Opening Ceremonies Kick Off Empires

July 21, 2010

The Long Island contingent prepares to enter UB Stadium at the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Empire State Games.

Amherst, N.Y. — Never mind the 10-hour bus ride, the lack of sleep or dorm living. Long Island’s scholastic boys lacrosse team savored every moment of Wednesday’s night’s Opening Ceremonies of the 32nd Empire State Games.

It was a journey which began on crowded fields at Bay Shore and Syosset high schools in early June. The 20 players who made it to Buffalo survived a gruelling tryout process, 12 exhibition games, countless practices and finally a late-night bus ride across the state. All to reach this point.

New York’s five-day Olympic-style festival kicked off with a celebration at the University at Buffalo’s 29,000-seat UB Stadium. Each of the six competing regions paraded into the stadium to cheers and camera flashes. Parks Commissioner Carol Ash addressed the crowd and then came the athletes’ oath. The lighting of the torch was an emotional moment — as always. A rousing performance by “Third Eye Blind” followed by fireworks capped the night.

All the preparation and pomp is over. Game on. Long Island, going for an unprecedented fifth straight gold medal, faces Western at 9 a.m. Thursday at Canisius College.

Buffalo News: Revived Empire State Games return after year off

July 20, 2010

Buffalo 2010 Empire State Games news

The Buffalo News — The Empire State Games come to the Buffalo Niagara region this week, bringing thousands of athletes and fans, an economic boost to the region and a sigh of relief for organizers after sponsors ensured the event’s survival.

The opening ceremony is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday in the University at Buffalo Stadium on the North Campus in Amherst, welcoming the 6,000 athletes who will compete in the Olympic-style, multisport event, which concludes Sunday. Read more at Buffalo

WSJ: Buffalo Rescues Empire Games

July 19, 2010

Buffalo 2010 Empire State Games news
The Wall Street Journal — Last fall, John Koelmel settled into his couch after work and started flipping through the paper when an article caught his eye. The Empire State Games were in trouble again.

Started in 1978, the Games are the oldest state-run, Olympic-style competition in the country, attracting as many as 30,000 aspirants each year who compete in tryouts held across the state for about 6,000 slots.

Mike Tyson, Sarah Hughes and Patrick Kane, who scored the winning goal in this year’s Stanley Cup Finals, are among the stars who once participated in the Games, living and eating with teammates in dorm rooms that evoke an Olympic Village and participating in elaborate opening ceremonies.


Empire Family Village

July 15, 2010

Buffalo 2010 Empire State Games news

The Empire Family Village next Wednesday, July 21, will feature local sports celebrities, entertainment and food from 3:30-7 p.m., leading to the start of Opening Ceremonies. Many of the Games’ sponsors will be there, including Wilson Farms. Stop by their tent to receive a free mug and valuable coupons just by signing up for their exclusive online club, “My Wilson Farms.”

Buffalo News: Empire State Games organizers hit final lap

July 14, 2010

Buffalo 2010 Empire State Games news

Empire State Games Director Fred Smith was running a little late for the Western Region Team news conference Tuesday, but he had a good excuse.

Smith joked, “Sorry I’m late, but something’s coming up and I’m busy.”

Preparations for the 2010 Games are on track with a week to go before the Opening Ceremonies, but the week before the Games is the most hectic time for the staff. Read more at Buffalo

Max Seibald, LI Lacrosse Featured

July 7, 2010

Long Island lacrosse at the Empire State Games is featured in the July 2010 issue of Long Island Pulse magazine

Max Seibald is one of the most recognizable names in lacrosse.

Just in the last year the 22-year-old midfielder was chosen second overall in the 2009 Major League Lacrosse draft, led Cornell to the NCAA title game and won the Tewaaraton Trophy as the college player of the year.

Yet his rise from unknown high schooler to elite prospect seemingly happened overnight at the Empire State Games, New York’s annual Olympic-style festival. Earning a roster spot on the Long Island scholastic boys’ lacrosse team is a sure ticket to stardom.

Look no further than Seibald, who tried out after a strong junior season at Hewlett High School. But he was among 500 other Long Island hopefuls vying for 20 spots in June 2004. Seibald auditioned the previous summer and was cut the first day. What were the odds a kid with only moderate Division III interest could turn heads and land a job?

“Coming back the next year, it was intimidating,” Seibald said. “You see college coaches on the sidelines. It motivated you but also made you grip the stick a little bit tighter. This was my first experience at this level and I wanted to make things happen.”

Seibald not only made the team, he starred. His roommate on the road that summer? Notre Dame goalie Scott Rodgers, a Wantagh native and MVP of the 2010 NCAA Tournament. Read on at

Long Island lacrosse at the Empire State Games is featured in the July 2010 issue of Long Island Pulse magazine. Buy it at participating newsstands.