Inflation adds pressure to win for amateur lacrosse teams

Amateur organizations are doing whatever they can to shield players from the effects of inflation, as travel costs reach record highs.

"Everyone is working hard to make it work," said Mark Rouse, general manager of the Owen Sound North Stars. The team was in Windsor for Game 1 of their best-of-three, first-round playoff series.

The reality of today’s economy is being felt on different levels, as the cost of travel in this series could cost upwards of $20,000 if it goes the distance.

"Hopefully we only have to make that trip once," said Clippers head coach Jerry Kavanaugh whose team was in Owen Sound Sunday afternoon for Game 2.

The North Stars spent just less than $2,500 to rent this school bus to get to Game 1 at Forest Glade Arena Saturday night.

"It was hot. Windows down all the way on the 401. Quick little stop on the way down," added Rouse.

With games alternating between cities during the short series, no overnight stay was required. Back-to-back would have put more strain on budgets.

"With us where we're located in the province, we've done two overnight trips this year. So [for] hotels and buses, it's a six-thousand dollar bill on a weekend," said Windsor Clippers general manager Mike Soulliere.

Costs add up, including those that are unexpected. Out-of-town referees were needed for Game 1 which cost both teams triple the regular rate.

"Tremendous strain on our bank accounts from a team perspective. Fundraising, I actually had to dispatch a group today to do a fundraiser. A group of parents to make it all work," said Rouse.

The Clippers operate their nine-week season on a $100,000 budget. The players don't pay to play but are required to volunteer when they fundraise at a local bingo parlour.

"We've been lucky," said Clippers goaltender Chase Cosgrove. "Sometimes it goes a little unnoticed how privileged we are compared to other teams. We get a nice bus. We get Gatorade during our games."

Because they receive a lot of support from the community, players are also fed.

"Before the pandemic hit, most of the sponsors were on board,” said Soulliere. "None of them asked for their money back so we were ahead of the game as far as getting sponsors heading into this year."

Windsor finished third overall in the league. Any trip after this round will be no less than a three-hour ride.

"Sponsorships are big for us. Obviously the gate is big. A lot of hard work by the board keeping this thing afloat," said Kavanaugh.