For the first time since 1985, box lacrosse will once again be played in the Canada Summer Games, and six players from Prince Albert have a chance to make the 2022 Team Sask roster.
Waylon Altstadt, Matthew Cudmore, Cole Currie, Koltin Fyrk, Aidan Horn, and Brayden Rieger were all invited to Summer Games training camp on the boys side, while Brooklyn Vancoughnett will tryout for the girls team. With 32 runners invited to the camp and only 16 spots available on the boys team, it will be an important few months for these players leading into training camp.
“These guys have taken every opportunity they can to play lacrosse,” President of Prince Albert lacrosse Javan Bexson said. “Whether it’s box lacrosse or field lacrosse or just camps here in the city, they’re taking advantage of every chance. Working on their own personal fitness, working on their own game. They absolutely love the sport and competing.”
Bauer Swystun, Caiden Prediger, and Davin Ikert were former lacrosse players in Prince Albert. They are playing lacrosse for college teams in the United States now, but Bexson feels like the six local boys have been able to build their game while playing with those older guys in their time here.
“They worked closely with those guys,” Bexson said. “We mixed age groups all the time. Especially with field lacrosse they had three years together. They played and practiced together all the time, and that elevates these guys’ game. Learning from those older guys had a huge impact on development.”
Moving from field lacrosse to box lacrosse can be a big adjustment for some players. From playing in a provincial tournament last summer to now competing for a spot on a box lacrosse roster, Bexson explained the biggest adjustment these players had to make.
“There were two guys that had a really tough transition from field to box. Horn and Altstadt were long pole defenders in field lacrosse, and now in box they have to go down to their short sticks. It was a tougher transition for them, but a guy like Brayden Rieger or Matthew Cudmore, they’re more offensive guys. For them, it’s virtually the same, just beat the defender and put the ball in the net.”
The first two “Talent ID” camps were held in November and December to find the right players to bring to the next stage of tryouts. With 32 runners and four goalies selected for the boys team, the attention turns to future tryout camps in the coming months.
The next tryout session is scheduled for this weekend in Saskatoon, with four more to follow in February and March. The final tryout will be on the weekend of March 26-27 in Saskatoon, with exhibition games tentatively scheduled against Manitoba.
“It’s good to have lacrosse back in the Summer Games,” Bexson added. “It’s really exciting and these kids have a chance to make Team Sask and get the opportunity to play.”
Meanwhile, winter field lacrosse camps are underway in Prince Albert. With the next camp dates set for Jan. 22 and 29, registration is open. The camp, ran by Bexson and coach Matthew Robin, will run into March, with the final date on March 26. You can find more information about registration on the Prince Albert Lacrosse Facebook page.
This content was originally published here.