Pro Laxers, Iroquois Take to Hawaii
The Crease Monkeys have been a recent staple of the Hawaii Invitational, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this weekend.
© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com
What to bring to the Hawaii Lacrosse Invitational Tournament: beach towel, sunscreen and Halloween costume. And try not to forget the lacrosse gear.
For the 20th year, club teams and players will compete and socialize on the fields and watering holes in Honolulu, within walking distance of the Pacific Ocean and in view of the famous Diamond Head volcano. The annual tournament, this year held Oct. 29-31, is organized by the Hawaii Chapter of US Lacrosse and has attracted about 35 teams among four divisions.
Of course, the idea of playing in warm weather in October at Kapiolani Park, located across the street from Waikiki Beach, will help persuade some to sign up.
"Often players will surf between scheduled games," said tournament director Rudie Schaefer.
Sixteen teams, including the Iroquois Nationals team that was set to play at the FIL World Championships before the team's much-publicized passport problems, will play in the Men's Elite Division (18 years and older) and 12 teams are scheduled for Women's Elite play. The Men's Masters (33 years and up) and Men's Grand Masters (44 and up) have four teams.
Crease Monkeys are the defending Men's Elite winners and Breakaway Lacrosse won the women's side last year. The event has a strong history of competitive games. Gary Gait and Casey Powell are among former MVPs. Nike is the lead sponsor this year, Schaefer said.
"Most of the elite teams are packed with Division I and pro players," Schaefer said. "We also get about six Japanese teams that come annually. This year we will be hosting teams from Thailand, Canada, the Iroquois Nationals, and club teams from the East and West Coasts."
Social events also are planned, starting with an opening party Friday night at Rum Fire restaurant and bar. There also is an annual costume party (it's Halloween weekend, after all) at LuLu's Surf Club after the games end Sunday. According to the information packet for the event, the most outlandish costume ideas are encouraged.
"Playing lacrosse in paradise against the best in the world, jumping in for a quick surf session followed by socializing at sunset with friends," Schaefer said. "Does it get any better?"
Inside Lacrosse confirmed rosters for three teams of note: Wimmer Solutions, Crease Monkeys and the Iroquois Nationals. Those rosters appear below.
John Grant Jr.
Coaches: Cam Bomberry, Ross Bucktooth, Ed Shenandoah, Ansley Jemison, Mark Burnam, Jerome Thompson.