CAMBRIDGE – From the first game at Cawley Stadium in Lowell 23 years ago, to the days at Nickerson Field, Harvard Stadium and Quincy, when it comes to passionate fan bases for professional lacrosse, no one has been more passionate than Boston Cannons fans.

Even with one league folding and another starting, the Cannons are the only franchise still standing from the original pro outdoor league’s inception back in 2001. Fans have continued to follow and watch the team with a feverish fandom no other Major League Lacrosse or Premier Lacrosse League fan base has been able to match.

This season, the PLL finally adopted having teams represent actual cities despite still using a touring model to promote the product. A night after the 4th of July fireworks, the Boom Squad was finally back home.

Week 5 of the PLL slate kicked off inside Harvard Stadium, the first game for the team inside the hallowed cement halls since it was the franchise’s home venue in 2018. Despite losing the game 9-7 to the California Redwoods, it was still quite a showcase for New England lax.


An enormous crowd passionately rooted for the Cannons and in particular, the return home for Billerica’s Jeff Trainor. Trainor got his big moment with a goal in the third quarter that put Boston ahead 7-5 at the time. Unfortunately it was the last goal of the night for the home team.

But, in general, it was a perfect summer night to remind the watching world just how much the Cannons mean to the community.

“Really cool crowd,” said Cannons head coach Brian Holman. “I can’t thank the Boston community enough for coming out and supporting us. That was one of the neatest experiences I’ve had, just looking up there and seeing all those people. I wish we could have done a little better for them, but it’s part of the deal. Hopefully we’ll be better tomorrow.”

“Like Coach said, the fans were awesome and it would have been nice to get a win there,” added Marcus Holman, who opened the scoring for Boston and finished with four goals.

The touring model makes things a bit odd in the sense that players and coaches are representing a city, but only get to perform in front of their ‘home’ crowd once or twice in the summer. So, expectations were one thing, but until they got to feel it for themselves, it was hard to imagine what the atmosphere would be like.

Needless to say, expectations were blown out of the water and Brian Holman even somehow heard his wife through the thousands and thousands of screaming voices.

“For me personally, it exceeded them. I didn’t know what to expect,” he added. “This was the best crowd that I’ve seen so far in the PLL. Their engagement, just everybody out there…you felt like a professional team going out there and their passion, I mean, that’s one of our pillars and they fit right in. Kudos. We’re so blessed to be part of this city from a sports perspective and we’re going to continue to do everything we can to wedge our way in here, but it was a fantastic crowd. I really, really do appreciate it.

“I didn’t realize how close the field is…they’re right on top of the field. The only negative of that is I could hear my wife like two rows back. You know, everybody that has a wife that can pick that voice out. I did hear that a couple times and I was like ‘oh, ok, there we go, that’s good. I’m glad she’s here. Love her to death.”

Marcus Holman had a bit more of an idea of what to expect coming in, having been part of the old MLL and playing against the Cannons before. Now, he was lucky enough to be on the right side.

“I’ve been on the other side of it playing six seasons in the MLL for the Ohio Machine and you always knew coming into Boston you had to bring your A game in to compete and win because you know the crowd is like an 11th player on the field,” he said.

California face off guy TD Ierlan – who had a pretty dominant night and was a big reason why Boston was held scoreless in the fourth quarter while the Redwoods erased the 7-5 deficit – is a former Yale Bulldog and had quite a bit of success when playing against the Crimson. He was one of the few on the other side that also had an idea of what to expect, as did his head coach Nat St. Laurent.

“Well, we were all talking about it,” admitted Laurent. “I’ll go back to the MLL and coaching the Ohio Machine. Coming into this stadium, it’s my favorite stadium. It’s my second favorite flag post in the country, my first one’s at the Ohio State football stadium (Go Bucks), but I love the vibe here. The Boston fans…they’re good hecklers, it’s a great vibe. We were really excited to come to Harvard. I don’t think anybody was more excited than TD. I think the last time he was here in college he was 26-for-26 and tonight he goes 70% so…the vibe of playing here, I’m so excited there’s a team in Boston. This vibe is one of the best. I remember going all the way back, doing this for 10 years now at the pro level, this place is always special to play. Then you had the fireworks last night on the river, it was a great weekend for sure.”

“The colosseum is awesome,” added Ierlan. “The fans packed it out and it was their homecoming weekend. It was an awesome environment and go Bulldogs.”

Well done New England. Fairfield, San Diego, Baltimore, Denver and Salt Lake City all have a high bar to reach for now when hosting games for the rest of the regular season.

Unfortunately, whether it’s college sports, the Revolution, the Renegades or the Cannons, they’ll always take a backseat to ‘The Big Four’ in this region.

But that’s okay.

Nights like the one we all got to experience on Friday (and will again on Saturday) prove that New England can be and is a hotbed for lacrosse, especially if this iteration of the Cannons has anything to say about it.

“We’re all in man, we’re all in,” added Brian Holman. “Marcus and I are staying here Monday and Tuesday to do a clinic. We’re going to do everything we can to ingratiate ourselves into the community and just honor them and the game by being here and just trying to help as much as we can.

“It’s awesome, just really proud to be a part of it. I can’t wait to get back out there tomorrow night and let’s get after it.”