Brady Irwin believes lacrosse could become the next big thing in Sault Ste. Marie.
The accredited Soo Spartans coach and former city councillor helped lead a pair of free lacrosse classes for children at École Notre-Dame-du-Sault this afternoon – the first of four “Try Lacrosse” events this year.
He was blown away with the turnout.
“It’s really to give parents the opportunity to see if their child likes the sport before signing up for spring league,” Irwin said. “We had 50 to 60 kids the first year out of the pandemic. Last year we were up to 80, and this year we’re hoping to be above 120. It’s really exciting.”
Recognized as Canada’s national sport, lacrosse has played a huge role in Irwin’s family as both of his sons grew up playing the game. One of them even plays at the college level in Michigan.
“Kids love lacrosse, partly because it’s a level playing field,” he said. “There are sports like hockey where some kids are skating since they were two or three years old. But in lacrosse, you can pick up a stick at the age of eight or nine and be as good as anyone else on the floor.”
“Multi-sport activities are very important, and we strongly encourage hockey families in particular who are on the ice several times a week to think about doing something else during the spring – and get them running in particular,” he added.
To help promote the sport, Irwin told SooToday that the Sault Ste. Marie Lacrosse Association will be making stops at a number of schools throughout the year.
“We have several ADSB schools lined up, and we’ll end up introducing lacrosse to more than 1,000 kids,” he said. “Our goal is to get them to a point where they play in the league. Right now, most of these young kids have never had a stick in their hands because of the pandemic. It’s new for a lot of them.”
Understanding that finances are always a top concern for families looking to get their kids involved in activities, Irwin explains lacrosse doesn’t cost a fortune.
“It’s one of the more affordable sports in town,” he said. “So many sports have gotten so expensive, and we want to have something where kids can play a team sport and not break the bank doing it – that’s lacrosse.”
The next “Try Lacrosse” event runs on Feb. 24 at École Notre-Dame-du-Sault.
Then, the Soo Spartans Spring League will gear up for another season from May to June.