For the ninth straight year, Woodbury United Lacrosse will be hosting the Black and Blue Tournament from July 13-15 at the HealthEast Sports Complex. There will be about 90 teams, both girls and boys, and 5,000 people from across the Twin Cities as well as bordering states coming to a weekend filled with competition, fun and learning the game of lacrosse.
Stephanie Carlson, the tournament director, is preparing for the largest tournament in the Midwest, but a weekend she looks forward to each year.
"With all of our facilities, we've always wanted to have a tournament here," Carlson said. "The opportunity to host the Black and Blue Tournament is exciting for us and we're excited to have all of these great teams here for the weekend."
The tournament is focused on youth players, ages 7-15, and is a bracket and pool play competition with medals being presented to each of the division champions on Sunday, July 15.
The majority of the teams are local like Cottage Grove, Prior Lake, Eagan, Bloomington and Stillwater. There are a handful of teams making the trip for the tournament from places like Rogers and Winona as well as Fargo and Hudson.
Carlson said she's not worried about the amount of extra people being in the Woodbury area for the weekend because there will be activities and possible food vendors around the sports complex for kids to stay in the area. She's more worried about the parking because she encourages not only the families of the players, but the community of Woodbury to come out and support the teams.
With the large amount of people expected to come, parking could be challenging. The parking lot near the green fields and the tennis courts will be used for handicap and permit cars. Carlson encourages the parents and families to park in the East Ridge High School parking lots and take a short walk to either the green, gold or red fields for the games. She also advises people to not bring their pets because the complex doesn't allow them.
"There will be plenty of parking at East Ridge High School and we appreciate them letting us use their parking lots for the weekend," Carlson said. "We have excellent partners helping us during the weekend like the city of Woodbury and the different vendors and sponsors we have for the tournament."
Carlson is in her fourth year of this tournament, so she knows what to expect and knows how much fun these teams will have once they step foot onto the sports complex.
She said there will be plenty of food throughout the three days and encourages people to bring lawn chairs and plenty of water in case of warm temperatures.
Black and Blue
The tournament is called Black and Blue and the reason behind this name isn't because of bruises or toughness. Carlson said the name came from the two colors of Woodbury High School and East Ridge High School. Woodbury is blue and East Ridge is black; and, since it's Woodbury United Lacrosse, they try to use colors from both schools.
Carlson said there's about 15 members on the board that helped plan all the details for this big weekend.
"I couldn't do this weekend without their help as well as the community for their volunteer time," Carlson said. "This is a super dedicated group of people that make this tournament happen and I appreciate all of their help."
Since the tournament will be outside, Carlson has reserved the indoor facility in case rain or any type of weather disrupts the outdoor fields. She just wants people to come out and support the different communities that will be playing over the weekend.
"I would encourage everyone to come out and see some great lacrosse," Carlson said. "Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States and we have some great teams coming to show off how much fun this sport can be for players and spectators."