November 18, 2010

Empire State Games Cancelled Again

by Matt DaSilva | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

The Empire State Games, a longtime high school event pitting New York's select regional squads in Olympic-style competition against each other and an annual lacrosse recruiting headliner, have reportedly been cancelled for 2011.

The state made no formal announcement Wednesday, but the ESG Web site was taken down and various media reports have confirmed the cancellation. The news was announced to regional directors on a conference call Tuesday, with the state's budget crisis cited as the reason.

The summer games, including lacrosse, were suspended in 2009, but resumed in 2010 after First Niagara Financial Group donated $500,000 to stage them in Buffalo.

Louis Vazquez, ESG regional director for New York City, told the Associated Press that the latest cancellation in also includes the winter games, senior games and games for the physically challenged.

"All of us were in quite a bit of shock," he said.

The Poughkeepsie Journal published portions of a letter to ESG athletes from Winter Games administrator Lisa Del Signore on Tuesday night.

"It is with great regret and sadness that I must inform you of the cancellation of the 2011 Empire State Games programs," Del Signore wrote. "We have been informed that there will be no appropriation for any of the Empire State Games programs in the coming year, and two of our five staff members have been laid off effective the end of the year. The other three have been reassigned within the State Parks agency. With no money and no staff, we have no program."

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