National Lacrosse League Announces Partnership with Ontario Junior Lacrosse League
Player, coach, and official development and collaboration Part of Pact
Although details of the partnership are being formalized now, the NLL and the OJLL have been working together informally for the last several months as the OJLL adopted nine rules from the NLL ahead of their 2021 season, providing players, coaches, and officials with enhanced opportunities to elevate themselves to the next level. Many members of the NLL were involved in OJLL Commissioner Mark Grimes' recommendation to implement the rules, including NLL general managers Ed Comeau (Georgia Swarm), Paul Day (Philadelphia Wings) and Derek Keenan (Saskatchewan Rush), and NLL referee Ian Garrison.
"We have been very impressed with what the Ontario Junior Lacrosse League has been able to accomplish under the leadership of Mark Grimes since he took over in April of 2021," said Nick Sakiewicz, NLL Commissioner. "We want to continue to grow and unify the game of lacrosse under a consistent rulebook and serve as an inspiration to the players, coaches, and officials who are currently and will eventually go through the OJLL."
"We have some of the best minds in the National Lacrosse League behind the Ontario Junior Lacrosse League right now," said OJLL Commissioner, Mark Grimes. "The OJLL is committed to remaining the NLL's number one source for talent and this partnership brings together two leaders in the sport to provide a continuous pathway of development for players, coaches, and officials."
"The NLL is very excited about continuing our work with the OJLL," said Brian Lemon, EVP of Lacrosse Operations for the NLL. "The ability to have OJLL playing NLL rules will benefit players, coaches, and officials for the future. Now is the time to establish these relationships with the lacrosse organizations as the NLL continues to grow, needing the next crop of talent and to unify the game."
The OJLL has perennially provided top level talent to the NLL and 2021 was no exception— 48% of all selections in the 2021 NLL Entry Draft were developed in the OJLL, including 12 first-round picks. Heading into the 2021-22 NLL season, three officials were onboarded to the NLL after demonstrating standout performances in the 2021 OJLL season. These three officials will join 24 others as members of the NLL staff who began their careers in the Ontario Lacrosse Association and are veterans of the OJLL.