‘They actually have a future in the sport now’: Junior women’s lacrosse off and running in Maritimes
Women's lacrosse is making history in the Maritimes this summer, as the first female Junior 'A' league begins to play.
The Sackville Wolves played its home opener on Thursday night when they hosted the Eastern Shore Breakers in regular-season play.
The growth and popularity of lacrosse in the Maritimes has created a chance for the first of its kind women's Junior 'A' league.
“The female game has grown over the last five to eight years,” said Sackville Wolves general manager Cory Martin.
“We wanted to provide them with an opportunity that doesn’t exist in a lot of sports for females.”
He says the women get the chance now to extend their playing careers and take part in a more polished, professional atmosphere and have the opportunity to get drafted and go to a skills combine.
“It’s a great opportunity for all the girls in our age group, and even the younger girls, to get a chance to come out and watch,” said wolves’ player Sophie Deveaux.
Teammate and assistant captain Maddi Hamilton says it is a great opportunity to expose more people to Canada's National summer sport, which organizers call the "fastest game on two feet."
“I think it’s a really important deal that we get the little girls and the little boys to see that the sport is growing, and continuing to grow,” said Hamilton.
“They can see that they actually have a future in the sport now and they can get up to this higher level when before there wasn’t that.”
Martin says before starting the league, women’s participation in the sport was waning – with only a handful of players showing up to a practice sometimes.
“That’s why we came up with the idea to give them a little more to continue to play,” said Martin. “We’ve had three or four girls come out of retirement after they had given up the sport.”
Martin says his team now has a 25-woman roster.
Four teams will compete in the inaugural season with the Halifax Hurricanes and Saint John Rapids joining Sackville and Eastern Passage. Players range in age from 17 to 21.