Intermountain Made: IMLAX Sits at Epicenter of Utah Lacrosse Boom


While the impending Division I debut of Utah men’s lacrosse has gotten plenty of attention, lacrosse at the youth level has continued to grow around the state. Just months before the announcement that the Utes would go Division I, news broke that the state would sanction the sport at the high school level starting in 2019-20.

The central hub of Utah lacrosse is located in an office just a short drive off of Interstate-15 in Murray. That’s where Intermountain Lacrosse (IMLAX) is helping grow the game in a state yearning for ways to get involved.

Since 2017, IMLAX has been busy hosting events for youth lacrosse players — like US Lacrosse-sponsored TryLax clinics — and spawning new high school programs. Born as a confluence of two youth leagues (Utah Lacrosse Association and Greater Utah Lacrosse League), IMLAX has become the pulse of lacrosse in the state.

“US Lacrosse has helped us implement a toolset within our system and it has created exceptional results,” said Bob Caldwell, vice chair of the IMLAX Board. “IMLAX has come up with an incredible vision of what Utah lacrosse needs to be, and as a board, we are just trying to balance the resources to make them successful.”

The lacrosse scene in Utah has come a long way since Mason Goodhand founded the Utah Lacrosse Association in 1995. The ULA merged with a girls’ lacrosse league and formed a US Lacrosse chapter in 2000.

The ULA was the primary source for youth lacrosse in Utah for the better part of a decade. The Greater Utah Lacrosse League was founded in 2010, adding a second outlet for lacrosse in the state.

In 2016, the ULA, which operated leagues for 16 years, divested and IMLAX was formed as a separate entity. After IMLAX bought out the GULL in 2017, the two were merged under the same umbrella, aiming to help grow the game together.

Now, IMLAX uses US Lacrosse principles — like the Lacrosse Athlete Development Model — to help generate interest in the sport throughout Utah. IMLAX coordinators Collin Madsen and Maddie Ferguson orchestrated six TryLax clinics in eight months in 2018. 

By Madsen’s estimate, the clinics averaged 75 children, 90 percent of which were new to the game.

“They give us the tools,” Madsen said of US Lacrosse. “The blueprint is there and we’re utilizing it.”

Another boost to IMLAX’s cause will come in 2019, when lacrosse will become an officially sanctioned high school sport. 

“It’s huge,” Madsen said. “It puts that rubber stamp on the sport in Utah.”

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