Momentum is picking up for Mid Island Field Lacrosse.
Since the end of the box lacrosse season, the Mid Island Lightning have been holding weekly drop-in sessions at the Cowichan Sportsplex, and turnout has been fantastic. Organizers are hoping that translates into unprecedented success when the season starts.
“The numbers have been phenomenal,” said Mid Island head coach Bill Sanderson. “And we want to ride that wave.”
It’s possible that the Lightning could have teams in four, five, or even more, age levels this year, something that hasn’t happened as long as Sanderson has been involved.
“We’ve only ever had two or three age groups,” he said.
The U13 and U11 boys age groups have been particularly strong at drop-in, and interest seems to be high in the U15 and U18 levels as well. The Lightning are also putting together a U12 girls team for the first time. U9 and U7 teams are possibilities too.
“Based on the drop-ins, interest is highest for the younger groups,” Sanderson said.
Three more drop-in sessions are scheduled: Aug. 15, 22 and 29, at the Cowichan Sportsplex from 7-8:30 p.m. In-person registration will take place at the Aug. 15 session, but players can also register online at midislandlacrosse.com
“We could definitely use a few more U18s,” Sanderson noted. “I know they’re focused on things like school, but the schedule isn’t as demanding.”
Sanderson has coached both box and field lacrosse, but he believes field is a better way to bring new players into the sport.
“Field lacrosse is a better introduction into lacrosse,” he said. “Some parents are afraid of box lacrosse because they think it’s too rough. There’s no cross-checking in field. It’s a good way for kids to see if they like it or not.”
The regular season runs from September to December, with playoffs in January and provincial championships in February. Games are on Saturday or Sunday, with practices on Tuesday and Thursday.
It doesn’t matter if a player has previous experience or not.
“We have lots of coaches out there who have been coaching for 10 to 20 years,” Sanderson said. “Naomi [Walser], who coaches the girls, has played on the national team. Players will have all the support they need to play the fastest game on two feet.”