Oswego Lacrosse Foundation to Sponsor Men's Senior Box Lacrosse Team

Community revitalization grant for replacement of obsolete equipment in time for the new lacrosse season.


With assistance from Mayor Billy Barlow and the city of Oswego, as well as a substantial grant from the Richard S. Shineman Foundation, the Oswego Lacrosse Foundation (OLF) will be sponsoring a men’s senior box lacrosse team that will play in the North American Box Lacrosse League this summer.

The city will be making Crisafulli Rink at Fort Ontario available for the River Hawks’ weekly practices and home games. Practices started the last week of April, and games should get underway by the middle of June.

“The city of Oswego is excited to partner with the Oswego River Hawks to bring more opportunities for Oswego youths to play lacrosse right here in our community. By providing a home to the River Hawks at Crisafulli Rink, we can support the team, ensure long-term success, and make playing lacrosse more accessible to Oswego residents,” said Barlow.

The OLF applied for and received a grant from the Shineman Foundation in April to help with the expenses of launching not only the senior men’s team, but also to lay the groundwork for a youth program, and maybe a master’s level team as well.

“We’re extremely grateful to both the mayor and the city of Oswego, as well as the Shineman Foundation, for helping to make this happen,” said General Manager Dan Witmer. “With box lacrosse opportunities all around us, we felt there was no reason why local lacrosse players should have to travel to Rochester, Syracuse, or even Canada to play. And if we can get the men’s team up and running, we’re confident that the youth and master’s teams will follow.”

The Fort Ontario lacrosse site saw plenty of indoor lacrosse action in the 1990s as Oswego sponsored a men’s league as well as a Can-Am team. In 1994 and 1995, Oswego hosted the Ontario Lacrosse Association’s Junior B All-Star Game, drawing American college coaches from as far away as North Carolina and Ohio.

The NABLL features teams from all over the United States, evolving from the Interstate Box Lacrosse League, which last year had more than 45 teams in 17 regional divisions that spanned coast to coast. The River Hawks are slated to play in a division that includes the Utica Yeti, the Rochester Rovers, the Rochester River Monsters, and the Salt City Eels. The summer schedule is still being finalized, but games will be played on weekends in June and July, with the River Hawks playing each opponent twice, once home and once away. 

A divisional championship will follow in August, and a national championship tournament is set for Sept. 23-25 in Columbus, Ohio.

Witmer added, “We’re hoping to have local players from across Oswego County, as well as others from Oswego State, Onondaga Community College, and the surrounding area. We’ve hired Chris Brim, who was on OCC’s coaching staff for 11 national championships and has plenty of box lacrosse experience, to be our player-coach, and we want to set the bar high in creating a quality, first-class, sustainable, box lacrosse program. Mayor Barlow and the Shineman Foundation are helping us set it all in motion.”

Photo Caption: Pictured from left are Oswego High School varsity attackman Logan Crannell, Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow, River Hawks General Manager Dan Witmer, and Oswego High School varsity defender Kaiden Whiteside. Crannell and Whiteside are modeling the River Hawks’ home and away uniforms and helping the team with social media.