Lacrosse days a ‘crazy success,’ says president

The Stettler Recreation Centre was swarming with young lacrosse players on Saturday and Sunday, May 10-11

The Stettler Recreation Centre was swarming with young lacrosse players on Saturday and Sunday, May 10-11, for the first Lacrosse Days event in Stettler.

On Saturday, about 350 people packed the arena, of which 250 were mini-tyke aged players of the traditional First Nations sport.

President Kim Smyth donned netminder gear and stepped onto the floor during a fundraiser on Saturday, letting people take shots on net for a toonie. While the event raised about $100, the ball very rarely got past Smyth – or even to the net at all.

“You hear parents on the sidelines, yelling ‘Shoot the ball!’ and this gives them a chance to see it’s not easy,” Smyth explained. Some people had the ball fall out of the stick when they leaned it back to take a shot, while others lost it during the swing, sending the small rubber bar straight up to the ceiling.

“It really gives parents and fans a chance to see how difficult it is to master something as simple as shooting the ball,” she said.

On Sunday, older kids took to the floor, as players in the peewee, bantam and midget leagues all played Sunday, with only Bantam 1 playing out of town.

The only team to rack a win was Bantam 2, which won its game against Kneehill 8-3. Bantam 1 lost its game to Sylvan Lake 11-1, a repeat of the previous’ day’s loss to Red Deer 2, also 11-1. Midget crossed sticks with Innisfail and were defeated 10-2, and Lacoka – a team made of kids from Lacombe and Ponoka – bested the peewees 12-4.

Despite the losses, Smyth said the Stettler Thunder are doing well this season.

“We’re improving every game we play,” she said. “The scores don’t show how good the players are playing.”

As the league ages and both coaches and players gain more experience with the sport, the league will only strengthen, making the Thunder a group of teams to be reckoned with, she said.