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Westlock Rock kick off season

Association numbers down as season begins; registration remains open until May 15
WES - Lacrosse Season Begins 2
16U Westlock Rock player, Owen McKenna, centre, keeps his eyes on the ball in a game against the Edmonton Warriors during the annual Rock Day at the Rotary Spirit Centre April 23.

WESTLOCK – The ice is out at the Rotary Spirit Centre and lacrosse players are cranking it up for the season.

Members of the Westlock Rock have been pounding the pavement since mid-April and welcomed several teams from across the region for the 2022 Rock Day last Saturday, April 23.    

“Usually, we try to schedule an exhibition game with some of the junior teams but this year the schedule worked out that we have most of our teams playing here,” said Westlock Lacrosse Association president Josh Reay, noting the Rock played six games in the annual event against several teams including those from St. Albert, Parkland County, Edmonton, Sherwood Park and Fort Saskatchewan.

The regular season for the Rock, Minor 'B' co-ed lacrosse teams, which includes 8U, 10U, 14U and 16U, runs from April to July with practices and weekly games. There is also an 'A' league which consists of zones (higher-tiered players).

Registration for the Westlock Rock continues until May 15 and interested players can visit Reay said about 57 players between the four teams have already registered for lacrosse this spring and noted the low numbers in comparison to previous years.  

“Usually we’re well over 100,” said Reay, adding that each team usually has anywhere between eight and 20 players.  During the regular season, the Rock participate in league games as part of the Greater Edmonton Lacrosse Council (GELC), which consists of about 15 teams.

“Last year we didn’t really have a season, but we did do what we could here in house, just some practices. Numbers were also low last year,” he said. “This year our goal is just to get those numbers back and build up.”

Playoffs and provincials will take place following the regular season with Minor 'B' provincials in Cold Lake in July. Reay said while they have some returning players, he hopes to see more of them back with the lacrosse association next season.

“It’s basically just a development year, so many kids had two years off. They missed complete age groups so all we want is to get them fully back up to playing and then next season we’ll hopefully work on those positions,” explained Reay.

Despite the low turnout, the association is ready for a successful season. As a lacrosse coach for the past five years, Reay shares his love of lacrosse and encourages players to have fun while doing their best and learning the sport.

“You just try to help with the kids as much as you can, learn to be a team. That’s the biggest thing, is being a team player. It’s not just about learning lacrosse, it’s life skills too (and) working together,” said Reay. “We’re out there right now to build a team and work together and we’ll see where it goes.”

Kristine Jean,