If you haven’t had the chance to attend or play in a lacrosse or field hockey tournament hosted by Aloha Tournaments, then you are missing out. Aloha Tournaments has been providing the State of Maryland with elite youth lacrosse tournaments since 1999. Over the past 16 years the organization has carried out numerous lacrosse and field hockey tournaments across the nation, and continues to provide exceptional experiences for all players, coaches and families involved. Not only have I played in the lacrosse tournaments growing up, but I had the opportunity last summer to work for Aloha during one of their busiest seasons to date.
Aloha Tournaments was created and founded, believe it or not, in a garage. The first annual Warrior Lax Splash Lacrosse Tournament was played in the spring of 1999 and the organization has only continued to expanded countrywide, hosting tournaments in Texas, Tennessee, Alabama, and even Colorado. Since the first Lax Splash was hosted in Maryland, the company has gone from hosting 144 teams in one tournament, to now taking care of 40,00 players and 60,000 fans each year. Chris Hutchins, a top affiliated partner associated with Aloha Tournaments, discussed how the culture of the organization has changed over the years. “Initially when it started, it was just for the youth and rec leagues, [but] as we continued to grow we were asked to host tournaments in different counties and in other seasons.” Between the months of May and November, Aloha Tournaments hosts 26+ events nationwide, nine of which are held in Maryland. Last summer while working for them, I got the chance to help host a lacrosse tournament all the way in Sacramento, California. Although the scenery was very different from Maryland, the level of competition was just as high.
The youth tournaments are offered to both girls and boys between the ages of seven to seventeen, but don’t let the age fool you: these kids are at the top of their game and are hungry to play no matter the location. Along with the top-talent players, Aloha works closely with their partners and sponsors to help promote and sell the newest gear on the market at each tournament. Players get the chance in between games to go and visit Aloha’s “FANzone,” which is set up like a tent city and has top lacrosse and field hockey brands like LaxWorld, Brine and Warrior offering the best equipment and merchandise in the current market. Hutchins said, “We schedule to get teams to see what the FANzone is all about in between games as well as get their own time to hang out/hydrate and eat. We want to make it more of an event as supposed to a tournament.”
When asked why he thinks Aloha has been so successful in the great State of Maryland, he said, “Maryland is the mecca for lacrosse. With top collegiate teams nearby, it makes competition unlike any other state. It is a fabric of the community.” When he talks to returning out-of-state families and players at the tournaments, they say the love to come back to Maryland for lacrosse and those famous crabs we all know and love. A major part of the Maryland culture has lacrosse infused into it.
One of the largest tournaments Aloha offers is at the end of the season in November, called the Warrior Lacrosse Diamond Showcase. This event is slightly different from others, because the tournament is by invite-only to top high school players, and fills up on a first come first served basis. It is held at St. Paul’s High School and is limited to 350-400 athletes from 24 different states. This tournament not only has the highest level of competition, but top college coaches come to watch and scout out potential recruits. Chris stated that last year, “approximately 75-125 coaches came to the tournament looking for prospects, while others held clinics or [spoke] to rising players.” Aloha Tournaments feels that hosting this type of tournament gives players and parents the opportunity to focus on playing at the next level, no matter the collegiate division or conference.
If you find yourself interested, or know a couple of kids, teenagers or parents who might be interested in lacrosse and/or field hockey, look no further than Aloha Tournaments. As a former participant and a former employee of the Aloha Tournaments team, they go all-in to provide the best possible tournament experience on and off the field.