think is so interesting about this league is the camaraderie that surrounds it all. If you missed it, the PLL held their All-Star festivities this weekend. All-Star game, skills competition, players party, etc. The guys in this league are best friends off the field. On the field you find a different animal. The PLL has been awesome with their social media efforts to blast as much content to Twitter and Instagram as possible, much of it unfiltered.
The Premier Lacrosse League has done an outstanding job with many aspects of the first two months of their season. Currently the six teams are battling it out week after week to finish in the top four spots. Those four will fight for the crown while the remaining two and two others will fight for the first pick in a playoff bracket that many in the sports world have yet to see. As of now, the Whipsnakes hold the top spot at 5-1 and the Chrome round out the bottom, only one game out of a playoff spot at 1-5. Although there are positives, some problems continue to appear.
First revolves around fighting. Co-owner Paul Rabil went on Barstool Sports’ Pardon My Take and discussed multiple things about the PLL, one of which being fighting. According to my knowledge, this was the first time the PLL came out to the public and announced that fighting was legal, even almost encouraged. It throws a bit of the hockey side into the sport but the one downfall of fighting is the ten minutes afterwards. In the first few weeks of the PLL, fights almost occurred every week, with punches being thrown, players being picked up and tossed and benches clearing. Afterwards, it takes the referees a good amount of time to sort out the penalties, clear the field and get back to the game. It takes the air out of the game and has continuously happened.
On the other side, there have been many positive strides the PLL has made the last two months to improve the quality of professional lacrosse and grow the game. The PLL has included many aspects of the game of lacrosse that the fans have never seen before.
The field is shorter and the shot clock is shorter than the NCAA’s. The PLL cut ten yards out of the middle of the field, making the transition from defense to offense a lot faster. The shot clock is only 52 seconds, which makes taking a quick shot an opportunity that many players take when they can get it. The 2-point line is 15 yards, one shorter than the 16 yard MLL line. In lacrosse, 15 yards is an attainable shot which many players can score from, especially long poles who can get more velocity on their shots. These three simple changes has made the PLL faster and more exciting to watch.
I don’t want to say the PLL is reinventing the game of lacrosse, but it surely is making highly calculated small tweaks to the professional side of the game that has attracted a ton of fans and customers. We are just six weeks into the inaugural season and the PLL has already caught the eyes of many in the smaller circles of lacrosse and bigger circles of the sports world across the country. To say I am excited to see where this league and the sport of lacrosse catapults itself to in the future is an understatement. Yes, in a few short years the lacrosse world will be much much different than it is today, but that could very well be a positive for the sport’s trajectory moving forward. Be sure to follow @PremierLacrosse on Twitter and @pll on Instagram to stay up to date with all of the action.
Sam Kuhn currently is the graduate assistant for the men’s lacrosse program at Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio and is working to complete his Masters of Business Administration in 2020. Sam graduated from the College of Wooster in 2018, where he received his Bachelors Degree in English and played lacrosse as well. In his four years, Sam was a two time All-NCAC selection, a first team All-Region selection in 2018, and surpassed 100 goals for his career, one of seven members in program history to do so. Sam has interned with Inside Lacrosse, and wrote for the sports section of The Wooster Voice.