Women's Arena Lacrosse League To Take on New Structure

by Lance Winn

October 6, 2023

The Arena Lacrosse League (“the ALL”), announced today the restructuring of the ALL Women’s Division, as they prepare for the upcoming 2024 season.

The WALL (Women’s Arena Lacrosse League), as it is widely known, consists of the WALL East Division, operating out of the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena (ILA) in Ontario, and the WALL West Division operating out of the Langley Field House in British Columbia.

Both the East and West divisions will see a structured draft system that will see each registered player for the upcoming 2024 season drafted onto one of the teams in their respective Provinces. In future years, each division will hold a draft for new players only, and teams can make trades for players and/or draft picks.

The setup will be like the format currently utilized by the ALL (men’s league), an eight-team league that is the minor league to the National Lacrosse League.

“Over the past few years, I have been able to converse with some terrific leaders who have their eye on growing the Women’s game indoors”, stated ALL President Paul St. John, “Their passion and commitment has inspired me to put in place a model that is similar to the men, with anticipation that we can stabilize both divisions with a structured goal that provides parity, fair play, and future growth”.

The West division was looking for team names that would respect the Indigenous roots of the game, something that was important to the women running the division and coach Cherlyn Billy. Due to this the West division team name are based on the Story of the first Lacrosse Game by the Haudenosaunee people; Bears, Hawks, Bats, Turtles, Flying Squirrels and Deer. With room for growth in the league in future years adding Owl and Eagle from the story. West division started in 2022 as a dream to help elevate female box lacrosse in B.C. and showcase the need for higher caliber female lacrosse. Starting with four teams and growing to six in the second season of play with roughly 130 players in 2023.

"As a female player growing up in BC there weren't female programs or teams until I was much older, to have the same opportunities to play the Medicine Game I would have to fight to play on a male team. This was the story for many of us growing up, now female lacrosse is beginning to shift to allow females athletes the ability to play the game without modified rules. ALL had a huge role in this, having talented women coming out each week to play they became role models for the next generation without intending too. It really shows the impact to see someone like you playing the sport your passionate about in a way people weren't crediting women for being able to do before. Now we have games with packed stands, and live streaming with fans from all over the World. Our Championship Game in 2023 had players in different Countries watching and cheering for their favorite teams." says WALL West Savanna Smith.

In the East, three teams had names that were also used in the ALL (RiverWolves, Snipers and Bears) along with a fourth team, the 66erz. The 66erz name was created for the 2023 season to honour the memory of Becky Smith. ‘Beckerz’ as she was known to many wore jersey #66.

The 2024 WALL East season will see five new team names to provide the Women with their own unique team nicknames.

“It made sense that since we are moving to a draft system, and aligning with our western family, that we go into the 2024 season with a fresh outlook - welcoming our players back with structure, new teams, new team names, and a refreshed approach while we continue to build the league, and our presence in the lacrosse community,” says WALL East Commissioner, Karie Wells. “I am excited to announce that we have expanded the division, and added a fifth team to the lineup. The teams in the East Division will now be known as the Cobras, Sirens, Firebirds, Skyhawks, and Blazers. “The logos, and new jersey designs are in the works,” says Wells, “and the league will release the designs before the scheduled player draft, toward the end of November.”

The West draft will take place after their combine on Nov 13, the East draft will follow on Sunday December 10, with times to be announced. Players must be registered, and their fees paid in full to be eligible for the draft.

Coaches are still needed in East division with the West welcoming any additional help in the league. Interested in joining the WALL please email Karie Wells at womenseast@theall.ca or Savanna Smith at westwomens@theall.ca. 

“The key to restructuring is to bring the Women’s division in line with the men, same format, same rules, top game officials, and more with the end goal being that of having a National Championship” St. John continued. “We are still a couple seasons away from being able to fulfilling this goal as we will need to find a Corporate sponsor or sponsors, but the plan is to showcase how the WALL is the top Women’s league to play in during the winter months.”

More information on the Draft including rules, will be posted on the ALL website www.arenalacrosseleague.ca in the coming weeks.

About the Arena Lacrosse League: Proud partners of the National Lacrosse League, the 'ALL' is highly recognized as the "Official Minor League of the NLL". Established in 2017, the ALL operates an eight team East Division based in Ontario, Canada, as well as a four team West Division based at Langley Events Centre in the Township of Langley. The ALL provides a high-level development league for players, coaches, and officials with professional aspirations. Currently in it’s fifth year of operation, the ALL has provided over 175 players to the NLL.

The ALL also operates the Women’s Arena Lacrosse League (the WALL) with a five team East Division and a six team West Division. The Junior ALL U22 division is a ten-team division based in Ontario.