It was a fun time and a great learning experience at provincials for a pair of West Kootenay Minor Lacrosse Association (WKMLA) teams.
The WKMLA Midget team, which was coached by Grand Forks native Tom Frith and featured three Grand Forkers (Cavin Barwick, Cruz Tasker and Troy Frith), finished just outside the medal round.
“We fared very well,” said Frith. “We came one goal short of making the medal round. It was tied in the last minute and the other team scored to go up. We pulled our goalie and had several opportunities but couldn’t tie it up.”
Frith said the opportunity was fantastic and that the kids all had huge smiles after the weekend was done. The feeling of success was even better knowing the team had four players who had never played lacrosse before, said Frith.
“They just walked in as 15 year-olds and decided they wanted to try,” he said. “Two of those had never even played a team sport. They’d heard it was fun. We had such a strong core of players this year that gelled and came together like nothing I’ve ever seen. It was a real mixed bag of diverse kids with limited levels of experience but they just enjoyed it so much and worked so hard that they put in a good showing at that elite provincial level.”
The WKMLA bantam team also did very well at provincials, winning bronze, and featured a pair of Grand Forkers: Wyatt Barwick and Jared Frith.
Both provincial tournaments took place in the Lower Mainland in mid-July.
The WKMLA is a box lacrosse association with players from throughout the Kootenay/Boundary area including seven players from Grand Forks.
The league has divisions for boys and girls from ages four to 15. The teams practiced in Castlegar and played tournaments on the weekends.
In addition to being a coach, Frith also acted as chauffeur, transporting all seven Grand Forks players to Castlegar four times a week for different practices.
“As lacrosse is not very big in the Kootenays, we have no other teams to play regular season games against and are a tournament-only team,” said Frith. He added that lacrosse is popular in many other parts of the province and throughout Canada.
“Lacrosse is a fantastic sport for conditioning and teaches discipline as it is a very physical game,” he said. “It is an excellent form of cross training for kids involved in other sports.”