We interrupt our “Signing Week 2010″ coverage for this special report.

After more than 30 years of memorable moments, the Empire State Games could be history.

While the Games’ long-term fate is doubtful at best, the Poughkeepsie Journal is reporting in a story published tonight that the Games are definitely off for 2011. You can check out Phil Strum’s story by clicking here.

The Games, New York’s version of the Olympic, are the largest state-supported amateur athletic competition in the nation. The summer competition annually features more than 6,000 competitors in two divisions: scholastic and open, representing six regions: Hudson Valley, Long Island, New York City, Adirondack, Central and Western.

For the first time in its 33-year history, the Games were not held last year — as a result of state-mandated budget cuts.

The Games have also been a fertile recruiting showcase for college lax coaches.

Long Island won its fifth straight gold medal this past summer, and seventh medal in the last nine years.

Here’s a year-by-year look back at the history of the scholastic men’s lax competition at the Games, starting in the summer of 1984, when the sport was launched.

All-time scholastic men’s lacrosse champions

(Silver, bronze medalists in parentheses)

(No Games in 2009)

2010

2008

Long Island

Long Island

(CN/HV)

(CN/HV)

2007

Long Island

(CN/WN)

2006

Long Island

(WN/HV)

2005

Long Island

(CN/WN)

2004

Central

(LI/AD)

2003

Central

(LI/AD)

2002

Long Island

(WN/CN)

2001

Long Island

(CN/WN)

2000

Western

(HV/LI)

1999

Central

(LI/HV)

1998

Long Island

(HV/WN)

1997

Long Island

(CN/HV)

1996

Long Island

(CN/HV)

1995

Long Island

(CN/WN)

1994

Central

(LI/HV)

1993

Central

(LI/HV)

1992

Hudson Valley

(LI/WN)

1991

Long Island

(HV/WN)

1990

Hudson Valley

(LI/CN)

1989

Central

(HV/WN)

1988

Long Island

(CN/WN)

1987

Long Island

(WN/CN)

1986

Long Island

(CN/WN)

1985

Long Island

(HV/WN)

1984

Central

(LI/WN)

Posted In: Empire State Games

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45 Responses to “Report: Empire State Games canceled for ’11, likely beyond”

  1. Lax Hound says:

    Sad, but not surprising. In lax the Games have been a shell of their former selves in terms of importance even before they weren’t held in ’09.

  2. Observer Lax says:

    Why didn’t they wait for the new governor to take over and decide fate of ESG??

  3. north says:

    Long Island cared! Hudson Valley did not even get there best out. Now we know why Strong Island is much better than the HV.

  4. Oh Well says:

    It was a shell of its former self the last few years not even including last year when it wasn’t played at all.

  5. laxer guy xpress says:

    No big deal. The Under class Under Armor games were much better last year. Plenty of travel teams to play on to get exposure with much better coaching then the Long Island Empire teams.

  6. LaxWorld says:

    Too bad there are so many haters of ESG. This years team even though they were not as strong as in the past, the players themselves did OK.

    9 players committed to play D-1
    4 or 5 to play D-3

    Not bad.

  7. Lax Dad says:

    Maybe the new Governor, Cuomo, will bring them back?

  8. 10580 says:

    As far as exposure, competition and recruiting opportunities, there will be plenty. However, it will be very difficult to replicate the unique experience and honor that being a part of the Empire States Games provided high school athletes.

  9. laxer guy xpress says:

    On Long Island the high school coaches that coach the empire team have been using it as a vehicle to promote their own players for years. The tryout process has been a joke. Let the kids play on travel teams over the summer and get better exposure with better coaches. We all know organizations like the Express are Well run with top coaching. No ESG games will save the taxpayers money and in all honesty will be better for High School Lacrosse players on Long Island. Just my opinion.

  10. Laxer Dude says:

    RIP ESG

  11. Joe Lombardi says:

    The Empire State Games may not be dead, after all. Efforts are under way to try to obtain private funding for both the winter and summer games. This promises to drag on for a while, folks.

    For now, here’s more from John Moriello’s New York State Sportswriters Association blog:

    http://www.newyorksportswriters.org/blog/blog-2010-11-19.shtml

  12. SirLaxalot says:

    Good to hear the Winter Games may be back but it will take a lot more time/effort/energy to preserve the Summer Games. With all the money the state wastes let’s hope they can see the obvious benefits in keeping this tradition alive.

  13. Townie says:

    Without ESGs, Rye better start a travel team this summer!

  14. rion says:

    its amazing that there is a not a proffesional athlete that wont just foot the bill

  15. NYmike says:

    When you have a town like Bedford Hills canceling a Xmas lighting ceremony over $787 dollars – considering all the monied people that live in that area it is a shame that the private sector and the athletes and celebrities that call New York home can’t be called on to support the games no matter the locale. Kudos for Niagra stepping up last year. But in no way should the State of New York and tax payers be contributing one penny, never should have in the first place. If they are so important – and for Lax that may be questionable in today’s recruiting and travel team environment – then the teams and private donors and corporate sponsors should foot the bill. At the most the local government would provide traffic cops – but then that was the issue in Bedford Hills: two traffic cops! Can you believe that?

