Things are looking up for the Estevan Minor Box Lacrosse Association.
Estevan will have teams in four of the five age groups for minor lacrosse this year. There will be entries in tyke, novice, peewee and bantam, with midget being the only division not to field a squad.
Last year, there was a midget team and a novice/tyke team but none in between.
Association president Jody Harris said enrolment in the programs more than tripled this year.
She attributed the jump largely to the fact that several players went to five local schools to make presentations about the sport.
There are 17 players in tyke, 19 in novice, 17 in peewee and 10 in bantam. The tyke division could split into two teams if a few more registrations trickle in, which would allow for regular intra-squad games.
“We’ll be OK getting the flavour of games with that group,” said Harris. “There are lots of kids, so we can play half-floor games. They should get lots of lacrosse that way.”
The teams will not be playing in the Queen City Minor Box Lacrosse League this year because their registration was late. Harris said the association will be doing its own registration prior to city-wide next year to avoid that happening again.
The novice and tyke teams will play some home-and-home exhibition games with teams in Moose Jaw and possibly Regina.
Harris said it will be harder to arrange enough games for the higher divisions because the Regina teams usually aren’t interested in travelling outside the city.
She said she hopes some of the teams will come around because without playing games, it’s tough to develop players.
The coaches for the minor teams are Adam Laporte (bantam), Jim Ludwig (peewee), Colin Fogarty (novice) and Lucas Smyth (tyke).
About 12 people attended a coaching clinic held earlier this spring and Harris said the association needs to expand its executive and hire an equipment manager in order to keep growing.
“My role will be mentoring the coaches and making sure they have the resources and tools they need to get going,” she said.
Now that there are teams in four consecutive age divisions, the key for lacrosse in Estevan is to sustain its growth and ensure that players are able to move from one division to the next on a consistent basis.
“The biggest part is you gotta meet parents’ expectations and ensure that their child has fun,” said Harris.
“It is a tough line to please all the parents because some want to travel a lot and some don’t want to travel at all.”
She said the eventual goal is to have multiple teams in each division and have a local lacrosse league.
The venue that the teams will play in this year is still up in the air.
The association has been told that it would have to pay a fee of more than $1,700 to play at Spectra Place because the glass and netting are being removed until the end of June due to several events booked for the facility in May and June.
The Civic Auditorium is available, but Harris said the floor there isn’t level, so it may not be suitable.
The Lignite Miners Centre was the site of all games last year.