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LAXNAI RETURNS TO UTICA

UTICA, NEW YORK — The North American Invitational (also known as “LAXNAI”), the world’s largest international box lacrosse tournament, is back in Utica in 2024 at the Utica University Nexus Center.  Teams will be competing at the Men’s, U-18 Boys, U-15 Boys and Women’s Division the weekend of October 17-20.

The tournament, which was originally launched in 2016 at the Onondaga Nation Fieldhouse, is usually held in September, but in 2024 will follow the World Box Lacrosse Championships in Utica. 

The tournament is always chock full of pro players shaking off the rust ahead of NLL camps, as well as dozens of international and NCAA stars, and amateur prospects looking to prove their worth against the world’s best. Teams from not just across the continent, but from abroad, have competed in the NAI, such as Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Mexico, Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Scotland and US Virgin Islands.

 

 

Non-Stop Action

The tournament format, perfected in Czech Republic and relatively new to North America, has been universally endeared by the traditional box lacrosse community. Nearly the entire schedule is played with quick 30 minute games (two 15-minute halves), with a new match-up facing off every 50 minutes. The action-packed games are quick to their conclusion and fan-friendly as inevitable mismatches are over in a blink-of-an-eye.

With players and teams from so many different leagues and rule-sets assembling in Syracuse, the NAI is played with the universal international (World Lacrosse) rulebook, with slight adjustments made due to the shortened game format (ie: minor penalties are one minute instead of two).

The Brand-New Nexus Center

For box lacrosse, the Utica University Nexus Center is unlike any other facility on the planet — featuring three side-by-side rinks, with brand-new turfs, and 12+ state of the art pro locker rooms.  The main rink, which serves as the home ice of the Utica University Women’s Hockey team, as well as the NABLL’s Utica Yeti, features 1,100 seats, as well as suites, a full bar/restaurant and vendor space overlooking the turf.  Nexus Center will serve as the primary hub of the 2024 World Box Lacrosse Championships.  For more information on Nexus Center, visit www.nexusutica.com.

Why Central NY?

Often called “The Birthplace of the Game” due to its storied history, and regularly demonstrated in modern times by the NCAA’s most popular team in Syracuse University, Central New York is also the center of the lacrosse universe.

Literally.

Utica is central to most of North America’s box lacrosse hotbeds, crossing American, Canadian and Iroquois communities. A five-hour driving radius includes American lacrosse hotbeds such as Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia, New York and Rochester, as well as nearly the entire Iroquois confederacy and talent-rich Ontario, Canada. 70% of all players in the National Lacrosse League live within driving distance of Utica.

Event History

2016

The NAI launches with 12 teams from six countries. The Vermont Voyageurs, after narrowly falling to Thompson Brothers Lacrosse, 8-7, in pool play, battled their way back to the Championship Game. However, Buffalo Bandits star Dhane Smith dominated in the final, scoring four goals and five assists to lead TBL to a 17-8 win and the inaugural NAI title.

Final Rankings

  1. Thompson Brothers Lacrosse
  2. Vermont Voyageurs
  3. Caughnawaga Indians
  4. Onondaga Redhawks
  5. LCC Radotín
  6. Team Jamaica
  7. LaserSharks
  8. Nova Scotia Privateers
  9. Syracuse Stingers
  10. Brooklyn Dodgers
  11. Goldstar Tel Aviv
  12. LaxAllStars House Team

2017

21 teams compete in the second annual NAI, with consolation games overflowing into the historic Outdoor Box. Four goals and an assist by tournament MVP Austin Staats wasn’t enough for the Frog Pond Maulers to prevail in the final; Lyle Thompson scored four goals and an assist to lead TBL to a thrilling 10-9 win in a packed Fieldhouse.

Final Rankings

  1. Thompson Brothers Lacrosse
  2. Frog Pond Maulers
  3. Onondaga Redhawks
  4. Casey Powell World Lacrosse Foundation
  5. St. Lawrence River Wolverines
  6. Basom Bombers
  7. Syracuse Stingers
  8. Young Guns
  9. LCC Radotín
  10. Goldstar Tel Aviv
  11. Blue Goose LC
  12. LaserSharks Blanco
  13. Seneca Marksmen
  14. LaxAllStars House Team
  15. Rochester River Monsters
  16. LaserSharks Neon
  17. Caughnawaga Indians
  18. Brooklyn Dodgers
  19. Music City
  20. Cleveland Demons
  21. Courage Game House Team

2018

A record 34 teams compete in the tournament. Although every team is guaranteed five games and competes to a final ranking, a single-elimination format is employed for Championship contention to get to a winner in three days. Team USA formally enters the tournament with “Blue” and “White” squads packed with star-power; they finish 2nd and 3rd respectively as TBL again prevails with an 11-6 win in front of a monster crowd at Onondaga Nation Arena.

