Canadian-born NHL players recommend playing box lacrosse in the summer to improve hockey skills.
Hockey and lacrosse are very similar sports.
Hockey players excel in lacrosse and, in turn, they become markedly better hockey players. Both hockey and lacrosse are high tempo, physical team sports that have similar elements to the game. Both sports utilize 5 players and a goalie, three periods and strategy of developing odd-man situations to create scoring opportunities.
Comparatively, lacrosse is a much less expensive sport than hockey and uses much of the same protective upper body equipment.
Hockey players benefit from lacrosse by developing:
- stick handling creativity
- creativity in tight areas
- creativity of fakes, back passes and shots
- use of both hands
- reading the play offensively
- strong, dynamic defensive tactics
- builds up strength and endurance
- prevents sport burn-out by playing a new, fast-paced sport
- increases hand-eye coordination
- teaches players to be more aware of their surroundings
- reinforces the importance of quickness and agility around the net
- leadership skills
- scoring skills are honed by shooting at smaller targets and picking corners
NHL hockey players who played lacrosse:
Brendan Shanahan (Mimico)
David Bolland (Mimico)
Brendan Smith (Mimico)
Reilly Smith (Mimico)
Max Domi (Mimico)
Nick Paul (Mimico)
Connor Brown (Mimico)
"There is no question that lacrosse helped me become a better all round athlete but more important to me are the memories. Small town rinks, competing for my community, summer fun at tournaments, teammates and family. These are some of my fondest memories of my Mimico Lacrosse days." — Brendan Shanahan
"Lacrosse was a big thing for us growing up and it’s a sport that really helped me develop as a hockey player.” — Dave Bolland
"One of the worst things to happen to the game, in my opinion, has been year-round hockey and, in particular, summer hockey. All it does for kids, as far as I can tell, is keep them out of sports they should be doing in the warmer weather. I could hardly wait to get my lacrosse stick out and start throwing the ball against the walls and working on our moves as we played the lacrosse equivalent to road hockey. All the good hockey players seemed to play lacrosse in those days and everyone of them learned something from the game to carry over to the other - things athletes can only learn by mixing up the games they play when they are young." — Wayne Gretzky
"Lacrosse is a great game that I enjoyed playing when I was growing up.”—Paul Kariya
"It’s lacrosse that helped teach me to spin off checks, take shots and protect the puck under pressure. My stick skills, the way to read the play quickly comes from lacrosse. The hand-eye coordination, is just one of the little things that helps you in hockey." — John Tavares