PHILADELPHIA, February 13, 2017 – The National Lacrosse League (NLL), the largest men’s professional indoor lacrosse league in North America, today announced an extended partnership with Right To Play, a global organization dedicated to educating and empowering youth in need through sport and games, while driving lasting social change in their communities. The NLL has been teaming up with Right To Play for five years to increase awareness of the organization and raise money to support local programming benefiting children in indigenous provinces.
The League-wide initiative will formally kick off its fifth year of collaboration with a Right To Play weekend from February 17-19. Players, coaches and staff from all nine NLL teams will be auctioning player jerseys and hosting fundraising activities to benefit the youth empowerment organization. Representatives from Right To Play will perform a ceremonial ball drop at the Toronto Rock home game, where they will take on the Georgia Swarm. The Rock are also donating 30 tickets to host Right To Play youth participants at the game.
Players will also support Right To Play through additional fundraising and youth lacrosse activities throughout the year. The programming will not only support local children and youth facing adversity, but help grow lacrosse within Indigenous communities across the country
“Supporting Right To Play is a natural fit for the League; because we’re not only giving back to our local team markets, but to Indigenous communities where lacrosse has such deep roots,” said Nick Sakiewicz, Commissioner of the National Lacrosse League. “This is an extraordinary way for the NLL to recognize and celebrate lacrosse’s heritage, while simultaneously supporting and empowering youth.”
Through an ongoing partnership since 2012, the NLL and Right To Play have reached over 1600 Indigenous children and youth with the support of 19 players across the League. In addition to teaching on-the-field skills to play the game, players have taught off-the-field life skills such as leadership and sportsmanship to help children and youth work together to build communities and make a long-term impact. This not only encourages an active lifestyle and educates youth on the game, but also creates a positive experience that they can apply in their everyday lives.
”We are thrilled to build upon our work with the National Lacrosse League and its teams, players and coaches to empower Indigenous children and youth through the power of lacrosse,” said Lori Smith, National Director, Right To Play Canada. “In addition to being an integral part of a child’s life, play and sport can also help children and youth learn essential life skills like teamwork and communication. With the support of the National Lacrosse League, we look forward to reaching even more communities with lacrosse-based programming.”
Current players and alumni of the NLL that have supported Right To Play over the past five years include Dan Dawson, Paul Dawson, Shawn Evans, Chet Koneczny, Andrew McBride, Chris McElroy, Creighton Reid, Nick Rose, Brad Self and Luke Wiles.
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About the National Lacrosse League
The National Lacrosse League (NLL) is North America’s premier professional indoor lacrosse league. Founded in 1986, the NLL ranks third in average attendance for pro indoor sports worldwide, behind only the NHL and NBA. The League is comprised of nine franchises across the United States and Canada: Buffalo Bandits, Calgary Roughnecks, Colorado Mammoth, Georgia Swarm, New England Black Wolves, Rochester Knighthawks, Saskatchewan Rush, Toronto Rock and Vancouver Stealth. The 2017 NLL regular season, commemorating the League’s 31st year, is underway. For more information, visit NLL.com and find the NLL on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
About Right to Play
Right To Play is a global organization that uses the transformative power of play to educate and empower children facing adversity. Reaching more than one million children through weekly sport and play activities, Right To Play operates in more than 20 countries worldwide – including Canada. Active in over 85 First Nations communities across Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia, the Promoting Life-skills in Aboriginal Youth (PLAY) program uses sport and play as tools to empower indigenous youth as leaders in their communities. To learn more about Right To Play Canada, please visit, righttoplay.ca or find us on Facebook and Twitter.