With the snow outside starting to melt, Scarborough’s many young hockey players are looking for something to keep them active and their skill levels high. For many the answer is lacrosse, made possible by The Scarborough Stars Lacrosse Association.
The Scarborough Stars Lacrosse Association is a not-for-profit group that promotes lacrosse throughout the Scarborough community.
“It started out small in 2001 as a group effort to have a better program for our kids,
and today the program serves close to 600 players in both boys and girls divisions of various ages,” says Ron Parkinson, the league’s president.
The association also exposes lacrosse to different cultural communities, such as Asian and South-Asian communities that might know about hockey or soccer but haven’t been exposed to lacrosse.
Lacrosse was first played by Canada’s First Nations people and is a sport that has similar principles to modern-day hockey. Much of the equipment is the same, but the stick is netted at the end to allow for the handling of the ball and the game is played on a field rather than ice. There are two types of lacrosse: field and box. Box lacrosse is played indoors on an artificial surface.
“This sport is known for being the fastest sport on two feet,” Jim Calder said, vice president of girls lacrosse for the Stars. He has been involved with the sport as a player, volunteer, and proud parent of a player for the last 40 years.
“Many great players like Wayne Gretzky played lacrosse and use lacrosse as training during the summer months because of its closeness to hockey.”
Lori Boudreau-Evans heard about the Stars through word-of-mouth in the community. She registered her son Aiden to be a part of the program as a means of keeping him busy during the hockey off-season. Boudreau-Evans has seen the positive influence it has been in Aiden’s life after six years of building self-esteem, and providing Aiden with the opportunity to meet and interact with new people.
“There is nothing like seeing your child’s first goal,” said Boudreau-Evans. “It is really a great sport to try.”
Aiden Evans, 14, explains he is looking to the future because he sees opportunities for him as a lacrosse player.
“I like hockey, but lacrosse is a good compliment,” says Evans. “There are a lot of scholarship opportunities both here and in the States.”
The Stars girls division has seen a lot of success as well, with its midget girls bringing home championships in regional and provincial tournaments over the last two years. Currently, three members of the stars — Hayley Cowls, Geneva Calder, and Caitlin Gourley — have qualified to try out for the provincial women’s lacrosse team.
For parents who are concern about the cost of equipping their children for another sport, it might be cheaper than you think.
“If your child is already playing hockey, most of the equipment is interchangeable between the two sports,” says Calder. “Depending on situation, it could cost you as little as $50 to $70 to get started with a helmet and stick.”
The Stars regular season runs April through June, with championships in July. Their games are open to the public. They also have free lacrosse clinics open to the community at their home arena McGregor Park, 2231 Lawrence Ave. E., between Kennedy and Birchmount.
For more information about the Stars and the dates for registration, open clinics, and games, visit their website www.starslacrosse.com
For more information on the The Scarborough Stars Lacrosse Association visit: www.starslacrosse.com