The Vermilion Roar Lacrosse (VRL) 2020 season was canceled by the Alberta Lacrosse Association earlier this spring.
President, Ryan Adams, summed up the club’s impact on the community, and their hope for next year.
Last year VRL was home to 100 participants aged 3 – 21.
They typically host 2 – 3 tournaments per year and with an average of 36 additional people per game, they estimate approximately 1,500 visitors to Vermilion throughout the season.
Adams said they supported the community by purchasing gas, staying in hotels or at the park, as well as eating at restaurants.
“VRL has given area youth another sporting option. It has also created lifelong relationships. For example, we are now having previous players return to volunteer, and some have their own children playing,” said Adams.
His son, Linden Adams, has been playing lacrosse for the past eight years. From it, he has learned sportsmanship, teamwork, and how to control his temper by taking a hit and not getting mad. In addition, it has allowed him to travel to new places and to gain friends along the way.
For example, Bantam aged players from Vermilion were scheduled to participate in an Alberta Summer Games tournament in Lethbridge that was also canceled, and Linden has also missed traveling to play in Calgary as he had in other years.
“It definitely was different. I am sure parents had a tough time filling the void,” said Ryan.
“There is also the economic impact. No fees were paid to the town, and the referees didn’t have a chance to make an income. Not having the tournaments we typically host also had an impact on businesses in the community.”
“I was kind of sad when I found out that we weren’t going to be able to play lacrosse this year because it would have been one of our stronger years. I was a little shocked and disappointed and just stood in disbelief,” said Linden.
Ryan said that people can continue to stay active despite not having an organized sport by going for walks, and for lacrosse players, there are many skills or drills they can practice at home.
“We have a net and a ball re-bounder in our back yard, and I run in the Provincial Park two or three times per week to keep practicing in the meantime,” said Linden.
The organization is looking at the possibility of bringing back a temporary practice opportunity with some three on three activities with players on the bench and coaches being socially distanced. With members of the group are both for and against, no final decisions have been made.
Linden is looking forward to next season so that he won’t have to stay inside and can get back in the action actually playing lacrosse.
“The children have shown us great resilience over the last few months, and have adapted to many new things. My hope for them is that they stay safe, healthy, and get ready for next season,” said Ryan.
“Next season I am looking forward to letting people know about the sport and what it is all about as well as continuing to grow our club.”