By CHARLES TWEED
The Lacoka Lacrosse Association (LLA) will welcome the addition of a junior B, tier 3 team, for the upcoming 2011 season.
The Lacoka Locos will join 13 other teams playing in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League — Olds, Rockyview, Strathmore, Okotoks, High River, Brooks, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Crowsnest Pass and four teams from Calgary.
“When we first formed an association we had a contest amongst all the kids who are registered and came up with Lacoka, which combines Lacombe and Ponoka; and Locos, putting a spin on where we live and the fact you need to be a little crazy at times to play this game,” said Wes Amendt, public relations director for the LLA.
The team will play a 14-game schedule — seven home and seven road games — between April 26 and July 10.
Getting coaches in place is still an area that is “a work in progress” according to Amendt, who may take the reins himself and step behind the bench. Unfortunately that move may create a ripple effect, as Amendt is one of the few senior officials in the area.
The new junior B team will join minor teams already playing and practicing out of Lacombe and Ponoka arenas. The program is open to players between the ages of 17 and 21 and all interested players are invited to register on Jan. 26 at 6:30 p.m. in the Lacombe arena or during the second registration meeting held a the Ponoka arena on Feb. 2 at 7 p.m.
The team should give many of the graduating midget players in the area a place to play close to home.
“We’ve talked to all of our midget graduates, from 2006 on, that would still be eligible and we’ve got commitment from about 13 kids, and there’s some still on the fence depending on where life and school takes them — and there’s always the possibility of getting some recruits out of Red Deer.”
The LLA will enter its eighth year as a member of the Alberta Lacrosse Association. As in the past seven years the Lacoka Locos will participate in the Central Alberta Lacrosse League along with teams from Red Deer, Olds, Didsbury, Kneehill, Innisfail, Drumheller, Blackfalds and Hobbema. League play runs April, May and June with playoffs to determine league champions and provincial representatives.
League play will provide instruction for new players and promote skill development with an emphasis on fair play, teamwork and fun. Teams play or practice twice a week using local facilities in Ponoka, Lacombe and area.
The LLA offers programs from minityke (four to five-year-old) to midget (15 to 16-year-old) and now the junior team. The program offers the opportunity for kids of all ages to build self-esteem, get and keep physically fit, develop their eye-hand coordination, be part of a team and play Canada’s national summer sport, lacrosse.
As for what people can expect from the new brand of lacrosse in the Ponoka area, “They’re gonna see some tough, aggressive play, some quick ball movement, and of course, hard hitting action,” added Amendt.
For more information about the junior team or to sponsor a club in the Lacoka Lacrosse program, call 783-5486.