The MIAA boys’ lacrosse season this spring has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but seniors in Eastern Massachusetts might have a chance to take the field after they graduate.
During an online meeting Thursday night, the Eastern Massachusetts Lacrosse Coaches Association came up with an idea for an alternative tournament for graduated seniors this summer.
The 2020 Senior Classic would be held on Sunday, July 20th and Monday, July 21st if Massachusetts is in a much better position to contain the health crisis at that point. The coaches recognize that this is all dependent on health, but if such a tournament is legally possible, Lincoln-Sudbury coach Brian Vona says the association will go forward. “If the governor says we can play, we will play as long as it’s safe,” said Vona.
The EMLCA would also have to clear a number of logistical hurdles regarding field space, referees, and the playing format, but the hope of any event is the best these coaches can currently offer their seniors.
“It really came together quickly,” said EMLCA president Tom Dalicandro, the head coach at Concord-Carlisle.
“This is in the beginning stages and its very tentative right now. If there’s a best-case scenario where there are some kind of sports this summer, we’re open to anything. If we can do something, even on the smallest of scales, we want to do something for our guys.”
‘“This is in the beginning stages and its very tentative right now. If there’s a best-case scenario where there are some kind of sports this summer, we’re open to anything. If we can do something, even on the smallest of scales, we want to do something for our guys.”’
Tom Dalicandro, Concord-Carlisle coach
Because most teams may be unable to field a full roster of seniors, the tournament would likely be played on a smaller field under the same 5-on-5 format that will be introduced at the 2028 Olympics.
Each team would be comprised of 10-plus players and teams that don’t have enough seniors could be paired with another school.
Early discussions indicate the tournament would be broken into three divisions based primarily on where schools traditionally align. Vona would organize the Division 1 bracket, Dover-Sherborn coach Brian McLaughlin would set up Division 3, and Dalicandro would handle Division 2.
The tournament would not be for profit, and the EMLCA would ask for the smallest fee possible from schools in order to pay for fields and referees. It is unknown at this point whether parents and other spectators would be able to attend.
If the MIAA deems it a violation for high school coaches to coach their graduated players, Dalicandro said teams would likely recruit a former player or friend of the program to coach.
For now, the EMLCA wants to publicize the idea to gauge how other programs might react.
“We have no idea what the feedback is going to be from the other coaches,” said Dalicandro.
“We talked about all scenarios like doing it regionally or just between town rivals. We just want to get it out there and have the coaches get back to us. Then it’s kind of just a waiting game.”