Canadian MLL Rookies Held Up On Visas
Major League Lacrosse’s Canadian-born rookies, most notably No. 1 overall pick Kevin Crowley and his former Stony Brook teammate Jordan McBride, have been unable to play thus far for their MLL teams while the players await approval of United States work visas.
Crowley was drafted by the Hamilton Nationals and McBride by the Rochester Rattlers. Neither played in Week 1 of the MLL season and both are questionable for Week 2. Hamilton plays defending league champion Chesapeake Thursday night and Rochester plays Long Island Saturday night.
Both had been living and going to school in the United States on student visas. They are now awaiting word on being approved for a P-1 Athlete Visa, which allows non-U.S. citizens or residents who are professional athletes to compete in the U.S.
“We’re working on that,” Nationals coach Regy Thorpe said Wednesday when asked if Crowley would be available for Thursday’s game. “He was available last week, but there are some issues on us working out the visa stuff, logistic stuff that was kind of out of our control. We’re hoping to have him for tomorrow night.”
McBride is in an identical situation, although Rochester plays Saturday so there is a greater chance the paperwork needed to be processed is done in the coming days. But coach B.J. O’Hara said Wednesday he wasn’t expecting to have McBride in the lineup.
“The problem we’ve had with the rookie Canadians is their paperwork is being processed and expedited by the league office, but those guys are all on student visas and they’re not students anymore,” O’Hara said. “In order to be employed in the United States, they have to have a different visa. It’s not a surprise, but it’s the bureaucratic paper chase. Unfortunately, we can’t get Jordan in the lineup until the visa clears. We’re expecting that any day, but I don’t think he will be available this weekend. We could get lucky with the red tape but I think we all know it usually works the other way.”
If McBride is out for Rochester Saturday, the Rattlers will play with a patchwork starting attack around Ned Crotty, because Casey Powell will miss the game due to commitments with the U.S. national indoor team, which will be playing in the world indoor championships that begin Saturday in Prague. Several MLLers are set to play in the championships for either the U.S., Canada or Iroquois teams.
Without Powell, former Syracuse attackman Greg Niewieroski will likely start on attack alongside Crotty with either second-year pro Ari Sussman or rookie Brian Caulfield from Albany.
Rochester also drafted Adam Jones, a midfielder from Canisius and an Owen Sound, Ontario, native. He has also yet to play.