P.E.I. box lacrosse teams excited about the sport's return to Canada Games

·3 min read
The first ever P.E.I. women's box lacrosse team will be taking part in the 2022 Canada Summer Games in Niagara, Ont. (Laura Meader/CBC - image credit)
The first ever P.E.I. women's box lacrosse team will be taking part in the 2022 Canada Summer Games in Niagara, Ont. (Laura Meader/CBC - image credit)

For the first time since 1985, box lacrosse will be part of the Canada Games, and for the first time ever, P.E.I. will send be sending a women's team.

Women's and men's box lacrosse are returning to the 2022 Canada Games as part of a pilot project connected to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action in the sport sector.

Lacrosse has been played by Indigenous people for thousands of years, according to the 2022 Canada Summer Games website.

Bringing the sport back into the games is seen as a major milestone.

Player Clare Bowie said it's exciting to be part of the return of box lacrosse to the Canada Games, and to be a member of P.E.I's first women's team.

"We're kind of setting the standard for the women to follow us ... I'm really glad I got to be a part of it."

Laura Meader/CBC
Laura Meader/CBC

Box lacrosse is similar to the field version, but it's played inside, usually in hockey rinks, off-season.

It's a fast and aggressive game, with five players on each side.

'Learning to love the sport'

Women's box lacrosse head coach Samantha Branstrom said she is of Métis heritage, and grew up playing the game, often on teams made up of men and women.

Branstrom said she jumped at the chance to help train P.E.I.'s first women's team.

"Everyone here is learning to love the sport and harbouring a good community spirit about the game," Branstrom said.

Laura Meader/CBC
Laura Meader/CBC


"So many kids play soccer, and so many kids play hockey, and lacrosse is that perfect in-between sport," she said.

There are no other women's teams on P.E.I. to play against but the women have competed against some other Maritime teams.

Assistant captain Brooklyn Riley said many of them are very new to the game so P.E.I. isn't expecting a lot of wins.

"I'm expecting that we're going to have to work super hard cause we're a smaller province and we had less options, but I think it's going to be a super good experience," said Riley.

Honoured to be part of it

P.E.I's men's team is also happy to see box lacrosse make a comeback.

Head coach Mitch Sanderson said in recent years a lot more people have been getting into the sport.

Sanderson began playing field lacrosse in New Brunswick when he was 10 years old and said he loves the sport. He said the P.E.I. Men's Box Lacrosse team is a special group.

"We're going to be a competitive team," said Sanderson.

He said in the past, P.E.I. had men's teams, and it's too bad it took so long to bring the sport back to the Canada Games.

"I'm personally very honoured to be part of this bringing back, I think it's going to be a real treat for people to see it on that stage," said Sanderson.

He said the year delay due to the pandemic has helped both teams practise the sport over a longer period of time.

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