Team Israel looks to repeat its success this weekend at the third annual Heritage Cup at Johnson & Wales University’s Harborside Campus in Providence, Rhode Island.
The blue-and-white won the tournament on tiebreakers in 2017 in Providence after finishing fourth at the 2016 edition in Philadelphia. This year’s tournament features eight teams, with Israel sharing Group A with Hungary, Jamaica and Lithuania.
The Israelis are again expected to bring a hybrid squad, mixing development players with current members of the men’s national team, which will compete on home soil at the 2018 World Lacrosse Championships in Netanya in July.
Most of the participating teams are comprised predominantly of so-called heritage players, who are eligible to compete for their respective national teams under Federation of International Lacrosse criteria as non-passport holders. The primary focus of the weekend is to raise funds, awareness and donated equipment to support the development of youth lacrosse in the eight participating countries.
While the nature of the tournament, which commences Friday, is charitable, the competition on the field is real. The stakes will be high when Israel and Jamaica open the 2018 World Championships on July 12 in a nationally televised game at Netanya Stadium. The two squads meeting Sunday will give at least a partial preview of what is expected to be a heavyweight battle. Hungary, ranked 17th in Europe, is no pushover, either. The Lithuanians, an upstart team promoting the launch of the sport in their native land, are making their debut at the Cup.