OTTAWA, ON (September 6, 2016) – Team Canada will travel to Denver, Colorado, later this fall for a series of training sessions and exhibition games against some of the top NCAA lacrosse teams in the USA. Our men’s field lacrosse athletes will take on the University of Denver Pioneers on October 22 and the United States Air Force Academy Falcons on October 23. Both games will take place at Peter Barton Stadium on the campus of the University of Denver.
The Canadian national roster will be comprised of current national team athletes, including members of the 2014 senior and 2016 junior teams, as well as other invitees from the NCAA, NLL and MLL.
The team will be coached by Randy Mearns (St. Catharines, Ont.), head coach at Canisius College and Matt Brown (Burnaby, B.C.), associate head coach at the University of Denver. Both men helped Canada capture a gold medal at the 2014 FIL Men’s World Championship. The remainder of the coaching and support staff has yet to be finalized.
“These games are important to help ensure the continued strength of the program,” said Stu Aird, the Canadian Lacrosse Association’s director of high performance and international relations. “They are an indication of our national team management group’s commitment to maintaining the level of excellence they’ve established over the years.”
The matches will allow the coaching staff to assess their squad moving forward and start planning for the 2018 FIL Men’s Lacrosse World Championship in Manchester, England. The competitors will be no slouches either.
The Pioneers captured their first and only NCAA Division I national championship in 2015, becoming the first-ever lacrosse program from outside the Eastern Time Zone to win the title. They looked poised for a repeat this past year, entering the tournament as the No.2 seed, but were upset in the opening round by Towson University. Since becoming a varsity program in 1999, Denver has made nine NCAA Tournament appearances.
In their 50 year history, the Air Force Academy Falcons have made four NCAA Tournament appearances, most recently in 2016. They advanced to the quarter-finals in 1971 and bowed out in the first round of the 1988, 2014 and 2016 events. The team has been consistently ranked in the Top 20 of Division I teams in recent years.
This trip out west would not have been possible without the support from current national team equipment and apparel sponsors New Balance Athletics and Warrior Sports, who also sponsor the University of Denver, as well as a corporate sponsorship from longtime Team Canada supporters Donville Kent Asset Management Inc.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to compete with two of the NCAA’s best teams in Denver and Air Force,” added Dave Huntley, director of the men’s field program for the Canadian Lacrosse Association. “We very much appreciate coach Tierney and the University of Denver’s generosity in hosting us and for the support from Warrior, New Balance, and Donville Kent Asset Management.”
Additional information on the fall exhibition matches will be released in the coming months.