Attentions Turn Toward IIJL Championships

by CLL

The 2023 IIJL Championships were not kind to the Canadian Lacrosse League and the Canada international program. For the first time since 2016, Canada did not win gold at the World Juniors falling to the United States. Less than a month later, a shorthanded Canada roster lost a heartbreaking overtime gold medal game against the United States at the World U18s. 

"Last year hurt." Said Todd Wilfong who coached Canada at both the World Juniors and World U18s. "Individually, we were very happy with each player's performance. But we fell short collectively as a group at both Championships." Wilfong added. 

In addition to battles on the floor, the CLL was forced to overcome artificial obstacles created by Associations in Saskatchewan and Ontario off the floor. "The situations in Saskatchewan and Ontario are very different, but both are deeply rooted in conflicts of interest and deliberate corporate interference." Explained Chris Fox, President of the Canadian Lacrosse League. 

[PHOTO: Canada U18 roster prior to the start of the Gold Medal Game where they lost in overtime to the United States.]

As tumultuous and disappointing last year's IIJL Championship season was, the CLL has already found early success with the 2024 IIJL Commonwealth Cup and European Tour. "We're excited about the players we've already had a chance to work with this year." Wilfong detailed in regards to the two international trips to Australia and Europe. 

"We will continue to provide Canadians from every province and territory with the opportunity to play box lacrosse internationally - our rosters are proof. And, if that means expanding so players aren't held back by associations -  we'll do it." Fox said passionately about moving forward.

Not being able to compete in the 2023 IIJL World U16 Lacrosse Championships due to the mentioned outside interference, the CLL is returning to the World U16s this August; a IIJL Championship that Canada has never won. "We're focused and ready" said Wilfong on being back at the World U16s.

Adding to the historic watershed year for international women's box lacrosse, the inaugural IIJL Women's World Junior Lacrosse Championship will also take place August 29 - September 2, 2024 in Utica, NY along side the men's World U18s and World U16s highlighting the long weekend's events. 

"The inclusion of the IIJL Women's World Junior Lacrosse Championship is our continued effort to provide development pathways for box lacrosse players domestically and internationally." Said Fox. "Development events of this calibre aren't offered anywhere else - we've been doing this since 2015." Added Fox in regards to IIJL World Junior Lacrosse Championship and IIJL events. 

The CLL has now entered the Summer Evaluation Period, with players competing with their minor and junior teams domestically in Canada under their respective Associations. Players interested in competing with the CLL are encouraged to complete an application (click) for the correct age category. Upon receiving an application, CLL staff internally evaluate applicants for potential inclusion on a Canada international program roster. If players meet the CLL staff's needs, players are contacted via the information provided.