Local lacrosse team finds success, hopes to restart camps

·2 min read

STRATHROY - A young minor lacrosse organization in Strathroy will likely be benched again this summer as the pandemic stretches on.

Formed in 2019, the association ran an incredibly successful first season, says Executive President Jon Balzer. They had 150 kids register across two competitive teams and 14 house league teams, many of which found success in their seasons. The inaugural year contained many highlights for the association, and was topped off with a provincial championship for the Women’s Intermediate team (17-21 age range) in Whitby. An unprecedented win, the team drew players from Strathroy and surrounding areas, including the nearby Chippewas of the Thames, Muncey-Delaware, and Oneida First Nations.

The niche sport continues to gain popularity. In 2020, registration numbers in Strathroy were up by an additional 30 kids before the season was inevitably cancelled.

One challenge is that the association plays box lacrosse, which takes place indoors. This means tougher restrictions than minor soccer or baseball may face. The game also relies heavily on contact - setting picks and cross-checking are integral to the game.

Registration for the 2021 season likely will not open until the Screaming Eagles Executive can be certain of what is allowed, says Balzar. He does not want to trouble everyone with fee refunds like last year. In the best-case scenario, Balzar hopes that they will be able to hold skills training and house games within the association itself. He notes that Brandon Slade, a professional lacrosse player with the Toronto Rock, is putting together some skills camps and hopes that they can be brought to Strathroy, if public health allows.

In minor lacrosse there is no league per-se - teams are ranked based on game results. The Strathroy Screaming Eagles fall into Ontario Lacrosse “Zone 7” with teams in London, Sarnia, Wallaceburg, and Windsor.

McKinley Leonard-Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Middlesex Banner