Dialed In: Your Lacrosse Fix for Wednesday, Sept. 13

Lafayette freshman goalie McCrae Williams, who graduated from Noble and Greenough (Mass.) in June, died Monday after suffering head trauma in a fall as part of a "chain of events" starting Saturday, authorities say.


Good morning. Here’s the latest from around the lacrosse world:

1. The death of Lafayette freshman goalie McCrae Williams remained under investigation Tuesday.

Williams suffered a “major head injury” stemming from a fall before he died Monday, according to a letter from the headmaster of Noble and Greenough School, where he graduated in June. Police said they are trying to determine if alcohol played a role in Williams’ death. Authorities believe Williams was involved in a “chain of events” that began Saturday and ended with his death Monday afternoon.

“Obviously when you have a death like this, a kid this age, something’s going on, so nothing is out of play here,” Northampton County First Deputy District Attorney Terence Houck told The Morning Call.

Hundreds of Lafayette students, faculty and staff members gathered Tuesday night for a vigil on campus to mourn Williams’ death. Members of the lacrosse community took to social media to express their condolences for Williams’ family, as well as support for the teams at Lafayette and Noble and Greenough.

2. The National Lacrosse League is returning to Philadelphia after a three-year hiatus, the league confirmed Tuesday.

The former Philadelphia Wings operated from 1986-2014 before being relocated to New England and rebranded as the Black Wolves, leaving a rabid fan base bereft of professional indoor lacrosse. Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz moved the NLL’s front office to the Philadelphia area and was forthright in his intention to bring a franchise back to the city. The rumors will become reality Thursday with the formal announcement of the team, its name and its home arena — expected to be the Wings and Wells Fargo Center, respectively.

Comcast, which owns Wells Fargo Center, reportedly bought the franchise for $5 million, matching what Joe Tsai paid to finalize a team in San Diego last month. Both expansion teams will begin play in 2018-19.

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Brodie Merrill, the last player to wear the captain’s C for the Wings, revealed that he had hoped to finish his NLL career in Philadelphia. And while the reigning NLL Transition Player of the Year is happy he landed with his hometown Toronto Rock, he joined others in welcoming Tuesday’s news. “We all hoped in the back of our minds this might happen,” Merrill said. “It’s really exciting to see it come to fruition.”

3. The Peterborough Lakers defeated the New Westminster Salmonbellies 9-7 to even the Mann Cup best-of-seven series for Canada’s national Senior A box lacrosse championship at two games apiece Tuesday night. Turner Evans (Toronto Rock), Thomas Hogarth (Georgia Swarm) and Curtis Dickson (Calgary Roughnecks) scored two goals apiece, and Adam Jones (Toronto Rock) doled out four assists for the Lakers.

Peterborough goalie Evan Kirk (Saskatchewan Rush) made 49 saves and New Westminster goalie Alex Buque (Buffalo Bandits) made 40 saves in a defensive struggle. Kirk, who was yanked earlier in the series, has been a big reason why the Lakers have battled back from a 2-0 hole.

4. Major League Lacrosse player movement continued Tuesday, as the Atlanta Blaze signed attackman Tommy Palasek, who spent his first six MLL seasons with the New York Lizards. The Lizards will receive a compensatory fourth-round pick from Atlanta in the 2018 MLL Collegiate Draft. Palasek had 14 goals and eight assists in 11 games this season.

Palasek might not be the only player New York loses to player movement. Defenseman Ryan Flanagan and attackman Matt Gibson filed with the league office Tuesday, as did Rochester Rattlers attackman Ned Crotty. As part of the policy, players with at least five straight seasons in MLL and an expiring contract can declare their intent to seek opportunities with other MLL teams.

5. Nick Myers, who in a 10-month span led the U.S. U19 men’s team to a gold medal and Ohio State to the NCAA championship game, signed a five-year contract extension that will keep him in Columbus through the 2022 season.

6. Casey Powell will be inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame alongside eight others Sept. 23 in Hunt Valley, Md. From the September/October edition, Corey McLaughlin profiles a lacrosse life unlike any other.

7. The Team USA Fall Classic will pit the U.S. men’s training team against reigning NCAA champion Maryland and NCAA semifinalist Towson the weekend of Oct. 7-8. The Israeli national team also will participate in the event, which additionally includes a 9/11 Memorial Game featuring first responders from Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Virginia.

8. Jim Brown, the lacrosse and football legend, will be honored by Harlem Lacrosse with its inaugural Trailblazer Award at its annual benefit Sept. 28 in New York City.







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WHAT WE’RE WATCHING

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WHAT’S ON TAP

  • A look at the state of the NLL with the success of its digital content and expansion strategies.

  • A profile on incoming Hall of Famer Robyn Nye Wood, one of just three players in Virginia women’s lacrosse history to have her number retired.

  • Our “Myth Busters” series resumes by examining the benefits of US Lacrosse membership extending well beyond simply insurance and a magazine.

  • Game 5 of the Mann Cup at 10:30 p.m. ET.

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