The future of one of Canada’s national sports in Sylvan Lake looks bright after the Sylvan Lake Buccaneers Lacrosse Association was granted autonomy from its Red Deer counterpart.
The Buccaneers have been trying to separate from Red Deer for the past three years, and were successful in doing so late last year.
Although the move arrives a year later than planned − due to an unavailability in scheduling caused by the Sylvan Lake Arena’s collapse − early indications show it will help the sport thrive locally.
“We’re having a huge amount of people registering already, so I think for our first year it’s going to be big,” said Teresa Ottenbreit, media co-ordinator for the Buccaneers.
Solid numbers had already been tallied after just two days of registration, which opened Jan. 6. Should numbers continue to rise, it’s likely some age divisions − which range from Mini Tyke (born 2007/2008) to Midget (born 1997/1998) − will have more than one team.
Registration so far has seen a sharp increase over last year. Last year’s Peewee roster, for instance, had just 12 players, while this year, 16 had signed up in the first two days of registration. Numbers in Novice and Midget divisions were equally strong.
Though the Buccaneers have always played under the Sylvan Lake name, the organization previously operated under the Red Deer Lacrosse umbrella. Doing so required players to travel to Red Deer for tryouts and other team activities.
“Now we are on our own, we are no longer underneath Red Deer, we have control,” said Ottenbreit. “It will be nice to have it here and to grow it (lacrosse) here.”
An Open House at the Community Centre Jan. 27 will aim to do just that, and will bring awareness to the community of the Buccaneers’ existence. The 7-9 p.m. event will also act as something of an introduction to the sport for those who may be unfamiliar with it.
“Some of the older kids will show the littler kids that are interested, but have never played, kind of what it’s about,” said Ottenbreit.
The president of the Central Alberta Lacrosse League, in which the Buccaneers compete, will also be on hand for a question-and-answer session.
Player evaluations will take place in spring. All home games are played at the Sylvan Lake Multiplex.
Information on the Buccaneers is available on the Sylvan Lake Buccaneers Lacrosse Association Facebook page.