Saskatoon

Sask. lacrosse group says demand for facilities will hamper return to play

The governing body for Saskatchewan's roughly 3,500 lacrosse players says there will be less opportunities for box lacrosse players as rinks begin to install ice.

Association told some rinks will put in ice earlier, eliminating venues for box lacrosse

The Saskatchewan Lacrosse Association is hoping the province or municipalities can address the demand for facilities when various sports return to action. (Shutterstock)

The Saskatchewan Lacrosse Association (SLA) says demand for a limited number of facilities as various sports return to action could cost lacrosse players.

"We're kind of at our seams in terms of facilities," executive director Bridget Pottle said. "There's just not enough space."

Pottle said some of the SLA's member associations have been told rinks will be putting in ice sooner than normal for various reasons.

It means less opportunities for box lacrosse players, who normally play most of their season in the spring.

"There is no real plan put in place on who could get access to what and when and how that would go if facilities are going to put ice in earlier," she said.

"[Or] if they're going to stay open a little bit to allow the spring sports to have whatever little access they can with what's left of our seasons."

She said member associations have struggled with access to facilities in previous years, but it's going to be a lot harder to get what they need with many sports looking to return to play at the same time.

"There's just a facility shortage and I know we're not the only sport to have that issue," she said.

Province asked to intervene

The SLA requested the provincial government find a way for facility access to "remain as fair as possible for all sports" by keeping the ice out of some facilities so indoor activities can occur.

It also asked the province to ensure that there is field access for everyone by limiting the amount of space and time one group can book at a time.

In a letter from Sport Minister Gene Makowsky, the association was invited "to discuss how you see a time allocation strategy involving youth activities working in Saskatchewan."

Pottle said the association has sent a reply and is waiting to hear back from the province.

In regards to policies that govern facility use, Makowsky told the association to "work with the facility operator or municipality to seek an acceptable solution to scheduling issues."

Pottle said none of the sports are at fault for the access issue and her group is hoping municipalities can help address it.

"Whether that's helping to ensure more fair access to time or whether that's looking at building more facilities, that need is definitely there," she said.

Return-to-play plan in holding pattern

The association is also waiting for the province to release more details about Phase 4 before finalizing a return-to-play plan, Pottle said.

"Once we get those guidelines, we'll know more what the game is going to look like," she said.

She said lacrosse could be non-contact and have fewer players at first, in addition to stringent cleaning protocols and other physical distancing guidelines.

"I mean, there's a hundred different ways we can go about it," she said. "But until we have those guidelines we can't have anything set in stone."

There are about 3,500 lacrosse players in Saskatchewan.

About the Author

Kelly Provost is a newsreader and reporter with CBC News in Saskatoon. Email him at kelly.provost@cbc.ca.

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