Sackville lacrosse players set for new season of Canada’s national sport


Published on April 12, 2017

Local lacrosse players are ready to suit up for a new season.

© PHOTO SUBMITTED

SACKVILLE, N.B. – Canada’s national sport is alive and well in Sackville, and roughly 70 young athletes will soon be strutting their stuff on the concrete of the Tantramar Veterans Memorial Civic Centre.

Sackville Lacrosse Association president Chris Purdy says 55 athletes registered early and he anticipates the number will rise to at least 70 when the leagues swing into action this weekend.

In addition, the association anticipates sponsoring a Tantramar team in a high school league recently established in Moncton.

There will be six age levels provided floor time during the 11-week schedule. Miki tykes, aged 5-6, and tykes, aged 7-8, will receive plenty of instruction in the basic fundamentals and will be on the floor at the same time.

Novice (9-10), peewee (11-12), bantam (13-14) and midget (15-16) will all be involved in the Codiac competitive league with teams from the Moncton area.

John Higham helped resurrect lacrosse in the Sackville area.

Each team will be on the floor three times each week – one practice along with one home game and one in Moncton. Home games will take place on Wednesday evenings and the away games will be played on Thursdays.

The game of lacrosse was designed hundreds of years ago by Native Americans and flowed into Canada as stickball. The current style of game evolved in the 1930s and is now played at universities and professionally, as well as the high school and minor levels.

Most games are played in the box style – that is in an indoor setting – but the field form is fast evolving and that is likely where the local high school competitions will occur.

Lacrosse has flourished from time to time in this area, hitting a high in he 1970s under the guidance of Doug Strandberg. 

It was dominated by high school hockey and football players, and Sackville actually represented the province in national play.

After fading from the scene the game was revived through the work of Eric Sloan and Kevin Estabrooks. More recently, John Higham picked up he mantle and it continues to flourish under the leadership of Purdy, vice-president Randy Cadman, past president John Higham, secretary/treasurer Robert Wells and Andy Phinney.

The four teams in the Codiac League qualify to attend a major tournament in Saint John if they wish.

The group’s $10,000 budget provides each player with insurance coverage and covers such costs as officiating and floor rental, which is the biggest item. Registration fees have been maintained at a minimum, with a reduction for early sign up.

A special clinic will be held in Moncton early in the season.

Purdy says coaches have been assigned for all teams, adding that a special clinic for these people will be conducted by professional player Colin Doyle.

Cadman has been named referee-in-chief, succeeding Colin Estabrooks who filled the position for several years.

In Sackville, lacrosse serves as the transition game between the end of the season for hockey and basketball and prior to the start of soccer and baseball. It allows local youth the chance to maintain conditioning as they participate in activities throughout the entire 12 months.

For those who are unfamiliar with the game, it is suggested a visit to the civic centre any Wednesday evening could prove to be an eye-opener and could become addictive.