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Q&A with Mike Riorden

One of the greatest aspects of the game of lacrosse is the sense of community shared by the players, coaches, families, and fans.  At the recent Lake Placid Summit Classic, I had the opportunity to meet and play with Mike Riorden, and chat with him after our games.

In addition to being a lacrosse player and parent (father of former UAlbany goalie Blaze Riorden, and current Lycoming attackman Connor Riorden), Mike has been a prolific contributor to the game.  These contributions over the years include service as a coach in the Fairport Youth Lacrosse program, initiator of the Fairport travel team, high school officiating, US Lacrosse youth tournament coaching, and more.  He currently serves as Head Coach of the Fairport JV lacrosse team.  In 2016, Mike’s contributions were recognized through his induction into the Greater Rochester Chapter of US Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

Mike recently took the time to answer some questions for Capital District Lax about being a lacrosse parent, his current project – the Ellicottville Lacrosse Festival, and more.

What was the spring/summer lacrosse season like for you?

MR: Spring is busy in the Riorden household, besides coaching the Fairport JV Lacrosse team I attended every UAlbany (Go Danes!) home and away lacrosse game for the four years Blaze played there, than last year I split between Connor’s games at Lycoming and the Bandits games for Blaze.

How does the experience differ when attending a game as the parent of a goalie (Blaze) vs attending as a parent of an attackman (Connor)?

MR: Attending games as a Goalie parent is a lot different then as an attackman or forward’s parent.  For goalies the fans only focus on the goals scored , for offensive players if you make three mistakes then score everyone focuses on the goal , it’s much easier rooting for offense.

What has your experience been like at the Lake Placid Summit Classic?

MR: This was my 25th consecutive year at Lake Placid and it’s always special.  In 2008 I was married to my wife Jaci after the tournament with our family friends and teammates in attendance , then getting to first coach my kids up there with the Blaze club then watch them grow and hang out with their own teams carrying on a tradition makes me really proud.

You recently partnered with Ryan Powell to launch the Ellicottville (NY) Lacrosse Festival, which is set for Sept 22-24, 2017.  Tell us a little about how that partnership came about.

MR: In 2004 I played in the Vail tournament, and shortly afterwards I visited Ellicottville for Fall Fest. I realized Ellicottville would be a great place for a destination tournament and I sat on that idea for thirteen years . I met Ryan Powell last winter when we ran a Box Lacrosse training league in Rochester and one night we discussed what was on our lacrosse “bucket list” and I immediately brought up Ellicottville.  His response was let’s make it happen.  The next day we started to put it together. Partnering with Ryan was a no brainer.  He shares the same passion for the game as I do and has immense knowledge when it comes to running tournaments.

What can lacrosse players, families, and fans expect at the Festival?

MR: The Ellicottville tournament will have something for everyone.  Whether it’s competition on the field or camaraderie in this awesome little town, this is a great opportunity to celebrate our game from the youth level through the 50+ masters.

What support have you received from the Ellicottville community in planning the Festival?

MR: The people of Ellicottville are as excited as we are to host this event and we hope to expose as many people as possible to both our great sport and this awesome community.

For more info, or to register your team for the inaugural Ellicottville Lacrosse Festival visit:


Facebook: Ellicottville Lacrosse

Gary Govel
Gary has been involved in lacrosse in the Capital District for over 35 years as a player, youth coach, program administrator, parent, and fan. Gary launched in November 2015 to report on lacrosse news and information of interest to the region, and to share his passion for the game. In addition to operating this site and associated social media, Gary is also a contributor to Inside Lacrosse.