NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - Tight quarters, high speed, hard hitting—that describes indoor, or box, lacrosse. The National Lacrosse League has nine teams in the United States and Canada and plays from December through May.
Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz says many of the teams have done very well financially but the league has not grown in 30 years. That is about to change.
To begin growing the league, the NLL is getting help from its star Tom Schreiber. The 26-year-old East Meadow, Long Island, native is a second-year forward for the Toronto Rock. Schreiber played for St. Anthony's High School and was a three-time, first-team All-America at Princeton University.
"I'm one of those guys that was born with a stick in the crib," he says.
Schreiber was the No. 1 overall pick of Major League Lacrosse, the outdoor league. But at the time he never gave the indoor game a thought.
"A teammate of mine who had graduated a few years before me, we went to go watch him play for the Philadelphia Wings," he says. "We had a great time watching, it was a great fan experience, and then my second thought was, 'I could never play in this.'"
While Schreiber still thought he would never play the box game because it was a totally different skill set, when Toronto called before the 2017 season to invite him to try out, something changed his mind.
Schreiber became the 2017 Rookie of the Year.
During the NLL season, he flies back and forth to Toronto so he can train mid-week near his home in Long Beach. Playing for multiple leagues while also holding part-time work as a venture capital analyst, Schreiber will do anything to grow the sport.
And now the NLL is ready for expansion with new franchises in San Diego and Philadelphia. The league also hopes to bring a team to NYCB Live, the home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
"Lacrosse, I think, is one of the largest sports on the Island, if not the largest," Sakiewicz says.
Schreiber says he grew up five minutes from the Coliseum.
"I think it would be a pretty cool experience to play," he says.
On the @fox5ny News at 5 ...as @NLL heads into it’s postseason, expansion is coming & East Meadow, NY native @TomSchreiber26 the 2017 #NLL ROY is helping grow the 30 year old league. #lacrosse #boxlacrosse #LongIsland #fox5nysports pic.twitter.com/8mHE9EiSPT— Tina Cervasio (@TinaCervasio) May 1, 2018