On the weekend of July 14-17, the 14U Wolfpack lacrosse team travelled to Vernon BC to compete in the BC Lacrosse Provincials. What a weekend it turned out to be!
In 2019, as first year 12U players, this team travelled to Delta to compete in provincials. If you are familiar with box lacrosse, you will know that the Coast has a strong foundation built on a season full of league games and tournaments, structured very similar to our hockey association here in the Kootenays.
This is a huge contrast to our small organization that has only Cranbrook in our league and the closest in distance competitors. Despite all of this, this team played well and with a lot of heart.
Sadly, they lost all three round robin games in 2019 and didn’t advance to the playoffs.
Fast forward to this year. The coaching staff had a plan to challenge this group from the first practice in Rossland, to better the players physically and mentally and to elevate their skills. “We had a little secret,” Coach Trevor Thirsk says. “We entered them in tournaments at a higher level to challenge all of those aspect. They would face teams that moved the ball better, understood the systems inside the game better and I honestly expected them to find their path facing their fears and learning from their defeats.”
And defeats they got. They were only able to tie a game with William’s Lake at the first tournament of the year, going on to lose the next eight games, which is basically the entire season worth of games. With all of that they came to practice and worked hard building towards a common goal — provincials.
First game out of the gate, was an 8-5 loss to Burnaby, but the game galvanized our leaders and they picked the team up and in game two they were able to get their first win over New Westminster.
Thirsk says, “It wasn’t a pretty win, but it was our first.”
With that they would go on to play Mission on Saturday morning and play a great game, winning their second game.
This set them up for a rematch with Burnaby Saturday evening. What a game it was, they gave you everything, fast action, hard hits and a last-minute comeback to tie it at 8-8 inside the last five minutes.
A last-minute goal by Burnaby would send the Wolfpack to play for bronze and advancing Burnaby to the gold medal round. Despite the loss, this team had finally found their groove and on Sunday morning they put Mission in their rearview, claimed their first medal of the year in a 14-0 victory and sent their head coach off the end of the dock at Kalamalka Lake in celebration.
“I am so proud to be a part of this team, from the coaches, to the players, to their families,” Thirsk says.
Taryn Anderson took home the Warrior fair play award for resounding sportsmanship throughout the season and Holden Johnston, one of the team captains, took home the BCLA Provincial Team All-Star award.
Congratulations to both of our players and congratulations to the 14U WKMLA Wolfpack for representing our little slice of paradise in the Kootenays.