A Brief Chat with Doug Luey - MSL Commissioner
Q: Please confirm when you took over the position of MSL Commissioner
It was initially on an interim basis in December 2016 as the MSL needed someone to deal with player movement prior to the 2017 entry draft. I wasn’t really that interested at the time in becoming the full-time Commissioner as I was the High-Performance Director for the Canadian Lacrosse Association and was busy with the National team program. At the time the MSL had struck a committee to find a new Commissioner and had failed to find a suitable candidate. In November 2017, I agreed to take on the position of MSL Commissioner on a full-time basis. As I had resigned from my role with the CLA. I felt there was a new challenge with the MSL Commissioner position and it appealed to me.
I have been pleased with the role so far, we have some extremely knowledgeable and experienced governors in the league that have shown they are willing to change the way they have done business in the past. This is not meant as a slight but an observation that the times have changed and demands on our players have changed significantly over the last two decades.
Q: What are the type of tasks you deal with?
Understanding and following the rules and regulations takes quite a bit of my time. I had two tough decisions to make in each of my first two years where the regulations that were in place can be can only be described as grey areas. I follow the constitution and policy paper to the letter and when those decisions are made, usually one side is unhappy. In both cases - although the teams disagreed with the decision made, thankfully they have put in the past and for the good of the MSL and lacrosse, we moved forward.
Another task is working with the Western lacrosse Association on the Mann Cup agreement to benefit the game and our fans who have started to support the league in record numbers.
Working with our game officials has become a priority as we have lost several quality referees in the past few years and we need them back in the MSL.
Like many of the players and coaches in our league, the officials are participating in the National Lacrosse League in the winter months.
Q: What is the most important trait that a Commissioner has to develop to survive and thrive in the job?
Thick skin comes to mind (laughing). I tried to bring my business background into my role as Commissioner which means communication is most important. Listening to all concerns first, digesting and communicating your thoughts before reacting is essential.
Q: Let's talk about the MSL in regards to the Quality of Play
i) In your mind - How good is MSL lacrosse right now?
Major Series Lacrosse is the best brand of indoor lacrosse in the world and is qualified by our record of growing parity in the league, increased attendance and positive feedback from not just MSL fans, but lacrosse followers overall.
ii) Versus caliber of the Western Lacrosse Association league?
Even though MSL has had a very good record the last few years in the Mann Cup the WLA is an extremely good brand of lacrosse. Maple Ridge was a very good team last year, but the Lakers just had such a good line-up the Burrards struggled in Peterborough. In 2017, New Westminster won the first two games in Queen’s Park, but every game was a nail biter. In speaking with many western long-time lacrosse fans, they all said the 2017 Mann Cup was the best they had witnessed in a very long time.
Q: Your thoughts on Marketing MSL Lacrosse? How do we grow the game?
There is only one club in our league with daily print media and very little interest by broadcasters to show lacrosse. The answer I think lies in the use of social media and webcasting. Society and not just lacrosse fans have become accustomed to real time information and it is the way of the future. The risk I believe comes in how much detail and information should be done in real time. We still need bodies in the seats but every entertainment dollar available to families has somebody trying to get it.
There are no easy answers, but we are constantly trying to figure out ways to present our game to not just new Canadians but people new to our game, our National Summer sport - LACROSSE.
Q: Your general thoughts and expectations for the 2019 MSL season are?
Player retention is a concern this year after a long NLL season and some of our best players having played in the Federation of International Lacrosse World Championships in Israel last season, compounded this season with the forthcoming World Indoor Championships in September in Langley, British Columbia.
Major Series Lacrosse fans can expect to see the parity continue with another increase in attendance. Corporate title and presenting sponsorship packages are on the increase and we fully intend to use this funding to increase our exposure.