LAKE PLACID, N.Y.—Though it’s home to only a handful of scholastic-level teams, the Adirondack Mountains have over the course of the past 33 years become an important symbol and destination for the growing number of lacrosse players nationwide.
And thanks to the thoughtfulness and dedication of the Lake Placid Summit Classic founders and leadership, the sport itself—the form of which was invented hundreds of years ago by the nearby Haudenosaunee tribes—has become an important part of the Lake Placid and Adirondack Mountain communities.
Founded in 1990 by George Leveille and Mike DeRossi, both who hail from the Capital Region and were lacrosse players at the time, the Lake Placid Summit Classic began as a casual gathering of close friends from across the state who wanted to enjoy the game in a beautiful setting.
Fast forward to today, and the Summit Classic stands alone as the most beloved and enduring celebration of this captivating and historically-relevant sport.
In a remarkable display of athleticism, competitors of all ages—from 7 to late 70s—take the field each year, many with the hopes of winning what have become some of the most prized championships in the game, and all relishing in the camaraderie and nostalgia of cherished time spent with family and friends.
Since its formation, the Lake Placid Summit Classic has grown to a week-long tournament, complete with Scholastic and Adult divisions and featuring approximately 200 teams from all over the continent. Alumni from the most storied collegiate programs spend considerable time and effort coordinating a busy and rewarding week together in the Adirondacks’ historic Olympic Region.
In transcending the playing fields, this event has unquestionably come to represent a festive reunion for the many families and friends who make Lake Placid an annual destination. A special occasion already, some have commemorated it with their own milestones, including weddings, proposals, family homes and more. Enthralled by the Adirondacks, many Summit Classic participants visit the region during the winter each year for family ski trips.
“We take great pride in what this week has come to stand for within the lacrosse community,” said George Leveille, whose two sons, Kevin and Mike, grew up attending the Summit Classic and went on to star at the collegiate, professional and international levels. Kevin, the captain of the 2014 U.S. men’s national team, is now the Brand and Event Manager of Summit Lacrosse Ventures, which was formed in 2015.
Summit Lacrosse Ventures now hosts a growing lineup of lacrosse tournaments, camps and showcases across the country, including the Lake Placid Summit Youth Classic, held June 27 to 29, and the 33rd Lake Placid Summit Classic set for August 1 to 7.
“We’re also proud of the relationships we’ve built over the past 33 years with the Lake Placid community leaders, businesses and charitable organizations,” the elder Leveille said.
Over the course of three decades, community interests have naturally evolved, and Summit strives to maintain alignment. To assist local leaders in managing the impact of tourism on Lake Placid’s Main Street and the North Elba community, Summit Lacrosse Ventures has presently reduced the overall size of the annual tournament by 20 percent.
Additionally, the 18+ adult division was reduced in size by 50 percent to help manage the impact on local nightlife. Amidst the adjustment in volume, Summit Lacrosse Ventures continues its efforts to promote and support the local restaurants and retail operations that have come to rely on the Summit Classic’s consistent yearly patronage.
To create a culture of accountability among newer Summit Classic attendees, who might not understand its community role, the company promotes its Summit Lacrosse Society Code of Conduct and, through its hired staff and a collaboration with the Lake Placid Police Department and Chief Chuck Dobson, champions the values of responsibility, respect, and integrity leading up to the event, during it and in follow-up communication with attendees.
“We’re grateful for all those who’ve accommodated and served our many guests over the years, and we continue to encourage attendees to show the utmost respect to this village, the surrounding communities and all of the gorgeous and sacred Adirondack Park,” Leveille said.
“The lacrosse world very much loves the Lake Placid region and all that it offers, and we’re thrilled to be here every year.”
The 2022 event will host one of the first 70+ games ever. The game will consist of players who are all at least 70 years old and it will be played in the World Lacrosse Sixes format.
“We expect to have at least 30 players dress for the 70+ game, which is remarkable. Additionally, these players are not coming here specifically for this game—first and foremost, they’re participants on teams in the 60 and 65+ division,” said Kevin Leveille.
“It’s special as many of these athletes have participated in the tournament for over thirty years. They were the pioneers and are continuing to lead the charge today. It’s significant that they will play in the Sixes format, as it’s the path to lacrosse in the Olympics and makes this experience full-circle.”
In an annual tradition at the Summit Classic, five new honorees will be inducted into the Legends of Placid Lax on Thursday night at the Horse Show Grounds Pavilion. The ceremony highlights special participants and/or staff members who truly embody the spirit of the event. 2022 inductees include Dave Basile, a team organizer for years at many levels; Jim Case, a long-time athletic trainer who passed in 2020; Kenny Fougnier, a 30+ year participant who has excelled annually; and Chuck Piebes and Tony Pironti, two respected officials who’ve managed many Lake Placid games in the stripes. For more information on the Legends of Placid Lax, head to www.lakeplacidlax.com/legends.
To learn more about Summit Lacrosse Ventures and the company’s efforts to create a communal and family atmosphere on the sidelines and beyond, as well as its efforts to grow the game of lacrosse, visit summitlacrosseventures.com.
About Summit Lacrosse Ventures
In 2015, Summit Lacrosse Ventures LLC (SLV) combined two leading lacrosse event management and marketing companies, Lake Placid Lacrosse (Established 1991) and WomensLax.com LLC (Established 2008), into a single entity which has built upon existing events and programs, and pursued new development opportunities. Industry professionals with 30+ years of experience across all levels of the sport, we are passionate about delivering first-class events in desirable locations, creating valuable experiences for our participants, and building a lifelong community of passionate individuals who share our ideals of competition, respect, and camaraderie. SLV operates 12+ events nationwide.