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National Lacrosse League unveils NLL UnBOXed youth-focused grassroots initiative across No. America

The National Lacrosse League (NLL) today announced the launch of NLL UnBOXed™, the League’s new continent-wide grassroots campaign designed to bring the NLL’s fast-paced lacrosse game to more young boys and girls in more communities across North America.

The NLL will expand its multi-national activation footprint to include approximately 60 North American communities by the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles when sixes lacrosse, similar to the NLL’s 6-on-6 box lacrosse game play style, returns as a medal sport for the first time since 1908.

“NLL UnBOXed is an innovative approach to introducing and fostering the love of box lacrosse’s unique style of play among young boys and girls across North America,” said Kurt Hunzeker, NLL Executive Vice President, Commercial Operations. “With NLL-style sixes lacrosse coming to the LA28 Summer Olympics, it is imperative that the League leads by example and establishes NLL UnBOXed to create meaningful connections with more communities from coast to coast.”

Nine new “NLL UnBOXed Lacrosse Communities” will join the 15 existing NLL teams for the 2024 launch of the multi-tiered campaign: Baltimore, Charlotte, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Montréal, Ottawa, Salt Lake City, Seattle, St. Louis, and the Tampa Bay area.

The NLL will practice innovation and unique activation when engaging these non-franchise markets and grassroots participants, by creating community-relevant “team names” and brand identities to illustrate the League’s commitment to growing box lacrosse across Canada and the United States.

The first of the new NLL UnBOXed Lacrosse Communities’ brand identities will be unveiled today at 1pm ET, beginning the week-long rollout of the NLL’s nine new activation markets across the NLL’s social channels.

The next phase of the initiative begins in 2024 with the start of “NLL UnBOXed At School™,” a physical education-centric lacrosse curriculum created by NLL Hall of Fame inductee Casey Powell and based on the successful SPEED Lacrosse® platform Powell developed after he retired from the NLL.

“I am thrilled to be a part of NLL UnBOXed At School,” Powell said. “The SPEED Lacrosse curriculum will not only introduce lacrosse to young students across North America but also provide them with a pathway towards a lifetime of enjoying the sport. I myself was introduced to lacrosse in my gym class, and SPEED Lacrosse offers the perfect format to sample the game, play it at its fundamental level, and accelerate the NLL grassroots initiative.”

Built specifically for elementary and middle schools, NLL UnBOXed At School also includes a lacrosse equipment endowment program as the NLL and its partners will provide an assortment of sticks, balls, and goals to participating schools’ physical education departments.

All elementary and middle school administrators, athletic directors, and/or physical education teachers can request to become an inaugural participating school by registering at NLL.com/UnBOXed.

“The NLL UnBOXed program offers greater opportunities for all players at any age and skill level to increase their competency at an accelerated rate in a fun and friendly environment,” said Brian Lemon, NLL Executive Vice President, Lacrosse Operations. “The SPEED Lacrosse curriculum incorporated into NLL UnBOXed provides an unrivaled foundation for players that transfers to all disciplines of our game. Players are going to love it.”

NLL UnBOXed further solidifies the League’s commitment to growing youth participation, as last week the NLL joined other U.S.-based lacrosse properties to form Elevate28 with a focused mission to double lacrosse participation in the U.S. to 4 million annual players by the end of the decade.

The 2023-24 NLL season will commence with NLL Faceoff Weekend the first weekend of December.

About Jerry Milani

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Jerry Milani is a writer and public relations executive living in Bloomfield, N.J. He has worked in P.R. for more than 30 years in college and conference sports media relations, two agencies and for the International Fight League, a team-based mixed martial arts league, and as a freelance professional. His PR clients have included Wizard World and FAN EXPO, which produce pop culture and celebrity conventions across North America, USA Wrestling, the National Lacrosse League, Strat-O-Matic Media, the Pacific Life Open and Pilot Pen Tennis tournaments and dozens of others. Milani is also the director of athletic communications for Caldwell University. He is a proud graduate of North Rockland High School and Fordham University and when not attending a Yankees, Rams or Cougars game can be reached at Jerry (at) JerryMilani (dot) com.

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