Who are you?
Kamloops Minor Lacrosse Association (KMLA), the fastest game on two feet!
Can you tell us a little about your organization?
Kamloops Minor Lacrosse Association (KMLA) is one of the largest, non-profit, minor lacrosse associations within the Thompson-Okanagan, providing box and field lacrosse programs for youth aged 5 -18 years. Our volunteer run association tries hard to obtain grants and company sponsorships to help keep registration costs low for families.
Box lacrosse runs March – June, with provincially qualifying teams playing into July. Drop-in sessions are usually offered in February at school gyms. Throughout the season, teams will practice twice per week with games held within the Thompson-Okanagan region on weekends. Field lacrosse runs August – November, with provincially qualifying teams practicing in January for the February Championship. Teams will practice twice per week and attend a weekend game day hosted by a Thompson-Okanagan association. Watch for field registration opening soon!
What is lacrosse?
It’s a team sport played with a lacrosse stick and a lacrosse ball. It’s very complimentary to hockey, and similar to basketball, where there are no off-sides or icing, and a 30 second shot clock keeps the pace of the game moving very quickly. Players use the head of the lacrosse stick to carry, pass, catch, and shoot the ball into the goal.
How long has your organization been active and operating?
Kamloops Minor Lacrosse has been a non-profit youth sports association since 1995.
What is the history of lacrosse?
Most publications note that lacrosse is the oldest organized sport in North America. It was played by the First Nations, Canada’s Indigenous people, before the arrival of European settlers. The first documented description of the game was in 1637. Algonquin people named it Baggataway, while the Iroquois Nation called it Tewaarathon. It was played by two teams with 100 to 1,000 men each, on a field that stretched from about 500 m (1,600 ft) to 3 km (1.9 mi) long. The First Nations played the game for their Creator, as it was a way for them to show their gratitude to the Great Spirit.
The first known game between Europeans and First Nations took place in 1843. The game of lacrosse quickly won the loyalty and interest of the newest North Americans, and Parliament named lacrosse Canada’s National Game in 1859. Lacrosse Canada, formerly the Canadian Lacrosse Association, founded in 1867, is the governing body of lacrosse in Canada. By the early 1890’s, lacrosse was the most popular summer game in Canada.
In 1901, Lord Minto, the Governor General of Canada, donated a silver cup to become the symbol of the lacrosse championship of Canada. The Minto Cup is awarded annually, to the champion of the Canadian Junior teams, and remains one of the most coveted prizes in lacrosse. In 1910, Sir Donald Mann, chief architect of the Canadian Northern Railway, donated a gold cup to be awarded to the national amateur Senior champion. Today, it is the championship prize of the best Senior team in box lacrosse in Canada.
What facilities does KMLA use to play lacrosse?
Box lacrosse is played indoors on dry arena floors. To accommodate all of our teams, practices are held on several outdoor box arenas in Kamloops. Once the arena ice is removed, KMLA hosts regional games, tournaments and if awarded, the Provincials. Field lacrosse is played on full-sized soccer fields. Due to our interior climate, the season wraps up in November. In January, teams that qualified for Provincials will try to locate indoor practice facilities to prepare for the February event at the coast.
Tell us something that not everyone would know about Lacrosse?
Lacrosse is Canada’s National Summer Sport! It was re-confirmed by Parliament in 1994 as the National (Summer) Sport of Canada, hockey as the National (Winter) Sport of Canada.
Lacrosse is known to many as the best summer sport to play if you want to improve your hockey skills. Many professional, well-known athletes (Wayne Gretzky being one of many!), have played lacrosse to help with their agility, fitness, hand-eye coordination, and creativity. Often referred to as a physical or aggressive game, lacrosse is actually a safe sport, ranking 54th on a list of sports that can cause an injury.
North American universities and colleges are known to recruit Canadian lacrosse players for their quickness, toughness, and creative gameplay, gained through box lacrosse. In the U.S. for the 2019-20 academic year, there were 74 NCAA-sanctioned Division I men’s lacrosse teams, 75 Division II, and 248 Division III teams. There are 117 Division I women’s lacrosse teams, 114 Division II, and 293 Division III teams. This doesn’t include the community college programs through NJCAA and the NAIA.
What are some inspiring moments you have witnessed from your athletes?
Many of our athletes give back to the association by volunteering their time to help coach the younger age groups.
Each year, Kamloops lacrosse teams often earn a spot to play in the BCLA’s Minor Box and Minor Field Provincial Lacrosse Championships, held in various cities around the province. Several of our Kamloops lacrosse athletes have represented Zone 2 (Thompson-Okanagan) for box and field lacrosse at the BC Summer Games. Several athletes have played on BCLA’s Team BC Field and Team BC Box teams at Lacrosse Canada’s National Championships, as well as at U.S. Championships. Kamloops lacrosse athletes have also been chosen for teams participating in the North American Indigenous Games. Many of our minor lacrosse players have gone on to accept scholarships to play lacrosse at the collegiate level throughout North America. A few of our alumni have played, or are playing professionally for teams in the NLL (National Lacrosse League).
What has KMLA been working on lately?
We have the amazing opportunity to have some of our lacrosse coaches teach introductory clinics within the SD73 school system. Elementary school students are getting the opportunity to try Canada’s National Summer Sport and learn the amazing history of lacrosse, which has been quoted as “A gift for the people of Canada”.
What are some of KMLA’s future goals?
To continue to grow, foster, and promote Canada’s National Summer Sport here in Kamloops as well as the Thompson-Okanagan which includes minor lacrosse associations in Penticton, Kelowna, Princeton, North Okanagan, Shuswap, Logan Lake, Merritt, and Kamloops!
To work with local businesses and organizations to help promote the sport, get sticks in the hands of youth, embrace the sport’s heritage, and create an environment where everyone can have the opportunity to play Canada’s oldest sport.
Who are some volunteers that you would like to highlight in your lacrosse community for their work and dedication?
Lacrosse in Kamloops has been supported over the years by a long list of volunteers. Many volunteers have helped in the minor lacrosse program and continued up through the various Kamloops lacrosse associations. We would like to recognize the efforts put in by everyone who has helped create and grow lacrosse with the Kamloops Minor Lacrosse Association, the Kamloops Venom Junior ‘B’ Club, the Kamloops Senior Lacrosse Club, and the Kamloops Ladies of Lacrosse. New faces are always needed if you wanted to help at any of these levels.
Where would you like to see positive change in
Kamloops sport and why?
For many Kamloops sports associations, access to year-round dry floor and additional fields with lights, would be a huge benefit to their association. Having access to these facilities would enable associations to continue to grow their sport, lengthen their season or program times, and enable additional tournaments and playing opportunities.
How do people connect with KMLA to learn more and get involved?
Are there any general comments you would like to share?
Kamloops Minor Lacrosse Association would like to thank our volunteers, coaches, referees, and board members for their continued dedication. We would like to thank the Kamloops Sports Council, the City of Kamloops, PacificSport Interior BC, and the Kamloops Sports Legacy Fund for your continued support of Kamloops sports. We would also like to thank the following businesses for helping KMLA replace several jersey sets and equipment:
Alternative Belting Ltd., United Steelworkers Local 7619, BigSteelBox, Dawson Construction, Fresh Is Best, Polycorp Ltd., McCaskill Mechanical, ICONIX Waterworks, Progressive Rubber Industries Inc., Tolko Industries Ltd., WEIR, BC Transplant, The Sign Cellar, and Arrow Transport.