In a scenario that would make a great sports movie, the Castlegar Wolfpack Bantam C Division team brought home silver from the BC Box Lacrosse Provincial Championships last weekend.
The tournament followed on the heels of the team’s gold medal win at an international tournament in Calgary the previous weekend. The Wolfpack was undefeated, but ended up with a number of injuries.
A full line-up is considered 18 players, but the Castlegar team has only 15 players on a good day. The injuries sustained in Calgary brought the number of players down to just nine heading into the provincials.
The Wolfpack lost to the Shuswap in their first game, but defeated Vancouver in their second game. One player received a suspension — bringing the team down to eight players.
This was followed by a victory against Victoria and the team was off to the medal round, where the Wolfpack faced off with the Shuswap again, this time coming out on top. But, another player received a suspension and the team headed into their final game with just seven players.
“The heart of these kids — the spectators couldn’t believe we were coming into the gold medal game with just seven players,” said assistant coach Ken Laren.
“It was an amazing experience,” he added. “Everyone in the stadium couldn’t believe how much heart and how much will this little town of Castlegar had to come in and take out the city of Vancouver, and take out the Okanagan.”
Laren said their secret weapon was chocolate. “We gave them a handful of M&Ms and away they go.” The team needed the extra energy as only two players could rest at a time.
The Wolfpack lost the gold medal game, but proudly brought home the silver. Goalie Ryley Lockhurst also brought home the tournament MVP award and Reece Philips won the All-Star award.
Other coaches at the tournament were amazed the Castlegar players don’t even have a proper league to play in — they just practice and go to tournaments. They don’t even get to practice on a full court until the ice is taken out of the Castlegar Community Complex Arena for the year.
“What we are doing in this little town in unheard of,” said Laren.