Penticton Minor Lacrosse Association will be hosting a girls’ open drop-in event on April 10 and 12 at Memorial Arena in Penticton.
The association hopes to encourage girls to come out and give lacrosse a try. If enough show up, there are plans to try and go forward with establishing a girls team, or teams, in the Okanagan.
“There has always been a girls’ specific lacrosse league, but we’re trying to open a branch here in the Okanagan,” said Penticton Minor Lacrosse Association vice-president Penni King. “We’re going to invite girls from all over the Thompson-Okanagan, from Kamloops, Merritt, Shuswap, Kelowna, Vernon, all of them, to come (to Penticton). Then we’ll see, and if the numbers are right, we may be able to start up a sort of north and south opportunity. That will be the first step.”
The drop-in is open to all girls in the Okanagan and is free. The equipment for the days will be provided, but the girls will need to bring their own runners and water bottles. This is the first time the associations have worked in conjunction to push for girls from across the region to come together in hopes of establishing a separate girls’ team for box lacrosse.
Sue Kinna, a former executive of the B.C. Lacrosse Association for the women’s league, will be overseeing the drop in. Kinna’s daughter went through the league herself, playing on Team Canada for women’s field lacrosse, and currently plays for Northwestern University in the U.S.
The ultimate goal for the future, said Kinna, is to form enough teams in the Thompson-Okanagan region to create a league that can crown a champion and compete provincially.
“Right now we only have the numbers to support co-ed teams. We have around 15 to 20 girls in all the teams around the Okanagan right now, but a lot more have shown interest over the years. Vancouver Island did something similar a few years ago, and now they’re up to five teams, and they now compete against Vancouver too. Our hope is the same, to have teams in every minor association,” said Kinna.
Currently, there are only co-ed teams in the Okanagan, and Kinna said for many girls otherwise interested in playing box lacrosse, that is a dealbreaker.
“Box lacrosse specifically is a very aggressive sport, with a lot of contacts. It takes a certain type of girl to compete against a boy of the same age,” said King. “There a lot of girls who’ve shown interest over the years, but aren’t interested in playing against or with the boys. We hope that as more girls come out, the more they talk about it to their friends, and the more word of it spreads.”
The drop-in is open to girls of all ages and experience levels, and it will run from 5:45 to 7:15 p.m. on April 10 and 12 at Penticton’s Memorial Arena. Sign up is available at the Penticton Minor Lacrosse Association website, pmlaboxlacrosse.teamapp.com, under the events page.