World Lacrosse today announced a pair of 2023 awards, with Steve Stenersen receiving the Lifetime Award and Cheryl MacNeill receiving the International Officiating Award.
Stenersen has been selected for the highest honor bestowed by World Lacrosse after dedicating more than 35 years of his life to the growth and development of the sport of lacrosse. He served as the CEO of USA Lacrosse – the sport’s National Governing Body in the United States – from 1998 to 2021 after having led its formation. He also served on the World Lacrosse board of directors as its vice president from 2014 to 2022.
World Lacrosse CEO Jim Scherr said: “Steve Stenersen is one of the most influential modern figures in the sport. His tireless contributions and belief in lacrosse are a driving factor in its stature today. He is a special leader and trailblazer, and above all else, a selfless steward who is befitting the highest award World Lacrosse can bestow.”
Under Stenersen’s leadership, USA Lacrosse generated more than $400 million to provide the infrastructure and resources necessary to fuel the sport’s domestic growth. During his tenure, the organization’s annual operating budget expanded to more than $22 million, USA Lacrosse membership increased to more than 440,000, total organizational assets grew from $4 million to $40 million and United States participation quadrupled to more than 900,000 players. Prior to USA Lacrosse, Stenersen served as executive director of the Lacrosse Foundation – one of eight organizations that merged to establish USA Lacrosse – from 1984 to 1998.
From 1993 to 2003, he chaired the International Lacrosse Development Committee, a collaboration between the International Lacrosse Federation and the International Federation of Women’s Lacrosse Associations to centralize international development initiatives.
Stenersen was also selected to serve on the eight-person Unification Task Force that led to the merger of the ILF and IFWLA in 2008 and formed the Federation of International Lacrosse, the sport’s first unified international governing body that is now known as World Lacrosse.
During his tenure as WL vice president, Stenersen chaired the search committee for the organization’s first CEO in 2017. He also chaired the Blue Skies Working Group, which resulted in membership approval of the sixes discipline – which best positioned the sport for greater international growth and Olympic inclusion – and an evolved World Lacrosse championship structure and event calendar.
A native of Baltimore, Maryland, USA, Stenersen played college lacrosse at the University of North Carolina, and was part of two NCAA championship teams, serving as captain his senior season. He continued his playing career with the Mt. Washington Club after college and was a professional player in the inaugural years of the National Lacrosse League. Stenersen was inducted to the USA Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2021.
MacNeill has been selected as the 2023 recipient of the International Officiating Award, which is presented to individuals who have made a significant impact worldwide to the growth and development of lacrosse officiating, while demonstrating the highest standards as an official.
Don Blacklock, the technical director on the World Lacrosse board, said: “Cheryl is one of the most impactful officials in our sport with over three decades of experience and more than 20 years of international officiating. In addition to her excellent work on the field, she has helped the officiating community with her efforts to mentor young officials and help many countries improve their officiating programs.”
MacNeill has been certified as a women’s field official in Canada, her home country, since 1989, and has been officiating at the international level since 2003, presiding over multiple world championship medal games. She serves as the chair of international events at Lacrosse Canada and served on the World Lacrosse Rules Committee for more than 10 years.
MacNeill has also traveled extensively around the globe to assist several countries with their officiating development and has been instrumental in the design and delivery of the officiating program within Canada. MacNeill played for Canada at the 1989 and 1993 Women’s Championships, and was a coach for Canada at the 1995 and 1999 Women’s U19 Championships, making her one of the few figures in lacrosse to play, coach and officiate at world championships.
Past World Lacrosse award winners can be found here.