By Keith Lacey
After an absence of more than 25 years, minor lacrosse is making a comeback in Sudbury.
The Sudbury Lacrosse Association has been formed and will run a league for players - both girls and boys - from ages five to 16 beginning April 16 and running for nine weeks until late June.
The league is the brainchild of Russ Farnel, a veteran Sudbury minor hockey volunteer and manager of the Cara Nickel Capitals in the Great North Midget Hockey League for the past 15 years.
Maurice Levac has been hired to help promote the league and get players signed up.
Levac, who played some minor lacrosse as a teenager back in the 1970s, said the huge success of the National Lacross League NLL, particularly the Toronto Rock franchise, has resulted in a minor lacrosse boom across the country and the time is right to bring the game back to Sudbury youngsters.
"Minor lacrosse is making a major comeback in southern Ontario and the northeast United States," he said. "Because of the success of the pro league, kids are becoming interested in the sport once again."
Minor soccer has grown in leaps and bounds across Canada because it's inexpensive, provides great fitness and recreation opportunities and it's fun to play and all of the above apply to lacrosse, said Levac.
You need some protective equipment, running shoes and a lacrosse stick, but the costs to play the game aren't nearly as exorbitant as they are in minor hockey; the game is fast-paced and exciting and it can help young hockey players stay fit and improve their eye/hand co-ordination, said Levac.
The new Sudbury Lacrosse Association hopes to attract as many as 200 players with a goal of getting a minimum of three teams in each age division.
The first two or three weeks will have coaches introducing the basics of the game during practice, but eventually full games will be played.
The cost for 11 weeks of lacrosse, which will feature two one-hour sessions for each player every week, will be $90.
Because the game hasn't been played in Sudbury at any level for a quarter-century, it mean all players "will be starting at the same level playing ground" and the game and league can progress without elitism as most players will be starting from scratch, said Levac.
All games and practices will be played at one Sudbury arena, but a second rink is available if registration numbers are higher than expected.
Registration is set for next Tuesday (April 2) from noon until 9 pm at Skater's Edge on Lasalle Boulevard.
A second registration date takes place Wednesday, April 3 from noon until 9 pm at Mike's Sport on Church Street in Garson (across from the Garson Arena).
A third registration date is set for Thursday, April 4 at Kings Sportwear in Val Caron between 4 and 8 pm.
Anyone interested in registering should phone Farnel at 677-7037 or Lori Currie at 858-3638.