The junior Sylvan Lake Yetti Lacrosse team will be able to play home games this season.
The team, which was forced to play their inaugural season out of Red Deer due to the incomplete NexSource Centre, held its first recruitment drive of the season at the Community Centre in order to put together a competitive team in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League.
“We are just having our first get together,” Head Coach Peter Bryenton said. “It’s an opportunity for players to come out and find out what Yetti Lacrosse is all about and determine if they want to sign up. We are on a recruitment drive where we have returning guys starting to come in and get back in shape but also get new players into the mix.”
The lack of a home playing surface last season meant the Yetti were forced to practice in Bentley and play out of Red Deer – meaning they didn’t truly have a home advantage, which can be crucial to competing in any sport.
“It’s going to be great and we are looking forward to it,” Bryenton said regarding the Yetti’s new home. “Last year was difficult because it was the first year of the Yetti in Sylvan lake and to not have the home arena was tough. We are really looking forward to having that home arena and hoping to have some fans come out and cheer for the Yetti.”
The junior Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League consists of lacrosse players ages 16-21 who have went through the minor leagues and would like to continue playing the original Canadian sport. After 21, players can then move onto the senior level of the league, which players can play indefinitely.
“This is the second year of the Yetti in Sylvan Lake, after previously being in Innisfail,” Bryenton said. “It’s a good opportunity for young athletes to continue playing after their minor Lacrosse is over.”
The team is currently looking to add to a staple crop of veterans and is recruiting players from all over the Sylvan Lake rural area.
“It is good Lacrosse,” Bryenton said. “All these players have played at a high level, it’s very fast and it’s really different than minor. You will see bigger and faster athletes and for those who aren’t that familiar with Lacrosse – the whole sport is catching on like wild fire.”
He added while many people may think that it’s solely cross-training for hockey and soccer, Lacrosse players tend to compare it more so to basketball.
“It’s hard to describe the amount of physicality that’s in this sport,” Bryenton said. “A lot of people compare it to hockey, but it’s actually a lot more like basketball. You take basketball and then add a whole lot of physical play.”
The Yetti will compete in the southern division of their league, which stretches from Lacombe to Medicine Hat.
“We will play Lacombe and Red Deer a lot,” Bryenton said. “Last year we had a good rivalry with those teams last year. Our record wasn’t great last year but we were competitive and in most games. We want to take that next step in the division.”
Part of the Yetti’s regular season struggle stemmed from practice time. With their own arena, Assistant Coach Ryan McColm – who has 13 years of experience in Lacrosse – is looking forward to stretching out the teams x’s and o’s.
“We have a lot of new faces – which is a good sign for any lacrosse team,” McColm said. “We want to be a little more strategic and step up our game as coaches. I have a few plays up my sleeve after playing lacrosse for 13 years.”
He added that the Yetti have a solid core of veterans to build from.
“I have about four key players coming back who I know can make it far in Lacrosse if they stick with it,” he said. “It will come down to some one-on-one practising. It is going to be a good season, I am looking forward to it. Go Yetti.”