The Rise Of Girls Box Lacrosse In Ontario

You know, as an adult it is really special to see kids receive an opportunity to experience new things for the first time. And it really validates those that work their tails off to give kids these opportunities, when they see the kids themselves begin to thrive in their new surroundings.

I have always believed that lacrosse is very cultural. What I mean is that lacrosse is still unfortunately for us, not a truly mainstream sport. And it may never be. It is growing sure, but Hockey, Baseball, Basketball, and Soccer still drown out lacrosse in numbers.

But for most (including me), once you play and get involved, you are addicted. And I mean addicted for life. A true lacrosse person becomes a part of that culture. A culture that knows this is the best game that was ever created. Somewhere many, many years ago, a group of people helped me and a number of other young kids here in Whitby get in to this culture. So when I have the chance now, I do what I can to help spread the gospel, and  I’ve done so for close to 20 years now.

About 4-5 years ago, a group of volunteers across the Province decided to take the message of our game to a whole new audience. Young girls. Yeah, sure, why not? Girls have always played lacrosse, just not in the numbers that boys have. But why? I believe partly because girls have always had to play on boys teams. That could be a little intimidating to say the least.

But I also believe it is because the game was never promoted to girls like it has been to boys. Well that is changing. With a growth spurt being experienced in those 4-5 years, lacrosse is becoming a bigger game now for girls as well.

At the OLA semi-annual convention a number of weeks back there were a couple of young ladies that spoke about lacrosse and how they got involved. I was able to get a copy of their comments, and I really want you to listen to the passion in their voices when they speak on the game. Their comments are very telling. If this message can reach other young ladies, this game and the numbers of girls that play it could very well one day rival the boys.

The first young lady is Jessica Kras. Jessica plays girls Intermediate lacrosse for Burlington. A long time Soccer player, Jessica has hung up the Soccer cleats for her new favorite sport:

The second speaker is Gracie Sykes. Gracie plays girls lacrosse for Hamilton. Gracie thought while watching her brother play that she would never do this. But when the girls program started, she got involved and like so many others is now hooked.

It is time. It is time for this game to be opened up to any and every young girl out there that wants to experience it with other girls. So let’s get this message out so that these kids can experience what so many boys have for so many years.

And to prove to you that I am putting my money where my mouth is; I am helping Coach a girls team here in Whitby this year.  And it has been very interesting so far.  Unlike a lot of (not all) boys at the Bantam age, they do not know everything about everything, they are not stars in the making, and they really want to learn and get better.  But I was quite shocked, and it is starting to get a little frustrating; when I hear “sorry” so many times after a bad or missed pass. 

Yeah, it will take me a while…..

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14 Comments

  1. That is soooo true!
    My daughter played lacrosse for years on a boy’s team and LOVED it. But alas there comes a time when it is just not a great idea for a smaller sized girl (who with out a doubt loved to check) probably should not play on a boys team. My daughter was heart broken when her father told her she couldn’t play anymore. She went to the practices and sat a long the boards giving her dad, the coach, sad eyes trying to guilt him into letting her play. A few years later we found out about the girls team in Hamilton, and are very happy to be a part of the association. All of the girls LOVE the sport! They love the physical part of it as much as any boy, and are quite aggressive out on that floor. My husband now coaches a boy’s team and the girl’s team. He says it is like night and day. The girls want to know everything and ask how to do things while a lot (not all) of the boys think they already know it. Then there is the idea of getting used to the beautifully painted faces that come out to smash one another around – it seems to conflict with each common logic of the “girly-girl”, but once they are on the floor it is all about the game
    We love lacrosse and are glad that more and more girls know about the girls’ teams, and are encouraged to join. We need to get the word out so it can grow!

  2. It is great to see the girl’s have a chance to play Box lacrosse again. I say again as there was a Girl’s league in the seventies. My sisters played in it, exactly the same rules as the boys. I know that the Scarboro Saints and Beaches had teams. I am trying to recall some of the other teams, I think that Long Branch and Six Nations also had teams.

    It is also great to see how qucikly many of the girls who are playing now are developing their skills.

    To everyone involved, keep up the good work.

    Steve

    • There was a league in the 70’s. I played for the Orillia Team. There were teams in Peterborough, Six Nations, Beaches, Scarborough, Hamilton ….others I dont remember. It was a blast.
      Orillia won the first ever women’s box lacrosse Provincials and its something I will never forget!
      I went on to coach a boys peewee team in Aurora and loved every minute of it.
      Glad to see women’s box lacrosse has been revived in Ontario!

      Esther Lovell

      • I played in the 60’s and 70’s in British Columbia… we also had a number of girls teams and actually competed one year at Nationals with the teams from Ontario and Nova Scotia… The Nationals that year were in Haliax… it was a great time… I believe it was about 1978.
        Anne Farmer
        Victoria BC

    • I NEED HELP PLEASE
      i live in Toronto and the stars girls box program was taken away and i never got to try it so now i play girls field which is a good game but i need a change. Every time i go to my brothers practice’s and game’s i i think of ways to change my parents minds about letting me join with the boys,yet no luck and don’t think that will ever change.i feel like something is missing.i need help and ideas to get the girls program back.or change my parents minds.
      please help me i need to play!!!!!!!

  3. I used to ref in that Girls league in the 70,s for the Beaches , some nights they would scare the bejeesus out of me , man some of those girls were tough .

  4. I can relate to these girls about so many things. While I came to the game later in life (I didn’t pick up a stick until I was 30), I understand what they say about how you start out thinking you can relate it to basketball or hockey, then quickly realize there is so much more to the game to learn.

    I’ve given up my lifelong passion of volleyball to play this sport and have not looked back. It makes me happy to see that younger girls can now have the opportunity to play that I didn’t have until I was much older.

    I also can relate to Gary when he says that once you play you get addicted to not only the sport, but the culture. I have found a family inside of this sport here in Whitby, and I feel blessed to be a part of it and to have mad so many wonderful friends because of it. I hope that these young girls will understand just how great it is to be involved with lacrosse.

  5. I am also new to this game. I am the assistant coach with Burlington Chiefs Bantam Girls Box Team. My daughter Eryn has played in Burlington the past 4 years and she loves the game. She gave up soccer this year so she could play field and box. These are very excitng times for Girls’ Box but we all have to keep recruiting the younger girls so we can keep growing the girls’ game.

  6. That is soooo true!
    My daughter played lacrosse for years on a boy’s team and LOVED it. But alas there comes a time when it is just not a great idea for a smaller sized girl

  7. Has anyone seen any well produced videos designed to recruit young girls into the game.? In this day of technology something must have been done and posted by now. Thanks

    • Would love to have a video to help recruit young girls in NS. But also needs to be directed at parents as these are the ones that’ll bring their girls to play.

  8. My 5 year old daughter is playing this year for the first time.

  9. Calling all Whitby Bantam Girls!! Come to Tryouts Tonight!! Monday April 22, 2013 @ 7 pm at Iroquois Pad 3!! Tryouts also on Wednesday and Thursday this week, Same Time/Place!!

  10. I also remember girl’s box lacrosse in the 70’s as I played for Owen Sound for 5 years and we won all Ontario in 1979. After playing box lacrosse I personally wouldn’t play field lacrosse as you lose a lot of the game in my opinion. Good luck to all the girls pursuing this sport!


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