Israel Box Team back in action in April

10 countries will compete in the European Invitational, including newcomers Poland and Sweden.
10 countries will compete in the European Invitational, including newcomers Poland and Sweden.

The Israel men’s national indoor team will see its’ first action since finishing an astonishing 4th at the World Indoor Championships, when they hold their fourth annual training camp in April in conjunction with the 2016 European Box Invitational at LCC Radotín near Prague, Czech Republic.

The 10-team event, held from April 15-18, was designed last year to assist European national teams which were preparing for the 2015 World Indoor Lacrosse Championships.  Teams participating in the event compete in one full 60-minute (4×15) stoppage time, FIL regulation match per day, to best replicate the experience of participating in a grueling World or European Championship.

The first-ever European Box Lacrosse Championships will be held in 2017, offering plenty of time for teams to continue developing their programs ahead of what is expected to be a very competitive 16-country event.

The blue-and-white went 1-2 in the 2015 Invitational, defeating Ireland and losing close games to Czech Republic and Finland.  The training event was credited for preparing Israel for its’ Cinderella-run at the World Games, in which the team went 5-1 against their European counterparts.

The schedule for the Invitational — now dubbed E-BOX — is still under development, but Israel is expected to meet #6 Ireland, #7 Czech Republic and #9 Finland in the event.

The Irish match is tentatively scheduled for Saturday night under the lights.  Although Israel went 3-0 against Ireland last year, winning twice at the World Championships and once at E-BOX, the two teams are familiar foes who know each other well.  Ireland’s National Indoor Developmental program, which is competing under the banner of the Emerald Islanders, is expected to feature several players with strong box experience as well as some newcomers.

Although Czech Republic had a disappointing finish at the World Championships, dropping consecutive matches to Israel and Ireland to fall from #4 to #7 in the World Rankings, they are the European powerhouse in the box game, and are looking for revenge over Israel.  The two countries split their series in 2015, with the Czechs winning at E-BOX, and the Israelis winning the game that mattered at the WILC Quarterfinals.

Finland, who will host the 2017 EBLC, earned an overtime win over Israel at E-BOX last April, but dropped a 14-4 game against the blue-and-white in a first-round playoff match at the World Championships.

Israel midfielder Seth Mahler in action for Tel Aviv at the Memorial.
Israel midfielder Seth Mahler in action for Tel Aviv at the Memorial.

The Invitational is being held as a prelude to the 23rd Annual Aleš Hřebeský Memorial Tournament, in which Israel will be represented by Tel Aviv LC for the fourth consecutive year from April 20-23.  Both the European Invitational and the Aleš Hřebeský Memorial will be utilized for national team evaluation and training purposes ahead of EBLC2017.

The Israel men’s national field team will also be competing in a field lacrosse exhibition game against a team of European All-Stars on Tuesday, April 19th.

Photo Credit: Larry Palumbo/Coyote Magic