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West Kootenay U13 Wolfpack wins Lacrosse Provincials

West Kootenay Minor Lacrosse Association includes players from Castlegar, Trail, Rossland, Nelson
The West Kootenay U13 Wolfpack are 2023 provincial champions. Photo: Submitted

Submitted by West Kootenay Wolfpack

Following a hard fought season of tournament travel the West Kootenay U13 Wolfpack are provincial champions!

West Kootenay Minor Lacrosse Association (WKMLA) hosts players from Castlegar, Trail, Rossland, and Nelson with families and their athletes committed to travel for both practice and games.

The U13 Wolfpack attended tournaments in Kamloops, Penticton and Cranbrook over the course of their season which runs from April to July. They had moderate success at these tournaments but always had the provincial championships in their sights.

The team had goals to meet, as set out by Head Coach Peter Youngblut.

“From our first practice to the start of provincials, 101 days will have passed. I ask our players to get better by one per cent each day,” said Youngblut. “One per cent a day isn’t hard, could be a simple as playing with their stick on off days, or playing some wall ball on weekends or even a walk with some stretching.

“By the time we get to provincials we will be a completely different team. We will peak at provincials with our ultimate goal being our association’s first provincial title.”

The U13 Wolfpack achieved this goal which was set at the start of the season, going undefeated at the Provincial Championships July 6 - 9.

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Hosted by Ridge Meadows Lacrosse Association, Wolfpack competed in three preliminary round games. They beat Saanich 9-8, in a close game that ended up going into overtime. The next victory came over New Westminster, with a final score of 8-1. Wolfpack overtook Coquitlam 8-2, which allowed them to finish first place in their pool and matched them up with Surrey in the semifinals. The final score of that game was 12-6.

For the final game Wolfpack came up against Mission Lacrosse, who were also undefeated and looking for gold. The teams were evenly matched, with Mission being a skilled opponent and Wolfpack was down 3-1 at the end of the first.

But the team did not give up! They battled hard and scored the game winner with less than two minutes left in regulation. They held on to that lead and became U13 C Provincial Champions. This is the West Kootenay’s first championship win since 2005.

This team has played with heart and determination from the first practice of the season and has always been lead by the players, with lots of guidance from well-loved coaches Peter Youngblut, Tom Carew, Jim Marno and Trevor Thirsk.

To quote Coach Pete, “We had a saying we chanted multiple times every practice, game, anytime we were together.

“Bad teams — no one leads. Good teams — coaches lead. Championship teams — players lead.”

”This was all on the players. They took on the responsibility to lead themselves to that gold medal!”

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