The National Lacrosse League has announced expansion of its diversity and inclusion programming to strengthen its focus on cultural competency, and honoring indigenous people and their impact on the sport.

“As a league we are continuing to push awareness of our great history that the Indigenous People have given us through our sport,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz. “It is our job as the preeminent lacrosse league to not only recognize efforts of inclusion, but champion them. We are proud to partner with US Lacrosse and Right To Play on these initiatives as we hope for a more diverse and inclusive future for the sport.”

This offseason, every team including players, coaches, front office staff, and league staff are required to complete the cultural competency training course offered on US Lacrosse’s website as part of a league wide effort to focus on diversity and inclusion.

“We truly appreciate the support of the NLL on this important initiative,” said Ann Kitt Carpenetti, Vice President of Lacrosse Operations for US Lacrosse. “We are committed to creating a welcoming environment for all participants in our sport and this course is one step towards making that a reality. Having the NLL players, coaches and staff join this effort helps demonstrate the universal support of the lacrosse community towards this cause.”

After many months of extensive research, US Lacrosse developed this free program to lead efforts in making lacrosse a more inclusive, accessible and embracing sport - one that anyone can play, and everyone feels welcome and respected.

Since 2012, the NLL and Right To Play, one of the league’s philanthropic partners, have reached thousands of indigenous youth through the programming of Right To Play Weekend. The 2018-19 campaign was the most successful to date given the promotional support of designated “player champions”, team fundraising pages, and game-worn jersey auctions, all of which contributed to the league surpassing its fundraising goal.

“Right To Play commends the efforts of the National Lacrosse League in promoting safe and inclusive spaces in sport,” said Rose Lipton, Director of Canada Programs at Right To Play. “By recognizing the Indigenous roots of lacrosse and providing enhanced educational opportunities for its staff, coaches and players, the NLL is taking an important step towards reconciliation. It’s great to see major organizations like the NLL making this a top priority and that’s one of the many reasons we’re so thrilled to partner with them year after year.”