The Lime

A Look Back With Lyle Shirley

July 17, 2014

Lyle Shirley was an amazing lacrosse player who set multiple records at Lake Forest College and was voted the most valuable player of the team.

After college he played for the Detroit Turbos of the Major Indoor Lacrosse League from 1991 until the franchise's end in 1994.  This means he was on the Detroit team who won the 1991 MILL championship.

I had the ability to interview Lyle who answered all my questions and was extremely cooperative.

1. After your amazing career at Lake Forest, how did you get involved with the Turbos? Were you drafted?

I was playing for the Chicago Lacrosse Club with three [then] current members of the Turbos, Tom Aldrich, Adam Mueller, and Dan Pratt, when we played a club team from Michigan. The assistant GM saw me play, and asked me to come try out for the next season.

2. What was the 1991 Major Indoor Lacrosse League Championship like? Any great memories?

The 1991 Championship was a great experience. The best experience for me was the level of talent on the team, and being able to learn from them. I remember one of my first practices, and Ronnie Martinello was telling me to be ready for the ball at all times, especially when the Gait brothers were on the floor. During a scrimmage, I was breaking up the left side of the floor not yet looking back, when the next thing I know Gary nailed me in the back of the helmet with a 10 yard behind the back pass on a frozen rope. I learned my lesson.

3. What happened at the '94 brawl between Detroit and Philadelphia? Did you get into any of the action?

I got sick 2 days before the Wings game in '94, and didn't make the trip to Philly. I heard about the train wreck when the team got back. I played with Steve Govett last year in Vail, and he gave me his side of the story. Looking back on it, I guess we can have a laugh about it now.

4. You must have really liked the Turbos as you played with them until they folded, would you have ever left by choice?

I loved playing with the Turbos. I loved playing in Joe Louis Arena, and the fans were awesome. I never would have left Detroit by choice. It would be great to see a team playing there again!

5. Do you have any funny memories with the team you want to share?

I do have one funny memory about a teammate who shall remain nameless. Back in the day, our uniform consisted of purple and grey bike shorts. This particular player used to use his version of the "Rock Sock" (look up the Spinal Tap movie), to enhance his "look". We would laugh waiting for his extra "equipment" to fall out...

I would just like to thank Lyle Shirley again for his cooperation & involvement.  If you have any MILL memories don't be afriad to share them in the comments or on our forum.

Old-Style Lacrosse Face-offs

July 8, 2014

So this past week I was watching the 1974 finals from the original NLL.  The game was about to start, but something looked different.  The two face-off men lined up perpendicular to the goalies at the center of the court.  It looked like an ice hockey face-off.  The referee held the ball down to the ground in between them and then lifted his hand and blew his whistle.  The two players sticks flew in and the ball got slapped away towards one end of the court.  What the heck just happened?

I was extremely confused so I turned to my search engine, typed in "Old style lacrosse face off" and searched.  I got no results that helped me.  So then I figured that it was up to me to solve this mystery.  My first stop was a video of a 1932 box lacrosse match, one of the very first games ever played.  At the very beginning of the video is a face-off and it looks just like the one from the 1974 video.  So now I know these old-style face-offs had been going on long before the 1974 NLL championship.  

I began to wonder if field lacrosse ever did these face-offs.  This led me to the discovery of a video of a 1950 field lacrosse game.  In the beginning the game begins with a regular modern face-off.  This shows that field lacrosse hasn't been doing these old-style face-offs since at least 1950.

So I believe I have answered one question: where did they go?  The answer is that there was 12 years between the last game of the original NLL and the first game of the Eagle Pro Box Lacrosse League (what is now the modern NLL).  Maybe the game changed by people blending in field lacrosse elements which explains the absence of these old-style face-offs.  However one question still remains: Where on earth did they come from?

The answer to this one took a lot more searching but I believe I have the answer.  The answer has to do with the very creation of box lacrosse.  In the 1920s when box lacrosse was first created it was promoted by the then owners of the Montreal Canadiens Joseph Cattarinich and Leo Dandurand.  They played the game in Ice hockey rinks during the summer when the NHL was not in season.  These were all hockey people who figured "The attendance will be low if it's a completely new sport, so let's make it as similar to hockey as possible".  Add this thinking to the fact that Ice Hockey referees just wanted to keep face-offs the way they new them and you have the answer.

This is certainly an interesting tidbit in lacrosse history and I'm surprised there is nothing else on the internet about these old-style face-offs.  Do I hope people bring these face-offs back?  No, boxla is already pretty similar to hockey the more things that make box unique the better.

UPDATE (7-8-2014) : Here is the link to a documentary about the Maryland Arrows who played in the original NLL: at about 6:18 you can see two of the players engage in one of these "Old-Style" Face-offs.

