Jamaica to host historic international lacrosse event
PRESIDENT OF the Jamaica Lacrosse Association (JLA), Calbert Hutchinson, said it’s a possibility that more than the already-23-confirmed teams could be on show at the Pan American Lacrosse Association (PALA) Sixes tournament, set to take place in Kingston from November 9-11 at Sabina Park.
The event, dubbed ‘Lacrosse Explosion in Jamdung’, is open to juniors and seniors, as well as both men’s and women’s teams, and will be the first international lacrosse event to be held in the region.
“This is the first regional lacrosse tournament to take place in the Caribbean, and it’s taking place in Kingston, Jamaica, where we are expecting 13 countries and 23 teams. And the numbers might climb in the coming days,” Hutchinson said.
“We are excited to share the experience. We have senior men and women’s teams signing up. We have eight senior women’s team, a few u20 men’s and women’s teams and the door is still open. So in the coming days and months we might have more than the 23 teams taking part in this event,” he surmised.
The event is to be held at Sabina Park and St George’s College, while Wolmer’s will be available as an alternate venue.
Jamaica was granted to rights to host the event after the Pan American Lacrosse Association (PALA) sent out a request for proposals. The JLA put a proposal together and approached the Jamaica Olympic Association to partner with them and the rest is history.
“They (JOA) came on board and sat with us and looked at all options and decided to put our bid in and it was successful. And with the infrastructure that exists with the Jamaica Olympic Association, the network that is there, we are expecting a seamless execution in terms of providing not just a lacrosse experience, but a holistic experience, where culture, food and brand Jamaica are highlighted throughout this opportunity,” he said.
The JOA will provide financial support for the event. However, JOA president, Christopher Samuda is hoping to establish a business model that can be used to capitalise the sport and put the country in a position to earn.
“We (JOA) have been with them (JLA) from the very beginning and we continue to grow with them. This Pala sixes tournament makes us very pleased with the direction in which the assocition is going. They have a business-oriented leadership and they understand the business and commercialisation of sport, while at the same time growing the talent and giving that opportunity for the talent to come to fruition on the regional and international stage.
“But using a commercial model for the first time in the delivery of an international tournament not only to grow the sport, but to make it a profitable event. We have to understand that before we practise sport, we must understand the business of sport so it becomes sustainable and generations will be able to enjoy the sport not just competitively, but on a level that generates business in the sport and makes it sustainable,” he commented.
The event will attract over 1,000 participants and Samuda said the intention is to make it a wholesome experience for all.
“We are saying the event can be successful holistically. The Jamaica Olympic Association will be supporting the event financially. We will be giving over a million dollars and we will be asking our partners to deliver in kind as well. We have supported them in the past and we will continue to support them financially, as we look to make lacrosse one of the flagship sports in Jamaica,” he said.