3d Tri-State Gearing Up Junior Black Wolves For A Second Run at Junior NLL Tournament

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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — The Tri-State region’s best up-and-coming lacrosse players are dialed in to what is amounting to another incredible box lacrosse experience with the Junior Black Wolves, a partnership between the New England Black Wolves of the National Lacrosse League and 3d Lacrosse.

Born out of the relationship between the Mohegan Sun-based National Lacrosse League franchise and the 3d Tri-State offices in Hartford, the Junior Black Wolves are a group of 3d-powered youth box lacrosse teams that train together over the course of the late summer months to ultimately compete at the annual Junior NLL Tournament held each year in Canada.

“The experience last summer in Canada was unforgettable and really was a game-changer for the players we brought there, but it also helped us learn more about what we need to do as American coaches trying to teach box at a high level,” said Casey Martin, a Co-Director of 3d Tri-State.

Learning from their experience in 2016, Martin and his staff created a unique practice and player development plan for this summer’s training sessions, each of which have featured current professional players from the New England Black Wolves helping lead the way.

“The teams competing there were awesome and it really produced a great learning opportunity for our whole bench. In our second year, we’re a little more dialed into the level of intensity and skill we will be up against and that has helped us take the training up a notch this summer leading up to the trip North. The presence of the NLL guys has certainly helped.”

The joint practice sessions immerse the Junior Black Wolves players in the 3d Methodology and box-specific training designed to help rapidly elevate their skills. They learn from 3d Lacrosse’s staff of coaches along with current members of the New England Black Wolves pro team who bring elements of NLL practices to the youth level.

Comprised of birth year-based teams at the Pee-Wee, Bantam and Midget levels, the Junior Black Wolves see their time together culminate in an all-out dive into the world of box lacrosse at the Junior NLL Tournament from August 25 to 27. The event, now in its fifth year, is being held at the Toronto Rock Training Centre, located in Oakville, Ontario.

This summer, defender Bill O’Brien is coaching the Junior Black Wolves Pee-Wee squad, forward Shawn Evans — the 2013 and 2015 NLL MVP — is coaching the Bantam team and forward Kyle Buchanan is working with the Midget team.

The Black Wolves trio is working alongside Martin, his fellow 3d Tri-State Co-Director Chris Doctor and Connor Mooney, who recently moved to the 3d New England South office after working with 3d Tri-State for the past year.

The staff also features Andrew Kirkaldy, a longtime 3d coach and native of Alberta, Canada, with a great deal of box lacrosse experience. The newly appointed head coach at Trinity-Pawling School, Kirkaldy coached last year’s Junior Black Wolves teams on their trip north of the border.

“Getting the Black Wolves players involved in these practices and teaming them with our coaches for workshops has been great for our players and this partnership,” Doctor said.

“The NLL has some of the best lacrosse players in the world right now. We’re lucky to be able to work with them in a way that really immerses our players in the box world and it can completely alter the way they view the game from a skill perspective. It’s great that this league is so engaged at the grass roots level that we’re able to have players working with us at practices. It’s such a big deal for the kids.”

O’Brien, who like Martin and Doctor hails from the Central New York area, said he’s grateful to be involved with the Junior Black Wolves and realizes it’s a chance to make a lasting impact on the game.

“Having the opportunity to coach the Junior Black Wolves is very exciting,” O’Brien said. He pointed out that the Junior NLL Tournament is a way not only to showcase young players from all over the continent but also to provide them with a “once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

“The Junior NLL program is not only a way to give back to future generations, but a way to grown the game at the ground level. I’m looking forward to coaching and hopefully inspiring all the Junior Black Wolves to play as hard as they can and to enjoy the experience.”

With four intense, NLL-style practices under their belts, the three Junior Black Wolves teams are prepared to improve on last year’s run at the Junior NLL Tournament.

Rowan Gould is a forward with the Junior Black Wolves Bantam team who competed at the Junior NLL Tournament last year. He said he already feels a change in his game after going through the training sessions leading up to the big weekend in Ontario.

"I love the speed, physicality, and creativity of box lacrosse,” he said. “There’s nothing like the excitement and energy of playing in the Junior NLL Tournament with my team. The experience of playing box with the Junior Black Wolves and 3d has definitely improved my stick skills and lacrosse IQ."

Jack Savarese, who is a forward with the Midget Junior Black Wolves, said he’s looking forward to spending time with the coaches leading the teams this weekend.

“I’m so excited to play in the Junior NLL Tournament in Toronto and I'm very grateful to my parents, my Junior Black Wolves coaches, and 3d Lacrosse for providing me with this amazing opportunity,” Savarese said. “I’m really looking forward to having Kyle Buchanan, one of my NLL idols, on the bench with us coaching our team alongside Coach Kirks.”

The Junior Black Wolves kick off play Friday in Oakville. Track them on their voyage to the Junior NLL Tournament by following @3dTriState on Instagram and Twitter. Follow the New England Black Wolves at @neblackwolves on Twitter and on Instagram for updates on the Junior Black Wolves as well.

For more information on 3d Tri-State and its offerings, visit 3dLacrosse.com > Select > Find Your Market > Tri-State.

About 3d Lacrosse

3d Lacrosse is the nation’s fastest-growing lacrosse services company, offering innovative training, premier events, select travel teams, showcases and leagues for boys and girls ages six through 18 at all levels of organized competition. Founded in 2009, the Company trains more than 35,000 athletes annually using its proprietary Box-Field Hybrid™ Development System that combines the tight stick-handling and ball control of box lacrosse with the team-based field strategies used in Division I college programs. In addition to lacrosse-specific training, professional coaches help players develop lifelong skills, including dedication, teamwork and critical thinking under pressure. Based in Denver, 3d Lacrosse also has offices in Annapolis, Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Hartford, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Portland, Rochester, San Diego and San Francisco. Learn more at 3dLacrosse.com.

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