So You Want To Start Your Own Lacrosse Association? John Grant Sr. Part 1

With the popularity of our great game expanding each day, it is no wonder that we hear of new associations popping up all of the time here in Ontario.  But just how do you do it?  Where do you begin?  And just how hard is it to do over when you have seen and helped to grow the tradition already in one of the top programs in the Province?

In the first of a two part interview we sit down with one of the truly “great guys” in the game of lacrosse; John Grant Sr.  John was a tremendous player (Junior, Senior, NLL Pro), a lacrosse teacher, but most importantly he is one of the greatest ambassadors of the game.  When John’s “real” career moved him from living in one of the hotbeds of lacrosse in Ontario (the Peterborough organization), to a center far to the north without it (Sudbury), you had to know it was only a matter of time before there would be a lacrosse program started.

GM: What made you want to get involved and start up an association in the Greater Sudbury area?

JG: There was no lacrosse in Sudbury–a little culture shock for me.

GM: Who are some of the people who helped to make this dream become a reality?

JG: The late Russ Farnell, Mike & Lisa Burton, Wayne & Paula Bennett, Tony Insinna, Dom Lacastro, Brian Pischler, Albert Corradini and Gary Petrin, and so many other coaches and volunteers.

GM: So just how does one begin to plan to get a lacrosse association in their city / town?

JG: Originally, Russ Farnell advertised in the local newspaper and sports stores and first year registrations were 500 kids.

GM: What would you say was the biggest obstacle to overcome?

JG: Lack of knowledge of the game- most referees, coaches had to be taught as well as the kids.

GM: Your first year you had 500 kids; what are they forecasted to be this season?

JG: We forecast this season to be 650 ( we are giving a free stick to all first time players this year thanks to the Ontario Trillium Foundation Grant).

GM: I’ve read some of the articles from the Sudbury Rockhounds web site and the maturity and development of the GSLA is very apparent. Describe the feeling amongst the kids and even the local community on the accomplishments and future for the association.

JG: We have a great group of parents & kids in our association. Entering our sixth year, the kids are getting better and better with their stick skills and we stress that the Rep (more experienced) work with their house league teams to ensure that we have a well balanced league. Just like the rest of Ontario, the lacrosse kid now has the NLL to set their sights on. For the older players we stress the importance of education and encourage them to strive for scholarships. We are also hoping to establish a field lacrosse program through the elementary and secondary schools as there is already a program at Laurentian University (Sudbury)

GM: In 2005 you received the Zone 4 “Coach of The Year” award from the Ontario Lacrosse Association. Describe receiving that honour.

JG: Shock: I was under the false impression that another coach was to receive the honour. To my surprise–it was given to me! I share this award with all my fellow coaches. It is a team sport.

GM: This is yet another example of one of the guys giving back to the game.  As I’ve said many times, including here on the Blog; what makes our game so great are the countless volunteers that make it happen.  In many cases, it is former players of the game like John that keep the game going and keep it growing.

Check back on Thursday when we speak with John about his playing days; another great read! 

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