BOSTON (CBS) – Major League Lacrosse takes over Boston this weekend, starting Friday afternoon and lasting well into Saturday night.
In what is becoming a staple in Boston, the 2011 MLL All-Star festivities kicked off early Friday morning. This is the fourth time in the last six years the All-Star game is being held in Boston, with Harvard Stadium hosting all the fun for the second straight year.
All events are open to the public, with plenty to offer when it comes to a family friendly atmosphere.
The first-place Boston Cannons will suit up nine All-Stars, although they will not know which side they are on until Friday night. For the first time, MLL will have honorary captains pick the teams. Two lucky fans will have the honors after winning a Fan Fantasy contest. The teams will be chosen Friday night at the All-Star Selection Party starting at 7pm.
Playing in the game is not all the All-Stars will be doing this weekend. Boston midfielder Paul Rabil, who has been named MLL Offensive Player of the Week twice this season, will host the Red Bull Baggataway (the original name for lacrosse) Tournament starting Friday afternoon. The two-day round robin tournament has teams competing head-to-head with the winners taking home $5,000 and the Champion title. The two final teams will compete Saturday night before the All-Star game begins.
In addition to the tournament, there is plenty of other activities to enjoy Friday and Saturday. The Fan Zone, open 5-9pm on Friday and 5-8pm on Saturday, will feature giveaways, plenty of lacrosse gear and an inflatable target for fans to take aim at. For those looking to fine-tune their game, a free on-field clinic will be held from 6-7pm Friday night (pre-registration is required).
The game itself, featuring Cannons stars Rabil (who leads the MLL with 33 points), Ryan Boyle (fifth in the league in assists), Chris Eck (MLL faceoff leader), Matt Poskay and P.T. Ricci among others, takes place Saturday night at 7pm. Halftime will feature the Skills Competition, with the Fastest Shot Contest, the Freestyle Contest, where each player gets to show off their best trick shots with the winner determined on crowd reaction, and the new Goalie Gauntlet.
Rabil won the Fastest Shot the last two years, including a record 111 mph shot in 2010, but will compete in the Freestyle Contest this time around. Cannons midfielder Brad Ross will try his hand at the fastest shot. Mikey Powell of the Cannons won the Freestyle in 2007 and 2008.
The weekend would not be complete without some charity as well. Each All-Star jersey will be autographed and auctioned off to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The cause is very close to the Cannon’s Chris Eck, who was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes when he was a freshman in college.
Tickets for All-Star weekend can be purchased at the gate, over the phone, or online.