It was only days between the last skate leaving the ice and the first shoe hitting the floor at the Ponoka Culture and Recreation Complex.
The Lacoka Locos Lacrosse Association (LLA) has been waiting for a couple weeks and finally had several teams get in some practice this past Sunday in Ponoka, as the regular season is set to start this coming weekend with the Eye Opener tournament in Red Deer.
“All of our teams took the floor for their first official practice on April 8,” explained Angela Nygaard, LLA president.
“We are super excited for the season this year, with the first games in Red Deer April 13 to 15 and the season ending on the second weekend in July.”
Nygaard added the association hopes to improve upon the success LLA experienced last year.
“Last season was a great year for the Locos, with both our peewee and midget teams winning their respective league championship divisions,” she said. “Both teams then went to Lethbridge to participate in provincials with both clubs coming back with a bronze medal.”
The Locos will have nine teams this season, with Nygaard noting the LLA is continuing its upward trend in player registrations.
“We are one association in Alberta that continually shows growth in our numbers, with our registrations up 18 players from last year,” she stated.
Those players are almost equally dispersed between the various divisions, though it seems lacrosse is maintaining its numbers in peewee, bantam and midget — with numbers ranging between 17 and 22 players — while the sport is gaining traction in the lower categories with numbers from eight to 19 players.
And while Lacombe and Ponoka — contributing 87 and 33 players respectively — are the main drivers for the LLA, there is representation from across central Alberta and Nygaard hopes this move will continue to grow in the future. There are several players from Maskwacis, Bashaw, Bentley, Blackfalds, Rimbey, Stettler, Wetaskiwin and Alix on various LLA clubs.
Nygaard hopes that one of the chronic shortages in lacrosse — officials — will start to be filled via a clinic this Saturday (April 14) in Lacombe. Anyone interested can go to the Alberta Lacrosse Referee Association website (www.albertalacrosserefs.com) to register or to see dates of other available clinics in the province.
More information about the LLA, including schedules and results, is available by going to www.lacokalacrosse.com.