The Kinsmen Arena was packed and rowdy all Sunday long as the Cranbrook Lacrosse Association hosted its season-opening Ice Breaker LacrosseFest.
From tyke through midget, athletes of all ages took part in the box lacrosse festival at Kinsmen Arena, with teams from the Elk Valley and West Kootenay visiting to take part in a competitive day of action.
“It was awesome, it was absolutely crazy,” said Kath Backshell-Jones, president of the Cranbrook Lacrosse Association, Monday afternoon. “The arena was full from 8:30 in the morning right through to 6:30 at night. I’ve never seen it so busy in there.
“It was absolutely amazing to see the kids step back out on the floor. You could see by the looks on their faces they were desperate to do it. For those kids who had never played any games before, it was a real eye-opener and coaches certainly felt they learned a lot about their new teams.”
The day began with the fan-favourite tykes, who took to the floor and entertained friends, family and fans alike with a whole-hearted effort in a mixed-squad festival format.
The Elk Valley/West Kootenay Midget team and Cranbrook Midget Outlaws helped round out the day in a fiercely contested tilt that saw glorious scoring opportunities at both ends of the rink. Unfortunately for the home squad, the cross-region rivals made the most of their chances, scoring a 3-0 triumph.
The final match of the day pitted the Cranbrook Bantam Outlaws against the West Kootenay Bantams, which saw the hosts claim victory by a 5-1 margin.
“Everyone loves to watch the tykes play,” Backshell-Jones said. “Everyone had a smile on their face. There were some amazing kids out there running hard and others that couldn’t quite make out what they were supposed to do next, but just having so much fun with it.
“To watch the bantams and midgets play was pretty intense at times. Lots of cheering, lots of support from the clubs that came in. It was loud in there all day long.”
With Sunday’s festival marking the first organized games of the season for the many minor lacrosse players, there was a bulk of lessons learned by both rookies and returners.
“Going to practice is one thing — learning basic stick skills is amazing,” Backshell-Jones said. “But when they actually get to put those [skills] into practice and they’re up against other kids that have maybe played a little bit longer or maybe have a bit more experience, it was really interesting for them to see how much they need to work on their own skills but also to see how far they’ve come.
“Even from novice age, those kids are extremely competitive.”
Next up, the Cranbrook Lacrosse Association is hosting a Field Lacrosse Festival this Saturday, April 30 (9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), for box lacrosse athletes at Moir Centennial Park. Joining the Outlaws for the Saturday showdown will be visiting clubs from Sandpoint and Bonners Ferry, Idaho.
The Outlaws will follow up Saturday’s home field festival with a Sunday trip west for the Castlegar Kootenay Festival.
Ice Breaker LacrosseFest results
Cranbrook Novice Outlaws 1 vs. Elk Valley/West Kootenay Novice 0Cranbrook Peewee Outlaws 3 vs. Elk Valley/West Kootenay Peewee 1Cranbrook Bantam Outlaws 15 vs. Elk Valley Bantam 0Cranbrook Midget Outlaws 7 vs. Elk Valley/West Kootenay Midget 1Cranbrook Novice Outlaws 4 vs. Elk Valley/West Kootenay Novice 1Cranbrook Peewee Outlaws 3 vs. Elk Valley/West Kootenay Peewee 0Elk Valley Bantam 0 vs. West Kootenay Bantam 7Elk Valley/West Kootenay Midget 3 vs. Cranbrook Midget Outlaws 0Cranbrook Bantam Outlaws 5 vs. West Kootenay Bantam 1