Lacrosse Premier League

Haifa, Be’er Sheva to Open 2016 Season on Sunday

Six teams to compete as fledgling sport attracts more players in Israel.

Gilda Haskell Rottman

The 2016 Israel Premier Lacrosse League season gets underway on Sunday, when Haifa visits Be’er Sheva at the Be’er Sheva Sports Center.

Be’er Sheva, playing in its inaugural season, rounded out its roster by naming defenseman Roey Ringel, as well as midfielders Ian Kadish and Brett Hackel as franchise players.

Ringel, who was born in Israel but learned lacrosse as a high school athlete in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, recently concluded his service in the Israel Defense Forces and made the move south to Be’er Sheva to help launch youth lacrosse in the Negev city. The 20-year-old defenseman was the youngest member of the blue-and-white’s first-ever men’s national team, starting on defense while only 16 years old for Israel in the 2012 European Championships.

Kadish recently finished his sophomore season at Amherst College, where he went 111-for-246 from the faceoff circle and added three goals and five assists in 19 games. The 20-year-old midfielder/faceoff specialist was the only freshman starter for Amherst in 2015.

Hackel, a 2012 graduate from Robbinsville, NJ, currently serves as a Student/JV assistant coach at University of Tampa, his alma mater. The 23-year-old midfielder is expected to bring leadership to the second edition of the 2016 Taglit-Birthright All-Stars, who are currently in the air on their way to Israel. Hackel and at least four others from the trip are expected to be suiting up for Be’er Sheva.

The league has expanded to six teams this season, and will climax on July 20 with the championship game at Wolfson Fields in Tel Aviv. The season finale will be the all-star game at the Ashdod Sport Club on July 24.

The other four teams will also start their regular seasons next week, with Netanyahu taking on host Ashkelon at the New Municipal Stadium on Monday, and Ashdod visiting Kiryat Gat.