  16. empirelax says:

    Townie
    It looks like Town is ducking Rye this year, what is that all about

    • Observer Lax says:

      Wait. That makes no sense. Rye has never beaten Yorktown. Ever.

      • johnc says:

        Town and pac have ducked rye in recent years

        • rLaxFamily says:

          Yorktown played Rye last year.

          • slacrosse says:

            No, last time they played was ’09.

            Yeah, Observer Lax is correct. Think rye lost by 6 in ’09. ’08 was 4-1 Town. In ’07 (played at RCDS-rye’s field was flooded) rye was up by 4-5 goals into the 1st part of 4th Q and Town had a great comeback to win I think by 1.

            Hope they can play this season in cross-over but probably doubtful so will have to wait until Class B playoffs.

          • rLaxFamily says:

            Your right 2009 it was. Who should have yorktown given up to pay rye in 2010? wm? jj? gc? rf? darien? st. a’s? wilton?

  17. NYS says:

    For some reason I believe this is more then Money. I think politics are getting in the way. That would be a shame, cause the kids, masters athletes and volunteers are the ones that suffer!!

  18. LoveTownLax says:

    Because of the economy, the Empires should go on, but strictly for the High School athletes. Unless the Open and Masters athletes want to pay full boat, those divisions should be dropped, have had their time to shine – it should be about the kids….. but as usual, Albany will get it wrong….

    • sgt hulka says:

      It seems to me that the exposure to be gotten from participating in ESG is as important as the cool aspects of representing your region, etc…
      So if the recruiting focus is such an important component of the games, why shouldn’t all athletes pay their way?

      After all, trying to get into a better college is certainly about personal gain and I don’t understand why that serves a public purpose and needs to be supported by tax dollars.

      • LaxWorld says:

        The ESG go beyond just recruiting and getting ready for college. It is the experience the athletes get. The friendships they make outside their cozy towns. Learning how to live with one another and representing your region. Talk to some of the high profile athletes over the last 5 years be it basketball, lacrosse or ice hockey and those athletes will always talk about the people they met and the friendships that lasted. Oh yeah this years ESG lacrosse players had great success with their college recruiting.

  19. Schoolhouse Road says:

    Very well said Love Town Lax. That really sums it up perfectly. Coming from a John Jay fan, I can say on this topic we see eye to eye! ;-)

  20. Pac Man says:

    Well said LoveTownLax – Good to see you back on the blog!

  21. slacrosse says:

    Echo that LoveTownLax!

  22. Four says:

    I agree with Town Lax, also where is the lottery money that is supposed to supplement the games.
    And as written in the other post I agree Somers just got better, in the new coaching change. Class B is Insane to begin with!!

  23. Kettlebell says:

    This is like watching dancing with the stars.

    But more fun.

  24. HV Lax says:

    Joe did an excellent job in this column explaining the importance of ESG and why it’s so foolish not to preserve the tradition of the games. Here’s the link…
    http://ncnlocal.com/ncnlocal_sports/sports_headlines/article_17ae110a-f813-11df-aab2-001cc4c03286.html

  25. SirLaxalot says:

    Joe is spot on with his analysis as usual. Thanks for sharing the link HV Lax. It’s a must read.

  26. Laxit says:

    Some great points by Love Town Lax and Joe in his column. I agree 100% with both of them.

  27. Laxie says:

    So the games cost less than $2 million a year? C’mon. There has to be a way to come up with tat money – even a corporate sponsor being part of the ESG name???

  28. NYmike says:

    I know that the ESGs are well known by those with big sports connections and interests in colleges throughout the northeast – no matter the sport, for HS athletes. And I also know a few folks in the SEC and ACC who know that, if a recruit – again, no matter the sport – makes an ESG team, it was (IS!!) a sign of a solid athlete either worth a look, or is another notch in the belt for his or her ability play at the next level. While the way that Lax has become so recruiting-showcase centric is good for one player and his/her family – and good for the kids that make that their route to college – it is to the detriment to ESG lax. ESG lax it says a lot about a kid to commit to process and succeed at the next level and for many college coaches it is (could be) the feather in the cap that seals a commitment to that player on behalf of the college. Political considerations and the off and on nature of the last two years and who knows what for next year is more a function of politics than sports.

  29. Just sayin says:

    That would be a joke if they play the Winter games but not the Summer games.

  30. sgt hulka says:

    LoveTownLax says:
    November 22, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Because of the economy, the Empires should go on, but strictly for the High School athletes. Unless the Open and Masters athletes want to pay full boat, those divisions should be dropped, have had their time to shine – it should be about the kids….. but as usual, Albany will get it wrong….
    Reply

    *
    sgt hulka says:
    November 28, 2010 at 12:22 am

    It seems to me that the exposure to be gotten from participating in ESG is as important as the cool aspects of representing your region, etc…
    So if the recruiting focus is such an important component of the games, why shouldn’t all athletes pay their way?

