A long-time lacrosse family has organized a local camp to rebuild the sport for a new generation of Cochrane youth.
Ryan and Kristy Degethoff have organized a weekly camp at the SLS Centre that starts Feb. 19 for those ages 8 to 13. Three other seasoned Rockyview Rage lacrosse coaches in Cochrane have stepped up to help.
The couple says for the last decade, more and more of the games and practices of the Rockyview Lacrosse Association, which was originally formed in Cochrane, have been shifted to Airdrie and Crossfield. At one time, practices and games were split 50-50 between Cochrane and Airdrie. They estimated 80 per cent of the games and practices are now held in Airdrie and Crossfield.
"What has happened, in turn, is there's a diminishing number of Cochrane players," says Ryan. "A lot of the Cochrane players have started to step away because of the time commitment and extra cost, and you're seeing fewer and fewer Cochrane players signing up for lacrosse."
In addition to this, the Rockyview Silvertips junior 'B' tier one team has moved to play and train exclusively in Airdrie. Reese Sellwood, head coach of the Rockyview Rage junior 'B' tier 2 team has confirmed they will continue to play in Cochrane.
With the Rocky View association no longer holding a pre-season camp here, the Degethoffs began searching for a camp for their son, who plays with the U13 Rage. It led to the camp's creation and the push to encourage more youth to try and stick with the sport.
"We wanted to get a stick in our son's hands so that he was conditioned and ready to play and not walk into the season without having picked up a stick since last season. We tried to find a camp and everything that we were finding was far southeast."
Ryan says the camp is designed to accommodate everyone from beginners to more seasoned players.
"We have enough coaches that we can pull the beginners aside and work on some stick skill, and then slowly integrate them into the skill levels that we feel appropriate."
Camp dates are Feb. 19, Mar. 3, Mar. 10, Mar. 17, Apr. 7, and Apr. 14 at the artificial turf of the SLS Centre. The cost is $150.00.
For more information or to register, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
They hope it will lead to more camps in the future.
The couple has been in discussions with the Rockyview officials on making the sport more accessible to local youth. They haven't ruled out the idea of creating new Cochrane-based teams.
"We're trying to come up with solutions that it doesn't get to the point that we have to form our own club, seeing that the Rage was originally formed in Cochrane."
A poll they conducted indicated there was keen interest in the sport, providing teams were Cochrane-based.
"It has been a part of our family for 14 years. We fly the Rage colors and the last thing we want to do is break off from the Rage. But we also want the opportunity for Cochrane youth to experience the sport."