COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, USA – World Lacrosse today announced that hosting rights to the 2024 World Lacrosse Box Championships have officially been awarded to Utica, New York, in the United States, where the sixth men’s and first women’s tournaments will run concurrently from September 13-22 of next year. Up to 30 men’s and 10 women’s teams are expected to compete in the 10-day world championship event.
Hosted by Mohawk Valley Garden and Oneida County with support from World Lacrosse and USA Lacrosse, the tournament will feature the top box lacrosse players in the world competing for their national teams. The Utica 2024 Organizing Committee is headed by former NHL and Olympic goaltender Robert Esche, who serves as president of Mohawk Valley Garden and the American Hockey League’s Utica Comets.
The Utica University Nexus Center – which opened in November 2022 – will serve as the main tournament hub, featuring three playing surfaces within the state-of-the-art, 169,440-square-foot facility. The Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium (known as the ‘Aud’) – a 3,956-seat multi-purpose arena and home of the Utica Comets – will also host a full slate of games, including the opening night and gold-medal matches. The two venues are connected via skyway and are operated by Mohawk Valley Garden.
Utica is in the Central New York region, which is conveniently located on the doorstep of three nations – Canada, Haudenosaunee and the United States. It is close to several major cities, including Boston, Montreal, Ottawa, Philadelphia and Toronto, and is in the heart of several indigenous communities.
World Lacrosse CEO Jim Scherr said: “We are delighted to award these championships to Central New York, the cultural home of lacrosse and a key region for box lacrosse. We very much look forward to the first world championship in women’s box lacrosse, which brings us to a fully equitable slate of events across genders, and we are thrilled with how capable and eager the organizers are to host both championships.”
The competition will be the sixth edition of the event, which dates back to 2003, and will be hosted by the United States for the first time (the Onondaga Nation served as host in the Syracuse, New York, area in 2015). A total of 20 teams competed in the 2019 event in Canada, where the hosts captured the gold medal, defeating the Haudenosaunee in the final, while the U.S. earned bronze. The three North American teams will figure prominently in next year’s championship, and are expected to be nearly entirely comprised of professional players from the National Lacrosse League and Premier Lacrosse League.
Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. said: “We are happy to be hosting the World Lacrosse Box Championships in Oneida County next fall. The investments the county has made in the Adirondack Bank Center and the Utica University Nexus Center continue to draw premier events to our region. We thank World Lacrosse for selecting us for this honor and we look forward to supporting our partners at Mohawk Valley Garden as we welcome thousands of fans from around the world to our community.”
Esche said: “It is an incredible honor to host the World Lacrosse Box Championships in Utica. We are excited to showcase our facilities and all Utica has to offer. Hosting the men’s and women’s championships simultaneously will create an unprecedented atmosphere in the Adirondack Bank Center and the Utica University Nexus Center.”
Utica and Central New York hold a rich lacrosse history, with the game originating in the region. Utica University sponsors men’s and women’s NCAA Division III lacrosse teams, and there are more than 1,000 members of the non-profit Tri-City Lacrosse. The Utica Yeti are the defending champions of the North American Box Lacrosse League’s Upstate Division, and LAXNAI – the world’s largest international box lacrosse tournament – calls Utica home. Four NLL teams are based in New York State, while Syracuse University and the University at Albany headline a rich collegiate lacrosse landscape in the region.
The 2015 World Lacrosse Men’s Box Championship in the Syracuse area was one of the most successful WL championships in terms of attendance and revenue.
Utica was also just announced as the host city for the next edition of the International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship, which will similarly take place at the Adirondack Bank Center and Nexus Center, and will be staged in April 2024.