Lacrosse players are an exceptionally different breed of athlete.
For proof, consider this scenario: you’re playing for the Vancouver Warriors in the National Lacrosse League (NLL), the highest level of lacrosse played anywhere in the world.
You hold down a day job as a substitute teacher, but when the bell rings after school on Friday, you board a plane for Fort Worth, TX for a bruising double header in the Lone Star State.
The plane lands back at YVR on Sunday or Monday and back to the working world you go.
It’s this blue-collar, workman-like mentality that shapes everything the Vancouver Warriors stand for.
Whether it’s the fast-paced game on the floor, commitment to the larger lacrosse community in B.C. or ensuring an affordable night out, the Vancouver Warriors really are the everyman within the B.C. pro sports landscape.
“All of our players have extra jobs – they’re firefighters, real estate agents, accountants, substitute teachers and everything else you can think of,” says Warriors chief business officer Colby Fackler. “You need those guys committed to being a professional lacrosse player on top of managing their other jobs, their lives and everything else. That speaks to the quality of our people and the quality of the lacrosse experience that we offer.”
The game-day experience offered by the Warriors lands somewhere between the lightning speed of an NHL game and the interactive nature of a courtside NBA offering. Music is played during the contest, big hits are laid on the regular and $5 beers are offered throughout the matchup.
On top of that, the Warriors are one of the highest-scoring teams in the NLL.
“There’s lots and lots of action and there are some big, big hits,” Fackler says. “I think that’s the thing you’ll see on the floor is that our guys are all in their mid-to-late 20s, so these are grown men out there. They’re laying big licks out there. It’s pretty fun from that standpoint, but the skill level is also pretty ridiculous.”
Getting in on that action is the equivalent of paying cover at a downtown nightclub – tickets start at $20 and loads of incentives are offered through the Warriors Club and other season’s ticket packs.
The exclusive seating offered through the Warriors Club allows for a family-themed night out, or for the crowd that wants in on the $5 beers. The food is cheaper than other big-ticket sporting events in Vancouver and games feature live music, DJs or specific themed nights.
Those purchasing various season’s ticket packs can also bring friends and family for discounted rates.
“We really want to make the experience affordable for our fans,” Fackler says. “Whether it’s the family side or the downtown party crowd, we want to make it as cheap as possible for them to have a good time.”
Family plays a pivotal role with the Warriors, both from the team and community outreach perspectives. A large portion of the club and the league at large draws its players from the Lower Mainland and those same players give back to the communities they grew up in during the offseason through volunteering coaching and mentorship.
“Two of our top guys, Logan Schuss ad Mitch Jones, they’re so active in the community with camps and academies,” Fackler says. “Those guys are out there coaching the kids and they’re still helping out at their local clubs. It’s about making sure that we’re giving back through those opportunities so that young boys and girls can get better at lacrosse.”
Outside of the offensive fireworks put up by Schuss, Jones and Keegan Bal, Reid Bowering is quickly establishing himself as the name to watch in the rookie-of-the-year race. The 23-year-old Coquitlam native is on pace to break three longstanding NLL rookie records and had amassed 21 points in 15 games as of mid April.
“He just came into the league this year and he’s absolutely lighting it up,” Fackler says. “He’s definitely one of the guys on the rise in the lacrosse world for sure.”
The Warriors close out their season at home on April 30 against the San Diego Seals, but fans are encouraged to start planning for the upcoming season and purchase tickets online at tickets.vancouverwarriors.com.