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14U Wolfpack win bronze at lacrosse provincials

A challenging season ended on a high note for the West Kootenay Wolfpack
The West Kootenay Wolfpack held their own against the best in BC winning bronze at the provincial lacrosse championship. Photo: submitted

On the weekend of July 14-17, the 14U West Kootenay Wolfpack lacrosse team travelled to Vernon to compete in the BC Lacrosse Provincials.

What a weekend it turned out to be!

In 2019, as first year 12U players, the Wolfpack travelled to Delta to compete in Provincials. If you are familiar with box lacrosse, you will know the Coast has a strong foundation built on a season full of league games and tournaments, structured very similar to our hockey association here in the Kootenays.

Which is a huge contrast to our small organization that has only Cranbrook in our league and logistically the closest competitor. Despite all of this, this team played well and with a lot of heart. Sadly, they lost all three round robin games which didn’t allow them to advance to playoffs.

Fast forward to this weekend.

The coaching staff had a plan to challenge this group from the first practice in Rossland, to better the players physically and mentally and to elevate their skills.

“We had a little secret,” Wolfpack head coach Trevor Thirsk says. “We entered them in tournaments at a higher level to challenge all of those aspects. They would face teams that moved the ball better, understood the systems inside the game better and I honestly expected them to find their path facing their fears and learning from their defeats.”

And defeats they had. They were only able to tie a game with Williams Lake at the first tournament of the year, going on to lose the next eight games which is basically the entire season worth of games.

With all of that they came to practice and worked hard building towards a common goal - provincials.

First game out of the gate, was an 8-5 loss to Burnaby, but the game galvanized our leaders and they picked the team up and in Game 2 they were able to get their first win over New Westminster.

“It wasn’t a pretty win, but it was our first,” said Thirsk.

With that they would go on to play Mission Saturday morning and play a great game, winning their second game. This set them up for a rematch with Burnaby Saturday evening.

What a game it was. The Wolfpack gave everything they had with fast action, hard hits and a last-minute comeback to tie it at 8-8 inside the final five minutes.

However, a last-minute goal by Burnaby sent the Wolfpack to the bronze medal game while Burnaby advanced to the gold medal round.

Despite the loss, the team finally found their groove and on Sunday morning they put Mission in their rearview, claimed their first medal of the year in a 14-0 victory, and sent their head coach off the end of the dock at Kalamalka Lake in celebration.

“I am so proud to be a part of this team, from the coaches, to the players, to their families,” said Thirsk.

Taryn Anderson took home the Warrior fair play award for sportsmanship throughout the season and Holden Johnston, one of our captains, took home the BCLA Provincial Team All-Star award.

Congratulations to the players and the 14U WKMLA Wolfpack for representing our little slice of paradise in the Kootenays.

About the Author: Black Press Media Staff

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