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Castlegar arena closure forces West Kootenay minor lacrosse teams to find new facilities

Teams will practice in Rossland and Castlegar
The West Kootenay Minor Lacrosse Association will be utilizing alternate practice space for 2023 season. File photo

The West Kootenay Minor Lacrosse Association is facing a season of change, but they are determined to make it a great year for area youth.

The organization is the user group that is probably the most affected by the six-month closure of the arena at the Castlegar and District Community Complex in order to replace the ice floor. Their entire season will have to be held elsewhere.

WKMLA will be utilizing two different locations this season.

Kids age 10 and up will be practicing at the Rossland arena.

“The older age groups need to have the right facility to learn proper game play and rules of the game,” said WKMLA president Merrick Zemp.

“This will obviously be a big inconvenience for the families that are in Castlegar and Nelson areas. Our hope is that knowing it is a one-year change of plans will not limit our enrollment.”

The younger age groups will be practising at Stanley Humphries Secondary School.

They will focus on learning the technical aspects of the game such as throwing and catching the ball and running with a ball in your stick.

Merrick says this can be done on the gym floor and still provide a good experience in a more central location.

“We always want to focus on building the next group of players and we feel that continuing to run the program in Castlegar can assist in making lacrosse available for everyone.”

WKMLA had a great season last year with multiple teams representing the Kootenays at Provincials and the bantam team winning a bronze medal. Another team from Zone 1 finished 6th at the BC games.

“We are hoping to build off of that momentum this season even with the challenges,” said Zemp.

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Betsy Kline

About the Author: Betsy Kline

After spending several years as a freelance writer for the Castlegar News, Betsy joined the editorial staff as a reporter in March of 2015. In 2020, she moved into the editor's position.
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