The included image is under a creative commons license and is from popofatticus on Flickr.

The Evolution of the Box Lacrosse Goalie

June 24, 2014

If you've been a box lacrosse fan for a long time, you've probably noticed some changes in the game over the years.  From crease sizes to smaller nets, boxla has come a long way from what it once was.

If there's any one thing that's changed the most since the creation of the sport, it's definitely the goal keepers.  If you look at the hockey goalie, the only real change has been the addition of a helmet.  If you look at a box goalie you will see far more changes.

In the 1930s when the first games of box were played, most people saw box lacrosse as hockey without the ice.  One would think that with this belief the goalies would have worn leg pads, elbow pads, and gloves just like the hockey goalies from that era.  If you thought this you were wrong, box lacrosse goalies in the 1930s wore no pads at all.

Image #1 is a frame from a video of a 1932 box lacrosse match filmed by the British Pathé.   As you can see the goal keeper is wearing absolutely no pads.  Most professional lacrosse players can shoot at or over 100 MPH.  Could you imagine taking a 100 MPH shot right to your chest?  That's crazy!  Even hockey goalies at the time wore chest pads and gloves.

Luckily, this tradition of no pads didn't stick for very long.  As box grew in popularity so did the safety concerns of the goalies.  During the 1950s and 1960s the goalies wanted to protect themselves, but saw hockey pads as too much and wanted something they could still run around in.  So goalies designed new pads combining hockey pads along with their desire for mobility to produce a very interesting hybrid.

Image #2 is a picture of Don McElhone in 1966.  As you can see he is wearing thigh and chest pads similar to hockey goalies of the time, but the gloves and ankle pads are different, allowing for more mobility as I mentioned above.  It's also very important to notice that he's wearing no helmet.  This means one of those 100 MPH Lacrosse shots I mentioned before could still him right in the dome.  This shows how pads were originally only meant to keep players in the game, and not for safety.  They didn't care about long-term brain damage, just dings to the ankle or chest that would sting so bad they'd have to be taken out.  This attitude of pads was soon to change as the 1970s approached.

At the end of the 60s and the beginning of the 70s box goal keepers finally began using head protection.  While most hockey goalies of the 1970s were wearing fitted masks (think of the masks horror movie characters wear) box goalies began wearing full helmets.  This is because lacrosse shots to the face are head-on bullets that could do serious damage to the skull or brain, while a hockey puck usually only leaves a small cut.

 Picture #3 is a picture of goal tender Don Watts from 1975.  As you can see his helmet doesn't look anything like helmets most goalies wore in any sport at the time.  It was a brand new concept for goalies to wear helmets so they just threw on the first thing they could come up with along with a HUGE neck guard.  Seriously, that neck guard looks like a bib.  It's just ridiculous.  Even with the addition of the helmet, goalies were not done evolving.

In 1986 the Major Indoor Lacrosse League was founded and with this new league came changes to the box lacrosse goal keeper.  Starting through the 80s and going into the 90s goalies began wearing more modern helmets, thicker pads and started using heads made of mesh instead of traditional leathers.  These weren't major changes from the 1970s goalie, but they certainly do increase the gap between the look of a box goalie and a hockey goalie.

And finally we have the present day goalie.  The changes from the previous goalies are: MUCH bigger chest pads, MUCH bigger leg guards, and MUCH bigger gloves.  Also the helmets got a little different, they look a little more like hockey goalie helmets.  The opinion on the new pads are mixed.  Some say they provide great protection and are perfect.  Others say these new pads are way too big and look ridiculous.

Picture #4 is a modern box lacrosse goalie.  As you can see, the argument that the pads are too big is very real.  Despite goalies being this big there are still around 25 total goals in the average boxla game.  This shows how both sides to this argument have a point and why the modern box goalie is a large point of discussion.

To conclude, box lacrosse goalies have come a long way over the past 84 years.  From no pads to 10 pounds of pads the look of a goal tender certainly has changed.  And weather these changes have been for the better is something I will leave up to you.




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Gait Polar Ice Lacrosse Shaft Review

June 18, 2014

Last time I posted I discussed various aluminium alloys and how they differ.  This made me want to review a shaft and what better time than now to review a shaft not many others have reviewed yet.

Before we get the review started, here's a basic outline of the shaft:


30.25 in. (including end-cap)*

30 in. (excluding end-cap)*

Weight: 5.5 oz.
Material: C555 aluminium alloy
Color: White

*The end-cap, or butt end is built into the shaft and is non-removable.

