Toronto may be in its name, but the Toronto Beaches Junior A lacrosse club has a Scarborough connection.
Located on the boundaries of Scarborough and East York Beaches, the club wants to reach out to everyone in the surrounding community.
After new management took over the team one year ago, the club has been striving to reach out to the strong lacrosse roots across Toronto.
Jack Wilkinson, Toronto businessman and lacrosse fanatic, has taken over the club and organized the overhaul.
“Beaches Jr. A has a lot of history in this area and across Toronto,” he said. “In past years, the team has lost its connection with the community and we just want to get the club back to the glory days.”
Last season, the new management and coaching staff helped the club improve dramatically both on the floor and in attracting the community to attend games. This season, the club is trying a new method to grow the fan base even more.
“We are trying something new this year when it comes to bringing in more people to our games,” Wilkinson said. “We have printed up 8,000 season tickets and we are giving them out to all the minor lacrosse organizations in the city.”
Beaches Jr. A distributed a season ticket to every minor lacrosse player from the three minor lacrosse leagues in Toronto.
Among these leagues is the Scarborough-based Toronto Stars. Working with the Stars organization, each team was given Beaches Jr. A envelopes with a letter from management and two season tickets.
“The response from the minor organizations has been amazing,” said Wilkinson. “We are hoping to create a real buzz in the community and fill the arena.”
A conflict may arise if everyone with a season ticket shows up to Ted Reeve Arena, which has a capacity of 1,200, but the club will welcome the chance to pack the building and think of ways to accommodate a vast amount of fans.
Wilkinson hopes that, by giving tickets away and getting the community involved, attendance will go up and the club will have stability.
“We are a non-profit organization, so we need funds from sponsors and game day sales. We are trying to build financial stability so that the team will be easy for anyone to run it going forward.”
With the home opener on May 13, the Beaches Jr. A will soon find out if their new model will re-connect them to the lacrosse community.