On February 15, 2017 Intermountain Lacrosse (IMLAX) and Greater Utah Lacrosse League (GULL) combined to form one of the largest youth lacrosse leagues in the United States. The combined programs will now service over 4,500 boys and girls (kindergarten through 8th grade) in a region spanning from Northern Utah to Spanish Fork.
The league will be led by a combination of IMLAX and GULL executives including Niki Harding, Collin Madsen, Marty Wescott, and Maddie Ferguson. The group has over 25 years of lacrosse league administrative experience and will be focused on driving innovation, improvement, and continual player / program development.
IMLAX’s motto is ‘Grow the player. Grow the league. Grow the game.’ “This was a timely opportunity for us to bring together our two youth leagues,” noted Wescott (a GULL Founder and new addition to the IMLAX executive team), “and we are excited to implement the best practices from both leagues to deliver the best possible experience to kids of all ages and lacrosse experience levels.”
“IMLAX will also continue its proud tradition as a ‘Gold Stick’ league under US Lacrosse guidelines, with the highest standards of player safety and coaching experience,” noted veteran IMLAX Youth Director Niki Harding. As part of that effort, IMLAX will be rolling out the Player’s Health mobile application to help coaches, teams, and the league better track the health and well-being of their youth athletes.
Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States by nearly every measure. In Utah, the sport is growing faster than the national average – but is still an emerging sport from a coaching skill level perspective. To help accelerate and standardize coaching, IMLAX is partnering with the local US Lacrosse Chapter and collegiate programs to help train and mentor coaches and players.
“We want to continue to be a national model of intelligent player development and innovative technology implementation,” commented Collin Madsen, who is leading the coaches training initiatives and the introduction of the Athlete Development Model (ADM) to IMLAX. The ADM program, initiated by US Lacrosse, is focused on providing a fun, recreational environment where kids are taught the right skills the right way at the right age. “Our long term goal is to provide standardized coaching that drives more players to be involved [in lacrosse] for a longer time!”
Registration for the spring 2017 league is open at IMLaxUtah.org, but that hasn’t stopped the team from actively taking the lacrosse message into the community. In an effort to raise participation and awareness IMLAX is partnering with local elementary schools to teach lacrosse for a day or hold school-wide introductory assemblies. IMLAX’s Maddie Ferguson commented, “we try to introduce gym teachers the sport as well so that they can continue teaching lacrosse after we are gone.”
Intermountain Lacrosse, Inc. is a 501(c)3 charitable non-profit organization (IRS registration pending) dedicated to the development, promotion, and administration of youth lacrosse in Utah and southern Idaho. www.imlaxutah.org. Inquiries can be forwarded to Niki Harding (801) 590-9950