Recently, The Lacrosse Magazine a publication by US Lacrosse had awarded “Person of the Year” to Mr. Tom Hayes, the FIL Director of Lacrosse Development and the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame. Tom had been one of the pillar in the growth of lacrosse globally, after his distinguish lacrosse career in the States. International lacrosse would look very different had it not been for Tom Hayes tireless effort in spreading the game around the world, and laying foundation for the sport’s next pinnacle: The Olympics. This year, through his hard work Tom was able to get the FIL (Federation of International Lacrosse) to be accepted into the SportAccord. Which was a monumental task, on the road to getting the sport of lacrosse becoming an Olympic sport. Tom had been instrumental in getting Thailand Lacrosse up, and running, planting the seed here as far back as 1974 (Even before I was born). When Tom and the U.S. National team stop by Thailand for a demonstration game in Bangkok, which Tom kept the newspaper article (see below) of it and gave it to me 30 years later upon his visit to Thailand last year for the FIL Official Clinic.
Tom set the golden standard of growth, and does not yield to those who tried to weasel their way into having a “international team” without any plans to develop lacrosse in that nation. As the membership to SportAccord, one of the toughest sport organization to be a part of is the testament to that. Yet he reaches out to help those who really needed, and determine to grow the sport in the new countries. Most of the nations we have playing lacrosse today, may not have lacrosse at all had it not been because of Tom. I respect Tom as a man, his vision, his hopes and dreams for lacrosse. As I look to him for guidance, and continue to pay it forward with other nations as he did for us many years ago. So on behalf of Thailand Lacrosse family, and all the game growers here at LAS we congratulate you Mr. Hayes!