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National Lacrosse League: The Low Down On The Alterna Cup

By Kyle Bennett

With the return to play finally here for the National Lacrosse League, there are tons of new fans flocking to the sports of lacrosse. The action the NLL brings is second to none, and that includes an in-season tournament between all the Canadian based teams known as the Alterna Cup. Here are some things to know about the Alterna Cup and if your favorite team is eligible to hoist this hardware at the end of the season.

What is the Alterna Cup?

The Alterna Cup is an in-season tournament between the Canadian-based teams in the National Lacrosse League. Throughout the season there will be 16 games that count towards the Alterna Cup standings for 2021-22. With the help of Alterna, the official banking partner of the NLL in Canada, the NLL has created a one-of-a-kind trophy that will be awarded to the winning team at the end of the regular season. The trophy features the famed Canadian Maple Leaf as the focal point.

Who competes for the Alterna Cup?

The Alterna Cup is up for grabs between the five Canadian NLL franchises, the Halifax Thunderbirds, Saskatchewan Rush, Vancouver Warriors, Calgary Roughnecks, and Toronto Rock. Whenever two of these teams face off during the regular season, it counts towards the Alterna Cup standings, as well as the team's overall record for the NLL postseason. The matchups between a Canadian team and a team based in the United States do not count towards the Alterna Cup standings.

How are the Alterna Cup standings calculated?

The Alterna Cup Standings are based on win percentage during these specific matchups between the five teams from Canada. Obviously there are situations where two or more teams can be tied in the standings based on win percentage, so there are a number of tie breakers created by the National Lacrosse League. The tiebreakers for the Cup are as follows and in order of how they will be implemented to determine a winner:

- Head to head results

- Goal differential between the tied teams

- Goal differential between the tied teams in Alterna Cup games

- Overall NLL record

- Overall NLL season goal differentials

Has any franchise won the Alterna Cup previously?

No! Due to the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down the inaugural season of the Alterna Cup in 2019-20, there was never a winner crowned for the Alterna Cup. 2021-22 will be the first time in league history an Alterna Cup champion is crowned.

Hopefully this answers any questions you have about the Alterna Cup and how it comes into play during the NLL season. If your favorite team resides in Canada, may the odds be ever in your favor. Be sure to follow Outside The Box on Twitter for all the up to date info on the Alterna Cup and the National Lacrosse League!

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