Lynn Withers officially named MSL Commissioner
In June of 2022, Lynn Withers was appointed Interim Commissioner of Major Series Lacrosse. At the recent MSL October 2022 Annual General Meeting, Lynn Withers was appointed Commissioner of MSL, dropping the “Interim” tag.
Lynn’s love of lacrosse began in 1992 when her oldest son started playing at Peanut level progressing upwards to play House League and Competitive Rep lacrosse from Novice through to Midget. This was followed up when her youngest son started at the same age and during his second year of Novice, Lynn became the Rep Team Manager. At the end of that season (2003), Lynn observed the enormous amount of work done at the Club level which compelled her to join the Peterborough Minor Lacrosse Association Executive Board in 2003. Lynn held various positions on the PMLA Board from Secretary to President up until 2013, when she stepped down. In addition, Lynn has worked for Zone 6 as the Zone Registrar and with the Ontario Lacrosse Association as one of their Regional Registrars.
Lynn continued her contribution to lacrosse volunteering for the Peterborough Junior “A” team beginning in 2014. When asked about Lynn Withers’ impact on the Junior “A” Lakers, Team President Tim Barrie commented, “Lynn was always a steady voice on our Board. She had the ability to assess both sides of a situation. Lynn had no biases and she took on various tasks including managing our 50/50 raffle which benefits minor lacrosse immensely as the proceeds sponsor our Lakers’ summer lacrosse camp. Without question, Lynn Withers’ contribution to the Junior “A” Lakers was always positive. I believe it is a good thing for lacrosse with Lynn taking on the permanent role of Major Series Lacrosse Commissioner”.
Lynn also began working for the Senior Lakers in 2014 as team treasurer up until June 2022. She resigned from her positions from both the Junior and Senior teams due to her appointment as Interim MSL Commissioner.
We had the opportunity to speak with Lynn Withers to ask a few questions.
Q 1: First of all, Congratulations on the permanent appointment as MSL Commissioner. Can you provide your thoughts on How your appointment unfolded and What does it mean to you personally, to be the MSL Commissioner?
Thank you. I have worked for MSL as the Treasurer since 2017. In June 2022, when MSL Commissioner Doug Luey stepped down, the MSL Board of Governors met immediately to discuss next steps. I was appointed as Interim Commissioner and tasked with getting the season approved and underway for the 2022 season. With the MSL not having a season in 2020 or 2021 due to the pandemic, I was determined to ensure MSL got up and running. With the cooperation and help of the Governors and the Executive Committee we were able to make this happen.
Q 2: What do you foresee the major tasks you will be dealing with - in both the immediate and near future?
With Owen Sound and Brampton joining MSL after taking a one-year leave of absence in order to come to an agreement on the distribution of players, both teams will be participating in our 2023 season. With hopes of Oakville returning from a one-year sabbatical, this will give MSL a seven-team league. This will make for an exciting 2023 Entry Draft and a very different schedule for the 2023 season. I observed how well the League General Managers worked last year to produce a reduced schedule in a very short time frame and I am confident they will do the same for 2023.
Q 3: What do you feel are the most essential traits required for the MSL Commissioner to survive and thrive in the position?
An effective Commissioner needs to ensure league policies are in place. Once in place, they need to be enforced and communicated to the Clubs. This was something I struggled with this year and I hope to implement changes that will be for the benefit of the League. I feel to be effective you need to be able to encourage a cohesive Council and work together towards the betterment and success of MSL.
Q 4: Let's talk about the MSL in regards to the Quality of Play – your thoughts are?
In my opinion Major Series Lacrosse produces one of the best on the floor games, competing at the highest level of competition. The MSL has some of the very best players, General Managers, Coaches and support staff in North America participating and contributing. We anticipate this will continue in 2023 and for years to come.
Q 5: Your thoughts on Marketing MSL Lacrosse? How does MSL grow its brand?
MSL will continue to work with Media, Broadcasting and Live Streaming partners to increase our viewership. Our Media Director, Darryl Smart, was instrumental in fostering these relationships and is already working on next steps to grow and market our brand.
Q 6: Your general thoughts on working with your WLA partner Commisioner Paul Dal Monte?
I was able to work with and learn a great deal after working with Paul during the 2022 Mann Cup held in Peterborough. I look forward to working together next year when the Western Lacrosse Association hosts the 2023 Mann Cup in British Columbia.
The appointment of a permanent Commissioner for the MSL is welcome. Steve McCarthy - Governor and General Manager for Owen Sound of Major Series Lacrosse - offered his thoughts stating, “I am looking forward to working with Lynn Withers as Commissioner and Steve "Chugger" Dietrich as our Chairman of the Board of the MSL. The 2023 season should be exciting with seven teams set to compete. I also want to give a shout out to Doug Luey for the exemplary leadership he provided for the MSL during his tenure as Commissioner. Doug will be missed but I have no doubt Lynn Withers will continue to work to bring MSL to the next level”.
We thank Commissioner Lynn Withers for responding to our request for an interview. We will check in with her occasionally to hear her thoughts as the 2023 MSL season approaches and unfolds.
Contributing Writer - MSL Media Team