A 27-year Victoria Day long weekend tradition, minor lacrosse teams take over city rinks for Red Deer’s annual lacrosse tournament.
The Red Deer Minor Lacrosse Association hosts the Tradition Lives lacrosse tournament from Saturday to Monday at venues across the city. A total of 51 teams from across Alberta will take part and tournament chairperson David Clark said it will be some pretty entertaining action.
“When you get to the pee wee age groups you get A level teams,” said Clark, adding most of the Central Alberta associations, such as Innisfail, Olds and Blackfalds have B level teams.
“We have a Central Alberta A team for pee wee, bantam and midget.”
Teams range from tyke to midget aged, from about seven to 16-years-old.
Though he admits the number of teams is less than a few years ago, he said it was a conscious decision to provide more down time for the players and allow them to watch other games or look at some of the merchandise.
“The more teams you have, it leads to just hammering them through,” said Clark. “We thought we’d step back a bit and have a more fulfilling experience. They can hang out rather than it being so busy that they play and then they leave.”
The tournament takes place at the Collicutt Centre, G.H. Dawe Community Centre, Kinsmen Arenas and the Kinex Arena. The round robin runs on Saturday and Sunday with playoffs taking place on Monday.
Also on Sunday, players will have a chance to test their skills in a hardest shot contest. For a $100 cash prize for each age group, players can pay $2 for four shots to set a record on a radar gun.
“That’s kind of fun for the kids,” said Clark, adding some players’ parents are police officers. “We have the pros on the job.”
The games run all weekend and anyone wanting to watch some minor lacrosse can do so for free at the venues across the city.
“I think it’s a great way to get some exposure to kids who might not know lacrosse and families that are interested, but maybe a little reluctant to register this year,” said Clark. “It’s a great way to see what it’s all about and see some great lacrosse.”