MCLA Conference Directors
Boston College EaglesBoston, MA
Boston University TerriersBoston, MA
Northeastern HuskiesBoston, MA
SUNY-Buffalo BullsBuffalo, NY
Connecticut HuskiesStorrs, CT
New Hampshire WildcatsDurham, NH
Rhode Island RamsKingston, RI
Briarcliffe BulldogsBethpage, NY
Bridgewater BearsBridgewater, MA
Central Connecticut Blue DevilsNew Britain, CT
S. Connecticut OwlsNew Haven, CT
Stonehill SkyhawksEaston, MA
Maine Black BearsOrono, ME
New Haven ChargersWest Haven, CT
U.S. Coast Guard BearsNew London, CT
Worcester Poly Tech EngineersWorcester, MA
In the spring of 1984, players from 15 colleges competed in a club All-Star game held at Dean Junior College. It was during this event that the idea of hosting a New England college club championship germinated.
The following fall, Dean Junior hosted an open meeting for all regional schools, inviting them to organize their club lacrosse teams into a league so that a New England Champion could be crowned.
In the spring of 1986, four teams gathered at Dean Junior for a single elimination tournament. In the semi-final match-ups, Boston University defeated the University of Connecticut, 6-5, and Dean Junior College defeated the University of Rhode Island, 14-2. That same day, Dean Junior became the first "New England Club Champion", defeating BU by a score of 6-5.
After two years of successful tournaments, six teams decided to petition the US Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association ("USILA") and the New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association ("NEILA") for league sanctioning. At a winter meeting in 1987, five teams from Massachusetts (Assumption College, Bentley College, Clark University, Dean Junior College, & Worcester Polytechnic Institute) and one from Rhode Island (Roger Williams University) founded the Patriot Lacrosse League. The league's original purpose was to provide structure and legitimacy to the member teams, hoping their institutions would elevate them to varsity status. Five of those six founding Patriot League members were able to obtain their goal.
During the spring of 1988, the first Patriot League Championship was played. Dean Junior College defeated Bentley 18-9, claiming the title as the first Patriot League Champion.
The following year, although Roger Williams departed, the University of Rhode Island and Bryant College were accepted into the league and the championship tournament was expanded to four teams. In the spring of 1990, the USILA requested a name change to avoid confusion with the NCAA's Patriot League, and along with additions of the University of Connecticut and Northeastern University, the Pioneer League as we know it was born.
The Pioneer operated along the same lines for the next several seasons. Teams "graduated" to compete at the varsity level and new teams joined to fill their place, but in the fall of 1999, the league underwent a major change by joining what was then known as the US Lacrosse Intercollegiate Associates.
In 2000, the University of New Hampshire defeated Boston University to earn the league's first automatic qualification and represent the PCLL at its first national tournament as members of the USLIA. In St. Louis, New Hampshire was eliminated in the first round by Brigham Young University, but represented the league well through the rest of the tournament, culminating in a consolation round defeat of the University of Tennessee.
Twenty years later, the PCLL consists of ten Division A teams (Boston College, Boston University, Bridgewater State University, University of Connecticut, University of New Hampshire, Northeastern University, University of Rhode Island, Stonehill College, US Coast Guard Academy, and WPI) and six Division B teams (Central Connecticut State, Framingham State College, University of Maine, University of New Haven, Rochester University, and Salem State College), spanning from Maine to New York.