Birmingham, USA | July 7 - 17, 2022

The World Games 2022 Puts Haudenosaunee Nationals, The Inventor Of Lacrosse, On International Stage

todayMarch 8, 2022

The World Games 2022 puts Haudenosaunee Nationals, the inventor of lacrosse, on international stage

Men’s and Women’s Teams representing Native Americans will compete for gold in Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., USA – Although the game is thousands of years old, 2022 is the first time the Haudenosaunee Nationals – the inventors of lacrosse – will compete in The World Games.

The Haudenosaunee Nationals men’s and women’s teams will be part of The World Games 2022 thanks to international support and a decision by the Irish national team.

“We are proud to be able to showcase our sport on this amazing international stage,” said Leo Nolan, executive director and member of the Haudenosaunee Nationals Lacrosse Board of Directors.

The Haudenosaunee invented lacrosse, and Nolan explained it’s a game played for “the pleasure of the Creator.”

The Haudenosaunee Nationals rank among the world’s elite programs, with the men ranked No. 3 in field lacrosse and No. 2 in box lacrosse. The men won bronze at the 2018 World Lacrosse Men’s Championships and took silver at the 2019 World Lacrosse Men’s Box Championship. The women currently sit 12th in the world.

Still, neither team was initially eligible to compete at The World Games 2022 (TWG 2022) under International Olympic Committee rules. TWG 2022 is organized with the support of the Olympics.

When the Haudenosaunee were later deemed eligible to compete in Birmingham, they faced another seemingly insurmountable obstacle: the eight national lacrosse teams competing at TWG 2022 had already been selected. There was no room.

Then, last summer, Ireland Lacrosse vacated its position as a qualifying team for The World Games 2022, which paved the way for the Haudenosaunee Nationals men’s team to take its place. The women later qualified for The World Games 2022, too.

“It was the right thing to do for lacrosse in general,” Nolan said last fall. “We are certainly very thankful and have a great amount of respect for Ireland.

The men’s team has been known in the past as the Iroquois Nationals, but Nolan said the group prefers Haudenosaunee Nationals to better represent their history.

Nick Sellers, CEO of TWG 2022, said Ireland’s amazing sacrifice will be recognized in a special way when competitions begin in Birmingham.

“Ireland’s national lacrosse team showcased the best of sportsmanship and the best of humanity,” Sellers said. “Birmingham has long been an epicenter of America’s struggle for equality, and we are enormously proud that The World Games 2022 can remind us that our strength comes from mutual respect and a commitment to inclusion.

“Birmingham, Alabama was ground zero for America’s Civil Rights Movement, so it is fitting that when The World Games 2022 begins here July 7, the Haudenosaunee Nationals lacrosse team will be allowed to compete for the first time at an international, multi-sport event.”

In addition, lacrosse at The World Games 2022 will feature Lacrosse Sixes, a faster-paced and higher-scoring format than the traditional version. Each team will have six players on each side instead of the traditional 10 and play on a smaller field. Sixes is a more accessible form of lacrosse that is easy to understand for those unfamiliar with the sport.

Other national teams scheduled to compete in men’s lacrosse at TWG 2022 represent Australia, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Israel, Japan and the United States.

In women’s lacrosse, other national teams qualified to compete at TWG 2022 are Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Great Britain, Israel, Japan and the United States.

This information is part of TWG 2022’s “Road to Birmingham” series presented by Storyteller Overland. To watch a 60-second video presented by Storyteller Overland about lacrosse at The World Games 2022, click here.

Watch this video from the 2020 Musial Awards about Ireland’s decision to vacate their spot and allow the Haudenosaunee Nationals to play in The World Games 2022.

For more information about lacrosse at TWG 2022, including the schedule of competitions and several action photos, visit

About The World Games 2022

The World Games 2022 Birmingham is the new generation of global sport competition, welcoming elite athletes from all over the world to compete for gold in 34 unique, multi-disciplinary sports. Featuring 3,600 athletes from more than 100 countries, the international event will unite global fans with the Birmingham community in 25+ venues around the greater metropolitan area. The World Games 2022 Birmingham, which marks the 40th anniversary of the event, will take place from July 7-17, 2022 and will generate an estimated $256 million in economic impact. The World Games was established by the International World Games Association, an organization recognized by the International Olympic Committee. The World Games 2022 is organized with the support of the International Olympic Committee.  For more information visit or find us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.


Note – To schedule an interview with Leo Nolan of the Haudenosaunee Nationals Lacrosse Board of Directors, contact 240-441-3978 or email: [email protected].

For more information about teams playing in The World Games 2022, please contact Christy Cahill, Chief Brand & Communications Officer, World Lacrosse at 617-777-4489 or [email protected]; media inquiries can also be sent to [email protected].