Israel ramps up for Euro Box schedule

The Israel men’s national indoor team has some familiar foes on their schedule at the 2017 European Box Lacrosse Championships in Turku, Finland, held from July 8-15. The blue-and-white will meet Ireland, Serbia and Turkey in pool play with games at the 12,000-seat Gatorade Center as well as secondary venue Marli Areena.

The blue-and-white are the highest ranked box team in Europe following their fourth-place finish at the World Indoor Championships in 2015, but they will have to go through Ireland — and likely other potential title contenders in Czech Republic, England and host Finland — if they hope to take home their first-ever Gold Medal.

11 countries will compete in the European Invitational.
11 countries will compete in the European Invitational.
The team will hold their fifth annual training camp in April in conjunction with the European Box Invitational at LCC Radotín near Prague, Czech Republic. Israel will also be represented by Tel Aviv LC in the 24th Annual Aleš Hřebeský Memorial Tournament from April 26-29. Both the European Invitational and the Aleš Hřebeský Memorial will be utilized for national team evaluation and training purposes ahead of EBLC2017.

The European Invitational — dubbed E-BOX — is an 11-nation joint-training event designed to assist European national teams which are preparing for major international championship events. 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 blue-and-white went 1-2 in the both the 2015 and 2016 Invitational, defeating Ireland and losing close games to Czech Republic and Finland in each of the two years. 2017 marks a fresh schedule for Israel with friendlies against Germany, Poland and Finland.

The Israelis have also announced their roster for the training event.

1 T Eric Fischer Be’er Sheva, Israel
4 F Benjamin Trachtenberg Mamaroneck, NY
8 F Drew Lazar Colorado Springs, CO
10 D Jonathan Rathauser Nairobi, Kenya
11 T Daniel Obreja Ashkelon, Israel
13 G David Dennenberg Lafayette, Colorado
15 D Daniel Bialosky Boston, MA
16 T Ryan Hunter Columbus, OH
18 T Seth Mahler Ashkelon, Israel
26 D Chris Friedman Ashkelon, Israel
31 T Harel Ben Harush Netanya, Israel
33 F Corey Shires Nanaimo, BC
35 G Andrew Copeland Ashdod, Israel
36 T Alon Bechor Ashdod, Israel
40 T Matthew Flapan Tel Aviv, Israel
42 D Dalton Lundy Brooklin, Ontario
43 F Kyle Bergman New York, NY
45 D Andrew Kruter Bellmore, NY
77 T/G Jacob Silberlicht Ashkelon, Israel
93 T Ori Bar David Netanya, Israel
99 F Zachary Pall Mobile, AL

Me’et Machleef: Frantisek Klima

Israel National Team coaches Brad MacArthur and David Dennenberg will be on-hand to lead the team. The duo, along with assistant coach Jason Crosbie, are expected to announce their Championship roster for EBLC around May 1st. Volunteer Wayne Kavanaugh will also assist Israel in Prague.

While the blue-and-white have traditionally gotten the better of Germany in field lacrosse (Israel eliminated the Germans in the playoffs of both the 2014 World Championships and the 2016 European Championships), Germany owns a victory in the only meeting between the two countries in box competition. Germany held on to defeat Israel, 10-9, in pool play at the 2015 World Indoor Championships at Onondaga Nation. Wolfgang Grießl scored five goals while Jamie Plunkett added four.

Poland will be making their international indoor championship debut at the 2016 European Box Championships, but their player pool has a good amount of experience as four-time entrants in the Aleš Hřebeský Memorial. Under the guidance of head coach Heath Garlow, the Polish have been steadily improving, with the Eagles earning wins over German-club Deutschland Adler and the Swiss nationals in January’s Mayors Cup. April will be the first-ever meeting between Israel and Poland’s box teams.

Although Israel owns a decisive 14-4 playoff win over Finland at WILC2015, the Finns seem to always eek out thrilling wins over the blue-and-white at E-BOX. Finland has secured overtime victories over the Israelis in both the 2015 and 2016 Invitational. Under the leadership of Tracey Kelusky and Neil Doddridge, the hosts of the European Box Championships have been steadily improving in the box and are considered legitimate Gold Medal contenders on their home floor in July.

Israel nationals Chase Clark and Bryan Hopper will join Tel Aviv’s roster following E-BOX for the Aleš Hřebeský Memorial. While the Memorial, like E-BOX, is being utilized for national team evaluation and training purposes ahead of EBLC2017, Tel Aviv’s roster at the Memorial will also be bolstered by Czech national František Klíma, Canadian forward Jake Mickelson and Hong Kong sniper Steve Laforet.