Vancouver Island University is undisputed aggregate champion of the PacWest, and so it’s in a position where it can dabble in other sports, as well.
A handful of people at the university are looking into the possibility of field lacrosse, and what a VIU lacrosse club could potentially look like.
Jesse Kemp, from VIU’s work integrated learning faculty, has been leading the efforts and said a small but dedicated group of guys have been training together. It’s not a registered club at the university, and in its first year it was approved only as a drop-in recreational activity. But Kemp said VIU supports his efforts to try to develop a field lacrosse program.
“We’re building on some of the excitement surrounding the Presidents Cup [senior B national championship tournament] last year, and it’s time for us to take a step here at the university, as well,” Kemp said.
There are challenges to trying to start up a field lacrosse program. Kemp said while the University of Victoria and UBC have club teams, there’s no collegiate league on Canada’s West Coast.
“My end vision is to help establish [a league], but baby steps at this time…” Kemp said. “The speed at which things occur might become a little bit frustrating because I know there’s so much potential for it here, but I’m a very patient individual.”
The university spring semester is coming to an end, but Kemp said he’s trying to publicize field lacrosse right now in hopes that word will spread over the summer. If he has enough interested players come September, he said the group will try to fundraise to participate in a tournament, for example, for next season.
Asked whether starting a program from scratch is daunting, Kemp said when he was living abroad he started the Malaysian Lacrosse Association.
“There, we didn’t have sticks, we didn’t have nets. I actually used bamboo handles and had friends of mine from over here send me lacrosse heads,” he said. “So it’s a little bit easier to set up here than there – all you need is a will and a way.”
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