Last weekend a few people had mentioned they had been to the Lacrosse at Rogers Arena and it had been a good laugh. $14 tickets, $5 beers and fights, whats not to love. So when Alistair asked if was I keen to go this weekend I was 100% in. The game was the Vancouver Warriors vs Colorado Mammoth.
So my experience of lacrosse is watching my sister and friends play lacrosse in England, which for the purpose of this I am calling field lacrosse. Apparently this is called box lacrosse and I didn’t really know what to expect but figured it would be very different as its played on top of the ice rink with some carpet (I guess) laid down. I had heard it was a bit like ice hockey without the ice and played in the air.
We arrived just in time for the national anthems and then the start. I have know idea if this is a bully off or some other name, but involves the two centres basically kneeling down and wrestling over the ball and more often than not resulted in a foul.
The basics: there is a goal keeper (who has so many pads and a small goal I couldn’t see how they would score), and then 5 outfield players. Like ice hockey the players sub every 45 seconds or so. Each time you get the ball you get 30 seconds to attack, then the other team get the ball, if your shot is saved your time restarts. You are able to body check/slam people in to the walls, but sometimes it resulted in a penalty and power play, never worked out the rhyme or reason of it. The players look a little funny as they just wear shorts on the bottom half but loads of pads and helmets on top. The game is 15 minute quarters.
The first quarter took a while to get used to but its very quick and physical. It finished 3 3 and seemed quite even although I didnt think the Vancouver Warriors keeper was very good. The atmosphere was very different to the hockey in that they keep the music blaring while playing (to be fair the DJ was cracking out some great tunes!!). Its a real party atmosphere and the person on the loud speaker doesn’t even pretend to be neutral, giving updates along the lines of: “Go Warriors”, “we can make up this deficit”, “thats a great save” and leading all the chants.
The second quarter was a bit one sided and the keeper was again a bit suspect. Definitely got the impression that Colorado were a lot better. They were just playing higher quality lacrosse with less mistakes and being more clinical. They won it 4 0 to lead 7 3. It was then pointed out that Vancouver are a new team and have only won one game! There were a few big hits and physical confrontations that almost came to blows but everyone was being restrained. Vancouver were definitely the more physical team.
Half time was a very North American affair with cheerleaders performing and giant beer pong on the pitch. This is just something I will have to get used to at their sporting events. The one thing that really entertained me was that during half time people come out had hoover the pitch!! No idea why but seemed a bit ridiculous.
At the start of the third quarter the atmosphere wasn’t great as it was a bit of a one sided game. However the Warriors scored a couple to get back within one before the Mammoths scored again to lead 9 7 going in to the last quarter.
Again the Warriors got within one before the Mammoths lead 10 8. The Warriors scored again and then with 1 30 to go they equalised. The crowd went wild!! Then with 30s to go Colorado scored on the break which lead to a lot of booing. But there was to be a twist as it was reviewed and the strikers toes had gone inside the D before the ball crossed the line, disallowed and then everyone went wild again.
This meant golden goal overtime, although everyone we had asked had no idea what happened in the event of a tie. Its a very new sport to Vancouver.
The Warriors started overtime on the front foot and hit the bar within 30 seconds and while we were still getting over that they hit the bar again and then before they could show the replay they finally managed to score, third time lucky. The crowd went bonkers, think it was the best atmosphere I have encountered at the Rogers Arena and this is doubly impressive as the upper stands were closed and pretty sure about 90% of people there had no idea what was happening.
So the Warriors had got their second win which was awesome even if we didn’t get to see a fight which, I think, most people were there. It was an absolutely brilliant evening and I would highly recommend it and its offers great value for money. Getting a big group together and going there before a night out would be pretty epic. Sure I will be back!