When the new “Salem Mayhem” box lacrosse team debuts this Friday night at the Salem Civic Center at least three of the players will be familiar to local lax fans. Former Old Dominion Athletic Conference players Joey Dishaw, Chad Fisher and Josh Davis are all on the roster for the valley’s newest professional team, which will open at 7 p.m. at the Salem Civic Center against the Hampton Hammerheads.
The Mayhem is one of nine teams in the Professional Box Lacrosse Association (PBLA) debut season. Also in the league are three teams located in New York state, the Elmira Renegades, Syracuse Spark and Binghampton Bombers. The Jim Thorpe All-Americans are in Pennsylvania, the Trenton Terror are in New Jersey’ Hampton, Va. is home to the Hammerheads, Charlotte, N.C. has the Bootleggers and the New England Chowderheads will split time between Manchester, N.H., and Springfield, Mass..
“As an organization, we are absolutely thrilled about having a team in Salem,” said PBLA commissioner Steve Donner. “Both the city and the community itself have a long history with the sport of lacrosse, and we know that the PBLA will help add to that illustrious tradition by bringing America’s fastest growing, and most exciting professional sport to the city of Salem”
Box lacrosse is a mix between regular lacrosse and ice hockey. The dimensions of the playing surface are the same as hockey but the game is played on artificial turf. There are boards surrounding the playing surface, like hockey, and each team will field six players at a time, a goalie with two defensemen and three forwards.
“Every seat is going to be a good seat for this fast-paced action!” said Wendy Delano, Salem’s Director of Civic Facilities. “The indoor lacrosse set-up will be a perfect fit in our facility and it will be exciting to see the Salem Civic Center look somewhat like it did in the old pro hockey days with the dasher boards, protective panels, and fast-paced action.”
The Salem Mayhem roster features elite athletes under the guidance of Coach Lindsay Sanderson. He is the former general manager and head coach of the Philadelphia Wings, and he is a member of both the Ontario and Canadian Lacrosse Halls of Fame.
A player draft was held to stock the team and Kyle Leeming, a goalie from Virginia Wesleyan, was the Mayhem’s first round pick. There was also a tryout camp in Raleigh to fill out a roster of about 20 players and three men with local ties were selected from about 60 who tried out. Dishaw and Fisher both played for Roanoke College while Davis played for Virginia Wesleyan. All three were teammates at Salem High for three years.
“I was on line one day and saw this advertisement about a new league,” said Davis. “Then I saw there was going to be a team in Salem so I decided to try out. I got a call from coach Sanderson and he asked me if I knew of anyone else in the area and I told him I knew some guys for sure.”
Fisher had just moved back to the area after spending four years in Montana. Chad has been an ice hockey player since he was a kid and he feels that will be a big benefit with the Mayhem.
“I’ve played ice hockey all my life and the size of the playing surface and the boards are the same,” he said. “Box lacrosse originated in Canada, and it’s a lot like hockey.”
The game is more physical than lacrosse played outside, and Dishaw found that out in a hurry at the tryouts.
“Cross checking is legal,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting that and I got hit pretty good, but you also have more padding in box lacrosse. You have pads to protect your kidneys and ribs and I never wore pads like that in high school or college.”
The Mayhem will play seven home games through April 1 as well as seven road games. The local players will receive $500 per game along with travel and equipment expenses. Dishaw, Fisher and Davis will wear the same numbers they had in college. Dishaw will be number five, Davis is 19 and Fisher will be 20.
“They asked us what number we wanted and we all picked our same numbers,” said Fisher. “I never played box lacrosse before but I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Tickets for Salem Mayhem games are now on sale. Single Game Tickets are $15, $20, and $25. Season Tickets are $99 and $149. Tickets can be purchased at the Salem Civic Center Box Office Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and online at www.ticketmaster.com.