This summer marks Lacoka Lacrosse’s inaugural field lacrosse season.
Mike Wood, coach coordinator for Lacoka Lacrosse, was instrumental in bringing field lacrosse to Lacoka.
Wood said that his interest was sparked by a winter program in Red Deer his children participated in through which they got to play in Las Vegas.
He said that he was somewhat shocked that Lacoka’s program has seen so much support running during the summer, when there are so many other things going on as well.
“The turnout has been phenomenal,” said Wood. “I’m a little surprised at the turnout.”
Wood said that playing field lacrosse as well as indoor lacrosse, more commonly known as box lacrosse, gives players more time to work on their skills.
He added that in his experience coaches and box lacrosse players have their skills refined by playing field lacrosse, even though the games are slightly different.
“It’s more open space, so they have more room to make moves,” said Wood. “It helps so much.”
Between the novice, peewee and midget teams, there are 40 players registered for field lacrosse.
Many of the new Gators field lacrosse players have played box lacrosse as well, but Wood said there are a few who are only playing field and loving it.
For a time while he was getting the ball rolling on the new field lacrosse season, Wood was worried that financial problems would prevent the program off the ground, he said.
Luckily, Gator Energy stepped up to sponsor the team. Hence the team name, the Lacoka Gators.
Time is the difference between field lacrosse and box lacrosse, said Wood.
In box lacrosse, the game is played with a 30-second shot clock. In field lacrosse, there is no shot clock and players can take as long as they want to make their plays.
For now, Lacoka’s field lacrosse program is limited to the summer months.
In the future, Wood would like to see the program expand so that it too could have a winter program, he said.
He added that the club would rent space in gymnasiums and possibly the Abbey Master Builder Centre in Blackfalds once it is completed to continue playing once the weather turns cold.
There is no league in Alberta for field lacrosse, said Wood. Instead, teams participate in a variety of field days where they play two or three games in a day.
Lacoka has already participated in two field days, one in Red Deer and another in Okotoks.
Wood said the club is also trying to host an event for Aug. 10, but he isn’t sure if it will actually happen at this point in time.