An informal high school girls’ field lacrosse league in the Tri-Cities could be the first step in making it a recognized secondary school sport.
Todd Clerkson, principal of Heritage Woods Secondary in Port Moody and coach of the boys’ field lacrosse team, said numbers were lacking when he put the call for this year’s team, that plays a season from December to March under the direction of the BC Lacrosse Association.
But several girls did express interest.
That’s when Clerkson decided to try crafting a silk purse from a sow’s ear.
He contacted lacrosse coaches at other Fraser North schools to gauge interest in putting together several exhibition games.
Centennial, Terry Fox and New West secondary schools all got on board.
Clerkson was able to put together 14 girls for his own team.
The first game was played in mid-January between Centennial and Heritage Woods. The schedule is being assembled ad hoc, as teams are able to find mutual times to compete.
There’s no standings, but Clerkson said he hopes they’ll be able to organize a tournament to close out the season.
With girls’ field lacrosse growing at the club level, Clerkson said it makes sense to bring it into the high school realm.
“They love playing with their peers,” he said.
Heritage Woods senior Izzy Beech said, while she’s played box lacrosse for five years, she’d never tried the field game until she joined the Kodiaks’ inaugural effort.
She said it’s been a challenge learning the unique rules of girls field lacrosse that differ from the boys’ game:
- body contact is not allowed
- players wear eye guards but not helmets
- all sticks are the same length and the depth of their baskets is strictly regulated
- face-offs are done aloft rather than on the ground
Clerkson said for girls looking to parlay their box lacrosse acumen into post secondary field lacrosse opportunities down south, the more familiarity they have with the sport the better their chances of success.
“There’s more opportunity for them to showcase their talent,” he said.
Lola Langtry, a junior who’s played both box and field lacrosse in the Coquitlam Adanacs’ club program, said having the field game at Heritage Woods fills her with school pride.
“We get to show what girls lacrosse is like,” she said.
Clerkson said the informal structure of the league frees coaches to bring players in from neighbouring schools to fill out their rosters and create further opportunities for girls to play, hopefully generating interest to start more teams in coming years.
“It’s gaining momentum,” he said. “I feel like there’s potential there.”