UTICA, N.Y. - The Utica Yeti box lacrosse team is just days away from opening up its inaugural season, with the team getting ready to host the Salt City Eels out of Syracuse at the Adirondack Bank Center on Sunday.
The team, which will compete in the four-team Empire North Division of the Interstate Box Lacrosse Association (IBLA), will play each divisional opponent twice, once at home and once away, with the division winner advancing to the IBLA National Championship Tournament in Lakeland, Florida in September.
Utica will play three home games at the Aud this season: June 6 vs. the Salt City (Syracuse) Eels, June 13 vs. the Saugerties Night Pandas, and July 10 vs. the Albany Hyenas.
The Yeti is made up of players from all over New York State, many of whom are local to the Mohawk Valley area.
They have been practicing for a couple of months in preparation for the season and players said it hasn't taken very long for the team to start gelling.
"It's coming along great," said forward Nick Kieffer, a Rome native and team captain. "We've got guys from all over the state: north, south, east, west. In just the two months, we've come a long way. We've got the cohesion and the camaraderie is huge out here for us. That's what we kind of preached since day one."
Players said they are highly motivated to become apart of the fabric of a passionate Utica sports scene, wanting to bring a banner to the Adirondack Bank Center, and feeling confident they have the group that can do so.
They'll also be playing for potential opportunities to join the professional ranks, with the IBLA having a partnership with the National Lacrosse League (NLL), where players can be scouted and signed to pro deals.
The Yeti open up their inaugural campaign against Salt City on Sunday at 2 p.m.
For more on the team and ticket information, click here.
Click on the video above to hear from players about the upcoming season