Champion Lacrosse today announced the first-ever Ameri-Can Lacrosse Classic, to be played Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, 2015 at the Buffalo Bills’ Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y.
Middle school and high school teams from New York, Ontario and Pennsylvania will play in the inaugural event that will showcase some of the top American and Canadian lacrosse recruits.
“It’s been great to see such continued, exciting growth in the sport of lacrosse, and the Buffalo Bills couldn’t be happier to be hosting the Ameri-Can Lacrosse Classic,” said Bruce Popko, Executive Vice President/Business Development at Pegula Sports & Entertainment. “We’re glad to be able to showcase Ralph Wilson Stadium to these elite student-athletes and coaches, and attract top talent from outside Western New York to Buffalo.”
Champion Lacrosse will host the event, which plays the Middle School division (High School Classes of 2020 and 2021) on Saturday, Oct. 31, and JV (2018, 2019) and Varsity (2016, 2017) on Sunday, Nov. 1. Participating clubs include CNY Roadhawks, Edge Ontario, Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Hamburg, Hill Academy, Navigator, Orange Crush, St. Joseph’s, Western Door and the Western Royals. Each team will get at least one game in Ralph Wilson Stadium.
“We’re excited to be able to not only bring top talent to Western New York but to give these up-and-coming players and their established programs a chance to play in a world-class NFL venue like Ralph Wilson Stadium,” said the founder of Buffalo-based Champion Lacrosse Joe Smith, who last month finished his second stint as a defender for the U.S. National Indoor Team. “Working with the Buffalo Bills to bring lacrosse to The Ralph is something we think will be huge for the sport and a tremendous opportunity for everyone involved.
Built in 1973, Ralph Wilson Stadium seats more than 71,000 fans, annually drawing more than 500,000 people to the home of the Buffalo Bills. In 2014, The Ralph underwent a $130 million renovation.
Recent Champion Lacrosse alumni include Connor Fields (Albany), Max Maxwell (UMBC), Connor Buczek (Cornell), Kyle Zittel (Penn State) and Cooper Stefaniak (Hobart). Champion’s staff includes three-time pro lacrosse champion Joe Smith and fellow U.S. Indoor Team and NLL/MLL veteran Joe Resetarits.
“There are a ton of excellent lacrosse tournaments out there, and we really wanted to give the talented players and teams in our general area a big-time recruiting event here in Western New York, while also drawing attention from outside the region to the emerging hotbed of Buffalo,” said Ameri-Can Lacrosse Classic co-founder John Jiloty. “Giving these young players a chance to play in an NFL venue is pretty amazing, and we are very appreciative for the cooperation from the Bills.”
About Champion Lacrosse
Champion Lacrosse is Western New York’s premier lacrosse training program, providing year-round clinics, travel teams, leagues and private, semi-private and small group lessons. Founded and coached by professional players, Champion’s staff has participated on Team USA, in Major League Lacrosse and the National Lacrosse League and at the highest levels of NCAA Division I, II and III lacrosse.