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Westlock Lacrosse Association caps successful season

Rock focused on learning and skill development in 2022

WESTLOCK – It was a successful return to the floor for the Westlock Lacrosse Association’s 2022 regular season.

The Westlock Rock began practices in mid-April and recently wrapped up their first post-pandemic season at the end of June.

“We’re really happy to have had all the kids back out on the floor and are proud of what all the teams have accomplished this season,” said Westlock Lacrosse Association president, Josh Reay. “This is our first year back. It was great to have the amount of kids that we did — we weren’t too sure what we were going to get into coming back out of COVID.”

The regular season for the Rock included about 56 players in four age groups, 8U, 10U, 14U and 16U which played in the Greater Edmonton Lacrosse Council (GELC) league, which consisted of about 15 teams.

In addition to the time and dedication from all volunteers this season, including coaches,  team managers and parents, Reay also pointed out the efforts of the younger players, who notably demonstrated great motivation this season.

 “The younger kids stepped up. We had a couple of 6U players that went to help with the 8U group, our 10U numbers were down so whenever the 8U (team) didn’t have games they came and helped out the 10U team,” said Reay. “Not having that 12U group was a huge impact on our association as well. We had (several) of those kids go and play for the 14U group.”      

There was no 12U team this year noted Reay, because the association decided to use the strong 12U players on other teams, mostly 10U and 14U, when needed.  

The 8U Westlock Rock head coach Kyle Schram spoke about his team’s rewarding season and the time and effort they put in, noting by the end of the campaign the kids were picking up basic lacrosse strategies.

“The 2022 season for the Westlock Rock 8U team was a huge success. The players were excited to practice, learn about the sport and support each other out on the floor,” said Schram. ”The season started with a lot of the kids playing their first year of lacrosse, but they were all willing to put in the work to learn the skills needed for the game.”

U10 head coach Greg Toronchuk added that while they had a small bench, the “players definitely stepped up and they held their own throughout the season.”

“I saw an exceptional growth in the skill level of each player every time the team was together. I admire their dedication and sportsmanship towards their teammates as well as their opponents,” said Toronchuk, who also gave props to his coaching staff and manager Darla Durand.
Reay also noted some of the factors that contributed to the Rock’s success in the regular and post-season as well.

“Just watching how much the 8U group grew going towards the year-end wrap up — when they did their GELC wrap-up they won all of their games,” said Reay. ”(With) our 10U team it was the same thing, huge growth over the year. They went to one tournament and when they did their wrap-up, I think they won three out of their four games and in playoffs they did really well in their age group as well.”

The 14U team also saw lots of growth, skill development and had a strong finish in playoffs and at the provincial championships in Cold Lake, July 8-10. 

“The 16U team was really successful,” said Reay. “They had a great season … they went to (league) playoffs and I think they ended up in third place in the league.”         

Reay is hoping kids will enjoy the summer and perhaps keep their skills sharp with drop in lacrosse at the Rotary Spirit Centre and winter lacrosse in Edmonton, before next season begins in the spring.

“Hopefully ending on a high note will make them think about coming back again next year — that’s our biggest thing is making sure the kids are having fun and wanting to come back for another season,” said Reay.

Kristine Jean,