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  • ReLaxing Luke

Why Denver Outlaws Lacrosse is Unequaled

Matt Bocklet, Outlaws great, had his career celebrated before opening faceoff...

Last week, I wrote why the Denver Outlaws experience is outstanding. Upon returning from New York and revisiting Outlaws lacrosse, I’ve decided a sequel is deserved. I’m turning into a Hollywood producer. Soon enough I’ll be writing a seventh piece on why the Outlaws rock. No creativity!

In all seriousness, after reading my article, Outlaws equipment manager, Kyle Hoffman, was kind enough to reach out. In short, he enjoyed my article and asked if I’d be out for another game. I said I planned to attend the match against Dallas. Unexpectedly, Kyle provided me with five free tickets and an opportunity to tour Mile High Stadium. Like any diehard lacrosse fan, I accepted. Thus, my return to Mile High was set.

Unlike last time, I showed up early. Even then, a hoard of Denver fans surrounded the entrance. My party of four and I took our place in line and waited twenty-five minutes. I was not rewarded for showing up early. I missed the pre-game ceremonies again! I know, I know. How lame could I possibly be?

The entrance lineup 30 minutes before opening faceoff...

But I live in Colorado Springs and left for a 2 PM faceoff at 11:50 AM. How can I predict so many early bird fans? In a way, the line touched me. I loved seeing a large crowd of folks piling into Mile High Stadium for lacrosse. I’d rather stand in line than immediately enter a ghost town. Luckily, we squeezed in before opening faceoff. We listened to a beautiful national anthem rendition and watched Max Adler take center field.

Our seats were amazing. We saw every play up close. At Outlaws games, fans sit in seats that cost an arm and a leg at Broncos games. You are right behind the players. You don’t just see them, you hear them. It’s an immersive experience. For many, it’s the closest they’ll ever be to a professional sideline.

The view from our seats. We were right behind the Outlaws bench.

The Rattlers slithered out to a 5-0 lead. A nice feed and assist resulted in the Outlaws’ first goal. It was 5-1 to end the first quarter. Everything was going Dallas’ way; however, the defending champs didn’t go away quietly.

The Outlaws woke up in the second quarter and went into halftime down 5-7. The best part wasn’t the goal bonanza. It was when Zach Currier, during a man up, got absolutely leveled on crease. The hit was high and Currier wasn’t taking it. He retaliated by punching the Dallas defenseman in the face. It was a punch Ivan Drago would be proud of! I love the physicality players bring to pro lacrosse. You don’t see guys get punched in the face at Broncos or Rockies games. I was worried Currier would get ejected, but he only served a five-minute penalty.

For halftime, the Denver Broncos junior cheer squad performed. Fifty little girls danced simultaneously to “We Will Rock You”. It was cute. The best routines came from the Outlaws dance team. Their performances looked great. The ladies looked even better. My only complaint is I didn’t get to meet them.

The dance team working hard during the game.

Stix and the spirit squad threw t-shirts into the crowd. I cheered but Stix shunned me a second time. He completely ignored me. Jokes on you Stix. You’re a raccoon. You subsist on the rotten food I throw away. Enjoy digging through garbage while I sit in my air-conditioned house. The girls threw the t-shirts hard but none reached me. I assumed they tried to but their throwing accuracy was equivalent to Eli Manning’s. All their throws were 5-10 yards off the mark from the open target (me).

Second half action went back and forth. John Grant Jr. still has it. He scored 1 goal and dished 2 assists. Those weren’t even his best plays. His best play was on a missed shot. Jr. and a Rattlers defenseman sprinted towards the sideline. No offense Grant, but I figured it was a lost cause. Instead, the 42-year-old outran a 20 something year-old d pole. Last week I wrote Jr. is Tom Brady without an offensive line. That no longer applies since he has better wheels.

Collin Lett played LSM alongside Matt Gilray. He played extremely well. The reason I mention Lett is he’s a division two guy. He played for Lenoir-Rhyne. I like that Denver has loads of non-D1 players on the roster. It proves you don’t have to play D1 to make the pros.

As usual, Max Adler played well. He had a huge faceoff win to make the game 10-8. Sadly, Dallas won the ensuing faceoff and iced the game with their 11th goal. Adler wasn’t happy about something that took place after the faceoff. He must’ve been mad he didn’t meet the dance team. You and me both Max.

The final was 11-8 Dallas. Sorry Outlaws nation. I was bad luck! Dallas deserves credit for snagging their first win. The loss doesn’t hurt Denver. They are still first in the standings.

One note on Dallas. They need to force their mascot, Mr. Fangtastic, to travel. I’m dying to meet him. It’s not like I can fly to Dallas whenever I want. He’s the runaway best mascot in sports history. He’s a ripped snake! How cool is that? If anyone from MLL management is reading this, give the people what they want and make mascots travel!

My life will be complete when I meet Mr. Fangtastic in person.

Post-game, I met with Troy Ergenbright. Troy is the senior director of business and team operations for Denver. He’s worked with all the major Denver sports teams. He is extremely pleasant and I truly enjoyed our conversation. Troy played college lacrosse at Rutgers and spent time in the NLL and MLL. Like everyone in Outlaws management, he’s stoked Denver hosts the MLL championship. He took me down to the field to meet some players.

On the field, I saw Max Adler hanging around some fans. I dashed towards him and requested a photo. I told him to keep up the good work representing D2 guys (I play D2) and was shocked when he remembered my previous article. It made my day. I’ve met a decent number of pro players, but Adler is one of the nicest. As someone who’s scrapped to reach the college lacrosse ranks, I relate to Adler. He’s a grinder and came out of nowhere. He’s lacrosse’s version of Rocky. He went from a relative unknown to a premier faceoff specialist.

Me with Max Adler.

After snapping a picture, I met with Kyle. Kyle is one of the nicest people I’ve met in Colorado. Words don’t do justice for how thankful I am towards Kyle for making this possible. Kyle recently got engaged so feel free to reach out and congratulate him.

We chatted about the Outlaws and lacrosse in general. Kyle never played lacrosse but is a huge fan. He was acquainted with the game since his cousins played. It makes me happy to see those who have never played support the game.

I learned the Outlaws are owned by Broncos management. I guess that’s why they can use Mile High Stadium. I asked Kyle how the players manage playing in Denver while living in different areas. He said they handle it extremely well. The only issue is guys missing practice due to flight complications.

Currently, teams only practice once a week. I cannot wait for the time when players practice together year-round. If the product is this good now, it will be mind blowing when it’s a full-time job.

Soaking in an Outlaws game is special. The atmosphere and play are spectacular. For field lacrosse junkies, Denver games are the place to be. You will not see the game played at a higher level. The precision of the passes, the speed of the shots, and the crunch of the collisions can’t be replicated anywhere else. In a way, watching Outlaws lacrosse has ruined college ball. I can’t go back to watching college lacrosse when the MLL’s level of play is so superior. If you call yourself a lacrosse fan, you owe it to yourself to attend a game. If you’re a lacrosse newbie, there is no better place to take in your first game. Because I guarantee, you will find no better outdoor lacrosse experience. Not at a PLL match, not at a college game, not at the world championships. Why? Because the Denver Outlaws experience truly is unequaled.


Did you enjoy this article? Do you agree the Outlaws experience is unequaled? Is there a team whose home games are better? Whatever your thoughts, let me know by connecting with me on Twitter or Instagram. You can also subscribe to my website to comment directly onto this article. By subscribing, you’ll be notified whenever I post a new article. Any and all support is appreciated! Thank you for reading. Go Outlaws!

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