Final Rankings

 

  1. Thompson Brothers Lacrosse
  2. USA Blue
  3. USA White
  4. Goldstar Tel Aviv
  5. Onondaga Redhawks
  6. Young Guns
  7. Graph-Tex
  8. Frog Pond Maulers
  9. Goon Squad
  10. LCC Radotín
  11. Basom Bombers
  12. Seneca Marksmen
  13. Big Boys of Akwesasne
  14. LaserSharks Blanco
  15. LaserSharks Neon
  16. Casey Powell World Lacrosse Foundation
  17. Glasgow Clydesiders
  18. Toronto Tigers
  19. Syracuse Stingers
  20. Czech Republic Developmental Team
  21. Team Weekend LC
  22. Poland Developmental Team
  23. Music City
  24. Puerto Rico
  25. Akwesasne Aces
  26. Philippines
  27. Rochester Bats
  28. NOAFE
  29. CatTail Kings
  30. Brooklyn Dodgers
  31. Caughnawaga Indians
  32. LaxAllStars House Team
  33. Cleveland Demons
  34. Courage Game House Team

2019

Despite operating in a World Championship year for the first time, 24 teams competed in LAXNAI. With many pros sitting out due to a busy September with Worlds, a new champion was crowned, with the Six Nations-based Young Guns topping the Canadian squad, Team Weekend, to become the second ever squad to raise the big wood trophy at the Fieldhouse.

Final Rankings

1. Young Guns
2. Team Weekend
3. Onondaga Fire
4. Glasgow Clydesiders
5. Basom Bombers
6. Big Boys of Akwesasne
7. Rochester Bats
8. Seneca Marksmen
9. Vermont Voyageurs
10. Denver Big Tunas
11. Megasharks
12. Poland Heritage
13. NAI Elite
14. Syracuse Stingers
15. Hungary
16. Moon Bears
17. NOAFE
18. Brooklyn Dodgers
19. Pittsburgh Kingz
20. Cleveland Demons
21. Toronto Tigers
22. New Hampshire War Pigs
23. Music City
24. NAI House

2022

Returning from a two-year COVID hiatus, LAXNAI was forced to seek a new home as Onondaga Nation was not yet prepared to host a large-scale event. Utica’s 4,000-seat Adirondack Bank Center and an outdoor box erected in the parking lot would serve a wild host for the temporary event home. The tournament looked vastly different than the prior edition three years earlier, however, the action on the floor was just as strong, with more parity than ever as each of the semifinal games were decided by one goal. Ultimately, the Rochester Bats would hoist the trophy, topping Goldstar Tel Aviv, 7-5.

Final Rankings

1. Rochester Bats
2. Tel Aviv LC
3. Seneca Marksmen
4. Basom Bombers
5. CTC Elite
6. Onondaga LGODS
7. Code Talkers
8. Onondaga Fire
9. Grand River Ironmen
10. Space Lax
11. Utica Yeti
12. Moon Bears
13. Akweasne Aces
14. Maine Northmen
15. Hungary
16. Bang City
17. More Dudes
18. Woodsmen
19. Éire Islanders
20. Brooklyn Dodgers
21. Poland Heritage
22. Onondaga Redmen
23. Mahopac Water Panthers
24. Pittsburgh Kingz

2023

On the heels of the World Box Championships being awarded to the city of Utica, LAXNAI debuted at the brand-new Utica University Nexus Center, the first-ever turf event to utilize all three rinks. CJ and Cole Kirst combined for four goals to lead Team USA White to the LAXNAI title, rolling through a massive 34-team field, while Ontario-based BP Lawyers eeked out a 7-6 win over the Salmonbellies to claim the first-ever women’s crown. The Akwesasne Warriors beat Woodsmen Jr to claim the U-18 Title.

Final Rankings (Mens)

1. USA White
2. Snake Island Muskies
3. Seneca Marksmen
4. Frog Pond Maulers
5. Rochester Bats
6. Goldstar Tel Aviv
7. USA Blue
8. Grand River Ironmen
9. LGODS
10. Éire Green
11. CTC Elite
12. Maine Northmen
13. Onondaga Fire
14. Moon Bears
15. Iroquois Thunder
16. Kahnawake Club 24
17. Goldstar Unfiltered
18. More Dudes
19. Bang City
20. Woodsmen
21. Utica Yeti
22. Great Lakes Alliance
23. Pittsburgh Kingz
24. Brooklyn Dodgers
25. Thousand Island Spirits
26. Mahopac Water Panthers
27. Goldmember
28. Poland
29. Space Lax
30. US Virgin Islands
31. Los Aztecas
32. Éire Grey
33. Portugal
34. Saints Express

Final Rankings (Womens)

1. BP Lawyers
2. Salmonbellies
3. Haudenosaunee Nationals
4. WBLGN
5. Israel
6. Mavericks
7. Team Éire
8. Tri-City

What’s in store for 2024?

LAXNAI will take place at the brand new Utica University Nexus Center!

Check out the top menu for a list of participating teams, schedules, ticket info, streaming links and more!