Now on to the part you came here for, the review.  The Gait Polar Ice is a very nice shaft, at five and a half ounces it weighs about the same as a Warrior Kryptolyte.  However weight is just about the only thing in common these two shafts have.  For one, the Polar Ice has a built on end-cap.  Is this a bad thing?  Not at all, it doesn't add any more weight than a regular end-cap would so I believe it just adds to the aesthetic appeal of the handle.  Another difference between the shafts is the material they're made of; C555 alloy for the Polar Ice and C405 for the Kryptolyte.  This allows the Polar Ice to be slightly lighter than the Kryptolyte.  Another concern you may have is how easily the shaft dents.  My experience is that from 3 practices and one 5-game tournament where I scored three goals, I saw no dents or bends in the shaft whatsoever.  My final verdict on the Polar Ice is that it's a great shaft for any offense man.  Although newcomers to lacrosse may be scared away by the $100 price tag, it is definitely worth the money and I would recommend it to any player. 

Aluminium Lacrosse Shaft Alloy Guide

June 12, 2014

Shafts these days are confusing.  Companies will throw many different alloys in your face without any explanation besides 'Durable!' or 'Lightweight!'  Here is my chart to clear up the confusion and provide an easy explanation:

Where Should the Next NLL Team Be?

June 5, 2014

the popularity of lacrosse has sky-rocketed in recent years.  An article from US Lacrosse said that there was a 158% increase in lacrosse participation between 2008 and 2012.  So with this ever-expanding growth at the youth level, you'd assume there would be more growth at the pro level, right?  While the MLL added the Florida Launch to its league this year, and the NLL only relocated the Stealth to Vancouver, so the NLL hasn't really made any expansions.

Here is a map I whipped up of all the current NLL teams (as of June 5, 2014):

The question is: Where should the next pro lacrosse expansion team be located?

I've looked over several website and the same locations kept being named at all of them.  Here is a look at five of the markets:

1. Detroit

Detroit, or Michigan in general, was one of the places I have always believed needs a lacrosse team, and many people on the internet seem to share my opinion.  There are two simple reasons a team should be placed in Michigan.  One, lacrosse is getting huge in Michigan.  The Cherry Bomb lacrosse tournament (which is in Michigan) attracts over 175 teams from as far away as Texas every year!  That's incredible!  Now if you combine that with the fact that Detroit has some of the most dedicated sports fans in the nation, and you have a prime location for a New professional Lacrosse team.

2. Ottawa

While all of you MLL fans probably aren't used to Canadian teams, every NLL fan knows that Canada is king when it comes to lacrosse.  Ottawa was given one shot at an NLL team, the Rebel, who in three seasons accumulated a record of 9-37 and went inactive before they could play a fourth season.  It's a real shame that nobody has given the capital of Canada a second chance at hosting a pro lacrosse team.  Box lacrosse is the official summer sport of Canada and it's not like Ottawa isn't a big enough market; the Senators have a giant fan base who would love to also support a lacrosse team.

3. Boston

Why did the Blazers ever leave Beantown?  Well, technically, they never did.  In 2011 they announced that they would suspend operations until they could find a new home facility, but they never returned.  So can the Blazers be on this list?  I think so.  Even if someone buys the Blazers up it is technically an expansion because the number of teams in the NLL would increase from nine to ten.  And what's the reason a team should be located in Boston you ask?  Because it's the East Coast!  Lax is so big on the East coast it's ridiculous!  An NLL team in Boston is a real no-brainer and I hope they get a team with in the next few years.

4. Washington D.C.

Lax is HUGE on the East coast, and D.C. is no exception.  They already have a large fan base for their NHL, NBA, NFL, and MLB teams, so why not an NLL team?  The Wave and Power played in D.C. for very short times, however, nowadays lacrosse is much more popular in the Capital City and is a prime candidate for a professional lacrosse team.

5. Hartford

While there wasn't a big enough fan base for an NHL team, there certainly is enough for an NLL team.  Like Boston and D.C. the reason is obvious, it's the East coast, and Hartford is in the dead center of the lax region.  If an NLL team opened up in Connecticut, they would be welcomed by tens of thousands of fans and of course, money.

Honorable Mentions

  • New England
  • Montreal
  • California
  • Chicago
  • Florida


May 22, 2014

"My tilt game is 10x better than yours!"  Is a line i am starting to hear more and more lacrosse players say, and I don't like it.

For starters if you don't know what tilt is, it's how your lacrosse helmet rests upon your head in relation to the way the bottom of the helmet goes.

 If you still don't get it, here's a chart:

As you can see from the diagram, it's possible to have different amounts of tilt all from the same helmet.   It depends how tight your chinstraps are as well as how big your head is as to weather or not you'll have a lot of tilt.

So now that you know what tilt is, you probably have a couple of questions.  Here are some answers to a couple common questions:

What are the advantages of having a lot of tilt?

