Kids in Sooke are more than anxious to play Canada's other national sport

Looking into a lacrosse facility

  • Wed Apr 20th, 2011 12:00pm
  • Sports

Lacrosse is a Canadian staple – highly touted as our true national sport.  But, as is the case with curling, there is no dedicated venue for lacrosse in the District of Sooke. There are energetic folks, however, trying to change that.

District councillor Bev Berger is working with local resident Paul Homer to raise the awareness of how well-used a local lacrosse box would likely be… if we only had one.

It was some weeks back, still in the winter-time when Homer put in a call to the Sooke News Mirror. He mentioned there was nothing concrete to report, just a heads-up that efforts toward accommodating the sport were underway.

At this point there may still be nothing firmed up, but it’s getting there.

“The bottom line is to provide options for kids,” said Homer who added that although this initiative involves a particular sport – all sports offer valuable benefits to youth.

Hockey rinks work well for lacrosse and the seasons work out well also, with lacrosse being basically a summer sport. The local SEAPARC arena, in fact, has been fairly heavily booked for Juan de Fuca Lacrosse league games over the past several years.

But the appeal of a dedicated outdoor lacrosse box just can’t be denied, and if Sooke can end up getting one it would be an integral step in forming a lacrosse program of its own. A growing number of local kids play the sport and must make a lot of round trips to Colwood to do so. 

Christine Mavin is the president of the Juan de Fuca Lacrosse Association, and was contacted last week for some related information.

“We currently have 486 kids that play lacrosse with JDF, we are the largest association on the Island and continue to grow every year,” said the JDFLA’s top executive.

Mavin says there are about 60 kids from Sooke in the JDF organization. With 32 teams and their current infrastructure they’re almost at the point where they’re turning kids away. 

“If the numbers continue to grow in our younger divisions as they have over the last several years it will be difficult to grow the sport without more places for the kids to play,” said Mavin.

“We have seen steady growth and would love to continue the growth of the sport for this area.  We just need a place to play that is not going to cost us a fortune to use.”

In the overall scheme of things a lacrosse program in Sooke would be of obvious benefit, especially with ready-made competition as close by as the West Shore. But the idea of removing the commute required by 60 (a number likely to rise) young athletes.    

The effort to promote a local box picked up some momentum when Homer sought out the councillor and they put their heads together.

“We both have kids who play lacrosse and we both were passionate about getting something going,” said Berger last week. 

“He and I sort of went together and pitched the idea around. We actually had a meeting with the Sooke School Board because Paul had heard there may possibly be some land available.”

The area in question is located between Journey and Poirier schools, a site Berger feels would be ideal.

Conceding that the process is at the very early stages, the councillor did express optimism and has positive developments to relate.

“The school board is willing to dedicate some land but we don’t have any agreement yet,” she related. 

“So Paul and I went to SEAPARC next and we both pitched the idea there, too. Like I said, it’s at the early stages. It looks like it could become a possibility but we don’t have anything nailed down yet.”

With a box tailor-made for lacrosse (not to mention ball hockey) right in the vicinity of Art Morris Park, the Sk8 park and the golf course it’s exciting to imagine the increased vitality that would come to the community. 

Paul Homer says he’s heard from a ball-hockey community that is “chafing at the bit,” and school principals who see the benefits of a box. He said the sport of soccer could also be accommodated for practice purposes, especially when local fields are as saturated as they so often are.

As pointed out, the process of lining up a lacrosse box for Sooke is in the early stages but it’s a tantalizing prospect. Stay tuned for more developments in that process as they become available.   

Councillor Berger revealed an attractive bargaining chip in closing a recent conversation on the topic:

“I’ve been in touch with the Sooke Builders’ Association as well,” she said, “and they’ve offered all the volunteer hours to build it.

“So Paul and I are going to keep on truckin’ and hope we get ‘er built.”