A trio of Penticton Minor Lacrosse Association players got exposed to high level play in the All Canada Games.
Kale Lawrence, Connor Ramage and Aidan Danby joined the Thompson Okanagan Selects in Toronto at the end of June, where more than 400 of the top student athletes in Canada showcased themselves over three days in front of 70 National Collegiate Athletic Association coaches.
Along with playing in six games, there was a team practice working with a guest NCAA coach, divisional all-star games and a recruiting seminar.
The trio performed well enough to earn spots to play in the all-star game, which took the top 40 players. They were all also contacted by email from interested coaches.
“It was quite a great opportunity playing against all the top kids in Canada,” said Ramage, a defender for the Selects. “I had a blast. It was great playing with all my friends. All the top kids in the Okanagan getting to go and play together was quite an experience.”
Ramage, who recently finished his first season in goal with the Okanagan Wild Inter A team, saw how good the players are and it pushed him to play his best.
“You’re always going against someone challenging, which made it fun,” he said.
Ramage was challenged each time he was in a situation to defend against an opponent, but that’s the way he wants it. Pushing himself helped him get better, and he was also contacted by a few interested coaches. He said being at the All Canada Games was a great way to kick off the field season, which starts in September.
Danby thrived in that environment as it made him want to play better and show the coaches his skills. He feels he got better from playing the six games while there.
“I felt I was able to step it up. If you didn’t play well, you didn’t look good out there,” said Danby, who loved the high pace of the all-star game. “You are going to get beat a lot.”
Lawrence, who also played for the Wild, said the tournament everything a player could want. He said the intensity of the games made for great lacrosse.
“Lacrosse is so big in Ontario, the level and quickness they play at is on a different level,” he said. “Here in the Okanagan, it’s not huge. It’s kind of like always second to hockey.”
Lawrence also learned what the coaches are looking for in players, such as team players and not being selfish. The athlete being able to play their respective position is also key. The players were also watched off the field as the coaches wanted to get a sense of the person they are while interacting with others.
When it came to his own performance, Lawrence said he played pretty good. Lawrence, who put up 27 goals and added 42 assists in 20 games with the Wild, said the skill level of players at the All Canada Games was relatively even.