None, really.  I will say that if you have no tilt and you're looking through the second bar of your face mask, you do look a little dumb.  However there are no real advantages to having a ton of tilt.

What are the disadvantages of having a lot of tilt?

The more tilt you have, the more of the back of your neck is exposed.  This can be extremely dangerous as one big blow to the neck could seriously harm you.

How much tilt should I have?

It's up to you, but I would say only a moderate amount.  Just enough so that your looking through the top bar of your face mask and not the second.

NOTE: Although it may seem obvious to some of you, I would just like to confirm that there is no such thing as tilt on a box lacrosse or hockey helmet.  Hockey and box helmets have a bottom like an upside down "L" where as field lacrosse helmets are in a line.  You cannot have tilt on an upside down "L" so it's not possible.

Lacrosse History: The Only NLL Game Ever Called Off Due To Fighting

May 8, 2014

Allow me to set the stage: it's the 1994 Major Indoor Lacrosse League season.  You're at a packed in game at the spectrum in Philadelphia where the Detroit Turbos and Philadelphia Wings are set to battle.  You might have only paid $20 for your ticket but you're about to get a lot more than you bargained for.

The game starts off as just any other box lacrosse game you'd seen before.  Passes were made, goals were scored, and fans were cheering.  All of a sudden, a huge hit happens.  A Detroit player nails one of the Wings from behind, and his teammates aren't very happy about that.  A fight breaks out and the Turbo wins, but there's more where that came from.

Now, after anything small that could possibly upset a player happens, one or two fights break out.  Boarding, a fight, a check, a fight, a slash, a fight.  Before you know it it's not just one or two players fighting, it's three, no, five, no, the benches are clearing!  It's a brawl!  The goals come up and meet at mid-field, after barely saying a word, they're fighting too.

The referees can't stand it anymore.  They game gets called, but it doesn't stop much.  Players continue fighting and no fans dare to leave.  The officials try their best to pry the players apart but they won't budge, so they just let them do it.  The fight until one by one all of the fights end, then the players leave, and so do you.

Okay, now that you know the story, here's the facts:

This 1994 game marks the only game in National Lacrosse League (the MILL changed their name to NLL in 1998)  history to be called off due to fighting.  This game showed many fights of intense anger and rage, in other words, these gentlemen were very angry.

Like any good story, there's footage, uploaded by some good people on YouTube:

Here is about a minute of footage of the fight:

Here is a longer version of the fight, but it has music playing over it the whole time:


Top 10 Fights of All Time!

April 24, 2014

Hello everybody!  We just opened up a Dailymotion account where we will begin uploading videos!  The channel is so follow us if you want to stay up to date on our latest videos.

Our first video is a top 10, the top 10 greatest NLL fights of all time!  To watch th

The Hunt for a Bucket of Lacrosse Balls

April 11, 2014

The Story

Like most lacrosse players at this time of the year, my team just started practices for our spring season.  The other day after practice once I got home I thought "why not go take a few shots?" so I went to my backyard with my stick & gloves, but noticed something was missing.

I needed a ball.

I went into my garage to find that 3 of my balls I had been keeping in my garage had found their way into a puddle of water during the off season, and were now greasers.  After searching around for about 10 minutes I eventually stumbled upon 2 clean balls but I realized that this was a problem.  I needed more balls and a place to put them.  I remembered that some of my coached used to carry around big buckets full of lacrosse balls so I decided I would get my very own bucket.  But the question is where?

The Hunt

My first idea way to grab an old plastic bucket, hit up a sporting goods store, and fill the bucket up with 40 or 50 balls.  This idea was quickly shot down however as I headed into my local DICK'S sporting goods and found that a pack of three NOCSAE certified lacrosse balls costed $25!  At this rate it would cost me over $330 dollars to fill my bucket with 40 balls, which is ridiculous, so I got another idea.

I then got the idea of going to a used sports shop to get my ball fix.  I called in and inquired about lacrosse balls the guy on the line told me that they definitely had more than 50 ready for me to buy, and at a more reasonable price.  I went in to the store later that day and sadly discovered that all of the balls were greasers.  It's a shame that these people don't even know what they're buying, and it's even more shameful knowing that a lax bro went in there and scammed them.  I was pretty disappointed but then a great idea hit me; use the internet.

I went straight to Google and searched bucket of lacrosse balls and was surprised to see how many result there were.  I first found a bucket of 50 for $135 but I thought I could easily do better.   I went to another website and found that I could get a bucket of 40 for $100, but if I entered a coupon I could get twenty of for the amazing price of $80.  $330 is 412.5% more expensive than $80 so I am glad I took the time to find the best place for me to buy balls, and a place to store them.

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