    After all, trying to get into a better college is certainly about personal gain and I don’t understand why that serves a public purpose and needs to be supported by tax dollars.
    Reply
    o
    LaxWorld says:
    November 28, 2010 at 9:35 am

    The ESG go beyond just recruiting and getting ready for college. It is the experience the athletes get. The friendships they make outside their cozy towns. Learning how to live with one another and representing your region. Talk to some of the high profile athletes over the last 5 years be it basketball, lacrosse or ice hockey and those athletes will always talk about the people they met and the friendships that lasted. Oh yeah this years ESG lacrosse players had great success with their college recruiting.
    Reply

    This really sounds like an effort that should be funded by the participants and/or private donations. In case it hasn’t been apparent, NYS will have a 10 figure deficit this year and school budgets are getting axed left and right with cutbacks in academics and extracurricular.

    If it’s such an awesome, life changing opportunity for a small number of student athletes, those kids’ families should be more than happy to scrounge around for the cash to make it happen.

    • LoveTownLax says:

      Sgt Hulka – It is something that I personally think the state should fund if at all possible, it isn’t just about various kids getting a “look” but as LaxWorld says, “the experience” that we have given previous generations of kids that they all cherish, I know many of them personally and have heard this from all of them. To find the funds, maybe we can start with all of our lame legislators up in Albany cutting their Perks and staff in half, and use that cash to fund the games for the KIDS!!!! We in this state pay an awful lot of money for an awful lot of WASTE, which the Empire Games are not!!! You sound a little bitter about something, Sgt Hulka….. ?

  31. LoveTownLax says:

    Schoolhouse Road – funny comment above! To me, it really is about all the kids in all the sports….. and Thanks slacrosse, Four and Laxit, and Pac Man – it is good to be back! Only 4 months to go until March!!! :o)

  32. sgt hulka says:

    LoveTownLax,

    No, away from the fact that I pay Westchester taxes, I’m not bitter, . It’s more that I’ve had zero experience with ESG and most of the chatter seems to center around recruiting looks. If you’re telling me that recruiting is NOT a major goal of these games, then tax payer money may be appropriate. Otherwise, the state should stay out of it. Did anybody here get a state subsidy to send a kid to Blue Chip or Hot Beds?

    Somebody mentioned that the games won’t happen because of a $2mm shortfall. Assuming 6,000 athletes, that’s $333- a head. Was there ever an option for the participants to pick up the shortfall?

    Better still… if a kid gets recruited to a SUNY, they get reimbursed the $333-.

  33. LoveTownLax says:

    sgt hulka – I pay Westchester taxes too….. the chatter on this particular blog may be about “looks,” but the history and tradition of the 30+ years of Empire Games is so so much more than that!!! Again, you seem to be centered around the fact that some kids may ultimately get a scholarship, as opposed to all the other benefits of these games to ALL of the kids that participate. The kids that receive scholarships also have to have good grades to be accepted into the college – should they have to reimburse us taxpayers for their 12 years of education too???? Let the kids play!!! We pay expenses for state parks and pools and historic sites and tons of other leisure activities, and subsidize OTB, and pay salaries and expenses for juvenile prison employees with no prisoners, and get ripped off by medicaid scams and worst of all – per diems and car expense to our legislators who met for 5 MINUTES in Albany yesterday and didn’t do a damn thing…. – (Cuomo should be able to find some fraud and abuse in there somewhere, the savings should start pouring in January 1st as promised…) So I think we can find some money for our student athletes to get together twice a year to celebrate their accomplishments!!! And maybe some of them will be so moved to donate to future events when they are finished with their college careers, whether or not they got scholarships!!!!

  34. reLAX says:

    Have a feeling this is going to wind up happening through private funding with Cuomo coming out looking the the knight on a white horse.

  35. NYmike says:

    The players (for lax anyway) do shell out about $400 in the end (fine, uniforms but still), and the families of all the athletes that attend the games shell out at least $800 for the weekend to the city and spend plenty to make the trip – that extra day in Buffalo last year seemed a bit of a scam considering there was plenty of downtime on Saturday to finish up and go home. And some locations for some sports charged admission fees, unless you were an athlete with your badge. Should every athlete pay a participation fee, no matter the sport, IF they make the team in their respective sport? Sure. These are elite athletes and elite athletes no matter the sport are putting out the money for travel teams, personal training, and so on. The prestige should come with a cost, and not burden taxpayers in any way. Albany does a fine job with that as it is.

  36. Doid23 says:

    Some perspective on how screwed up New York politicians and government are:

    They are once again going to save OTB, a losing proposition forever, and get rid of the ESG. Ridiculous, even by NY political standards.

  37. reLAX says:

    I agree the new governor Cuomo will come up with funding and they will announce the games are alive in March.

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