Lacoka Locos host thrilling provincials

For a second year in a row Lacoka Lacrosse hosted provincials in both Lacombe and Ponoka.

Lacoka’s Matthew Stegmaier makes a pass during lacrosse bantam provincials in Lacombe Sports July 13.

Lacoka’s Matthew Stegmaier makes a pass during lacrosse bantam provincials in Lacombe Sports July 13.

For a second year in a row Lacoka Lacrosse hosted provincials in both Lacombe and Ponoka. Twenty-three teams around Alberta converged on the two towns try to become provincial champions in their division.

The experience of hosting a second year in a row gave organizers a better understanding of what to expect, said Julie Barnes, president of the Lacoka Lacrosse. Players had a chance to compete in a higher calibre of lacrosse than they are used to and parents stepped up to ensure things went well for players. “This year our parent group was amazing.”

More volunteers came to help out with raffle tables at both locations and vendors provided service at both towns as well. Four levels of competition came to provincials: midget, novice, bantam and peewee. There were 10 people on the organizing committee who spent countless hours planning for provincials since the beginning of April. “It’s been a real team effort.”

There was even a team that suffered from recent floods in southern Alberta.

“The cool thing that we had going on was we had a team from High River,” said Barnes.

A call for donations was given and $350 was raised to support the team that had uniforms and other equipment lost to the floods. Lacoka Lacrosse matched the donations increasing the total donation to $700.

Barnes enjoys the camaraderie that comes with having two neighbouring towns with one sports organization. This has helped kids come together after being hardy rivals in other sports.

“They bump gloves in hockey and (say) ‘Hey, how’s it going,’” she explained. “They have a lot of respect for each other.”

Organizers also learned some valuable lessons from last year; a referee ended up officiating a game his son was in. This year the group planned for such an event and this type of conflict did not occur.

With 23 teams come parents and other family members.

“There was lots of traffic and hopefully lots of support of our community,” said Barnes. “We’re hoping that people did stay and enjoy our parks and our communities.”

The Lacoka teams had some tough competition this year with only the bantam team earning themselves a bronze medal. “They were very close games that they played.”

“The kids have fun and if they make it to the higher level that’s great but the ultimate goal is to have fun,” she said.

With two provincial tournaments under their belt, Lacoka Lacrosse has not closed the door on the possibility of a third, but Barnes says the board has to consider all the possibilities and will have the final decision.

“We had a really good season and we look forward to next year,” she added.

Lacrosse winners

Novice

Gold – Sherwood Park Titans

Silver – Calgary Sabrecats

Bronze – Red Deer Chiefs

Peewee

Gold – Red Deer Chiefs

Silver – Lethbridge Rattlers

Bronze – Wainwright Wolfpack

Bantam

Gold – Vermilion Roar

Silver – Innisfail Phantoms

Bronze – Lacoka Locos

Midget

Gold – Lakeland Heat

Silver – Innisfail Phantoms

Bronze – Calgary Hornets