History of Czech Lacrosse
The history of the game of lacrosse in the Czech Republic has two remarkable points that one could call the beginning of lacrosse. The first one falls back to 1967 when a local Rover Scout “tribe” named Neskenon inspired by life of Native Americans organized first ever lacrosse tournament among the tribe’s clans. Neskenon’s lacrosse was played according to Native Americans descriptions and depictions – with one-handed hand-made small-headed wooden sticks. Later it would become known as Czech lacrosse. This tournament is still held each year and with no doubt it is the oldest lacrosse tournament in the Continental Europe.
For the second beginning, the exact date and place is known – it was May 9, 1986 when some players of Czech lacrosse gathered at Prague’s Hvezda Open Air Arena to experience a new version of their beloved sport. Many of them had hand-made fiber glass sticks which could not survive the demands imposed by players’ enthusiasm. Just few players owned or even saw a real lacrosse stick. But it did not matter, a new passion was born.
A visit of Quebec’s Pierre Fillion, an inventor of intercrosse, and his group of players in 1987 provided another momentum to the development of lacrosse in the former Czechoslovakia not only due to the fact that Canadians donated sixty wooden sticks to the local players.
Shortly after this visit, an English field lacrosse team led by the former ELF president Peter Mundy arrived to Prague in 1988 to promote field lacrosse behind the Iron Curtain. Czech lacrosse representatives recognized that field lacrosse was more common version of lacrosse at the international level and pursued to equalize the focus between both versions of the game. Czech field lacrosse league (National Field Lacrosse League as it has been called since 2006) was initiated in 1992, attended by four teams LC Jižní Město, TJ Malešice, LC Plzeň and LCC Radotín. The Czech Republic was also the constituting member of the European Lacrosse Federation in 1995.
At the international level, the Czech field lacrosse team made its first appearance in the Manchester World Cup’s First Division in 1994 and attended every World Cup ever since. In 1995, the first European Lacrosse Championship was held in Prague and the Czech team ended as runner-up.
In 2003, the Czech Republic attended the first World Indoor Lacrosse Championship in Canada and went home with 5 losses and no win. Only 8 years later, almost exactly 25 years after the first box lacrosse match played in the Czech Republic, the World Indoor Lacrosse Championship was held in Prague and the Czechs reached their best position ever in their preferred and beloved game when reached the semifinals as the best team from Europe.
Just recently, at the European Box Lacrosse Championship that was held on July 2017 in Turku, Finland, the team of the Czech Republic performed very well and they journey to become European Champions was stopped by Israelis in the final game. Despite this heartbreaking loss just by one goal, the Czechs confirmed their position to be a leader of box lacrosse in Europe.