Breast cancer outreach is a charitable endeavor that Brendan Kelly has always supported, both individually and as a businessman. Now that Kelly is president of the Chesapeake Bayhawks, he is using the platform of professional outdoor lacrosse to promote breast cancer awareness and research.
Ladies Night with the Bayhawks will be held Thursday with all sorts of special activities and events. The pre-game clinic that is held prior to every Bayhawks game will be solely for girls and will be led by former University of Maryland All-American and United States National Team member Christie Jenkins-Kemezis. In addition, there will be a donation presentation for breast cancer research at halftime while the Bayhawks players will wear commemorative helmets featuring pink face masks during the game. Those helmets will be auctioned off afterward with all proceeds being donated to the Avon Foundation.
“Breast cancer is a charity that is near and dear to my heart and all my companies have been involved with raising funds and awareness for the cause,” said Kelly, who currently owns the national staffing firm Smartlink. “We also want to reach out to the women’s lacrosse community and include them in the Chesapeake Bayhawks experience. We feel this Ladies Night event is a great way to bring the men’s and women’s game together.”
On the field, Chesapeake will be looking to start the second-half of the Major League Lacrosse campaign on a positive note. The Bayhawks boast a 4-2 record and are in a three-way tie for first place with six games remaining in the regular season.
“We have put ourselves in a good position to achieve our goal of making the playoffs. Now we need to finish,” Chesapeake general manager Spencer Ford said. “We have three home games left so if we take care of business on our own turf we should be in good shape.”
Chesapeake has nine players participating in the Major League All-Star game, led by midfielder Peet Poillon and goalkeeper Chris Garrity. Poillon is the highest-scoring middie in the MLL this season while Garrity has the best save percentage (.587) in the league. Attackman Danny Glading (18 points), midfielder Matt Abbott (22 ground balls) and defenseman Michael Evans are the other Bayhawks on the MLL All-Star roster.
Meanwhile, the Bayhawks have four players – midfielder Kyle Dixon, faceoff specialist Alex Smith and defenseman Joe Cinosky on Team USA, which will meet the MLL All-Stars at Harvard Stadium in Boston on Thursday, July 8. Shawn Nadelen, the longest-tenured player in Bayhawks history with 92 career games, is also on the U.S. National team. Nadelen has not played this season while recovering from a knee injury.
“I think the team has come together really well. I think we’re strong in every area of the field and the chemistry has been real good,” said Dixon, who leads the MLL with eight 2-point goals this season and will be making his third All-Star appearance. “In reality, we should be 6-0 because we let two games get away. If we come out and play our type of game from the opening whistle, we can beat any team in this league.”
This will be Chesapeake’s third meeting this season with Toronto, which comes to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis with a 1-5 record. The Nationals, who are led by MLL All-Star defenseman Brodie Merrill, were routed by the Bayhawks 25-12 on May 22 but played much tougher in suffering a tough 10-9 loss on June 12.
“This is a crucial game because we need to start the second-half of the season on a winning note. We can’t afford any more letdowns. The leaders on this team, myself included, need to make sure everyone understands how important every game is in the MLL,” Dixon said.
There are still limited openings for young girls to attend Thursday’s pre-game clinic, which will be staffed by Bayhawks players and numerous collegiate All-Americans. For $40, participants receive a ticket to that night’s Chesapeake-Toronto game along with a Bayhawks’ t-shirt.
Persons wishing to bid on the commemorative helmets being worn by the Chesapeake players can do so online at
www.thebayhawks.com. Tickets for Thursday night’s game start at $14 and are available and can be purchased through the team website or by calling 1-866-99-HAWKS.