In May 2001, Drew Malcom moved from Minneapolis to Verona to live with his cousin, rising high school freshman Brett Schnirring. Drew had played for a high school club team in Minnesota and brought his crosse with him to Verona. Brett became quite inquisitive about the game of lacrosse. He bought sticks and invited his friends to play catch with him. The interest was contagious, and that summer 14 soon-to-be freshmen boys started practicing together.
Mark King, video coordinator for UW Badger hockey team, who had played lacrosse at Marquette, found out about the boys’ practices and volunteered to coach them. He held twice-weekly practices that summer, working on the most basic skills.
In late August Bill Glenn, parent of twins in the team of boys, arranged a “tournament” with “teams” from Verona, Superior, Madison Memorial and Milwaukee. When the weekend arrived, only Verona and Superior fielded teams at Verona’s Badger Prairie Park. Superior’s boys beat the Verona boys 6-3 on Saturday and 4-1 on Sunday. Sid Flanders and Bruce Kahn presided over the games as referees.
The boys’ enthusiasm for the game grew tremendously from that experience. They pressured Bill Glenn to form a league of teams in the Madison area to play. Bill used his contacts in the youth hockey organizations, plus Mark King’s contacts at UW to generate enough interest to field eight high school boys teams in the spring 2002 season. Bill helped find coaches, fields, and players. His wife Deb Glenn formed the Madison Area Lacrosse Association (MALA) to govern the league. Ken Bice recruited and scheduled the referees.
In the 2003 season, the Madison league grew from 8 to 11 teams. In 2004, the conference split into 8 varsity and 4 JV teams and today is still adding teams.
In 2008, the league anticipated future growth and decided to split the league into two divisions: Red and White with five schools in each division.
The league has since expanded out of the Madison area to include teams from as far away as La Crosse and Watertown, and in 2017 the Madison Area Lacrosse Association board of directors voted to change the league name to Badgerland Lacrosse.