Nike has partnered with the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse organization, an agreement that will expand Nike's lacrosse business by providing the Iroquois Nationals with footwear and apparel, including team uniforms, warm ups and casual sports apparel. The new uniforms will debut this summer when the Iroquois Nationals are expected to compete in the 2006 World Lacrosse Championships in London, Ontario, Canada.
The Iroquois Nationals today are the only indigenous nation worldwide participating in international sports competition, meaning that the Iroquois Nationals will compete for the world title alongside the U.S., Canada and other qualifying countries at this summers World Lacrosse Championships.
Todays announcement reinforces Nikes commitment to Native Americans and to the sport of lacrosse. Through the companys Native American Business Program, Nike has encouraged physical activity on Native American lands and other Native American communities and has worked closely with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Services to establish and manage fitness-oriented programs.
“We are proud to be partnering with the Iroquois Nationals,” said Sam McCracken, Nikes manager of Native American Business. “The partnership developed out of our long-standing commitment to working with Native Americans and was a natural fit for us given our strong support of team sports. We look forward to supporting the long-range development of the sport and to working with Native American communities to use lacrosse to increase physical activity among Native American youth. ”
McCracken led the development of the Nike Native American Program more than six years ago, and has worked closely with more than 100 tribes on wellness and fitness initiatives. Nike is proud to provide product for tribal fitness programs as well as mentoring and event support for the tribal population.
“We are proud to have Nike support us at this exciting time in our history,” said Chief Oren Lyons of the Iroquois Nationals. “The Iroquois Nationals Program has had a significant impact on the youth of our confederacy providing an international showcase for our players and our culture. With Nikes support, we will be able to continue to send our best athletes to compete and promote lacrosse to the world, sharing the game and our history.”
Historically, the game of lacrosse may be one of the oldest team sports in the world, and the roots of modern day lacrosse can be traced back to the Iroquois. For over 500 years, lacrosse has played an integral part of the Iroquois Confederacy well being. As lacrosse continues to grow in popularity around the world, Iroquois Nation leaders are committed to promote its heritage and drive broader participation in healthy physical activity among its people.
Nike currently supports 18 collegiate lacrosse programs and manufactures and distributes a complete line of lacrosse products for men and women, including competition and training specific products.
In addition, as a component of the partnership, the Iroquois Nationals will participate in extensive research and design studies intended to further develop Nikes lineup of training and competition footwear and apparel for the sport of lacrosse.
Lacrosse is considered one of the fastest growing team sports, both in the United States and internationally. In the last decade, the number of high school and youth league teams has increased by 40 percent, and the number of college and club teams has risen by 55 percent. This has been accompanied by an increased national awareness of all levels of men's and women's lacrosse.