Mikayla Morgan

Juan de Fuca league crosse-ing into a new realm

New uniforms, female-only teams are part of the new picture
at JDF Lacrosse

Big things have been happening at Juan de Fuca Lacrosse.

In celebration – and in fact, as one of those big things – they recently unveiled their new jerseys, a  slick green, black and white number that the teams will be sporting as of this coming season.

According to Susan Atkinson, jersey manager for the organization, the new jerseys were “about a year long process from idea to delivery.”

Herself and two others used a design contest to generate ideas for the jerseys before sorting through the over 200 submissions by over 70 designers from all over the globe. The three finalists were then taken to the JDF executive to be voted on, and even then, they chose two.

“We are extremely proud of the new logo and jersey we have produced,” Atkinson says. “The players gave us some fantastic feedback at the reveal (last Saturday) and are all very excited and are looking forward to playing the 2015 season in a fresh new look.

But although the jerseys are a great new addition to the association, they haven’t been their main focus of late, according to JDF Lacrosse 1st vice president Jenal Coakley.

“Our big push this year was to get all-female lacrosse teams,” she says. And it looks as though that big push has borne fruit, because they are currently accepting registrations for these squads in collaboration with the other lacrosse associations in the region.

“We are super excited to finally have the girls program going in Victoria,” Coakley says. “The planning started back in 2012 when the Female Nationals were hosted at what was then Bear Mountain. The funds raised from that event have been sitting waiting for the right time to launch the girls program – and 2015 is it,” Coakley says.

Nanaimo, Coakley says, has worked really hard and spent all this time developing their teams, “and it’s great that they’ll now have another place to play on the Island.”

All the lacrosse associations have worked very closely and cooperate very well in developing their various leagues and teams, and in making games happen, Coakley says.

“Vancouver comes to us, we don’t go across to them, but we pick them up at the ferry and take them to games, and then take them back to the ferry afterward,” she adds, highlighting the level of co-operation and co-ordination involved logistically between the associations.

“If we could get Cowichan involved, we’d be able to form an Island league,” Coakley says, which could be a reality in the near future, as they have started having “drop-in sessions” similar to how the JDF’s girl’s teams started forming this past January. Those sessions encourage interested or inquiring girls drop in to organized practices and learn the game for free to see if they like the sport and want to get more involved. If enough girls take a liking to it, and want to play regularly, teams can start to be formed and games can start to be scheduled.

Teams need a minimum of 10 players to field a squad, and can dress a maximum of 18. Coakley says she can confirm enough registrations have come in for the Novice and Bantam squads to form teams, and the Pee Wee team is getting close to having enough players to meet the minimum.

The league will run from March to the end of June, according to Coakley, and there are also additional opportunities for the girls to travel to the mainland for “female-only” tournaments, if they wish. The Juan de Fuca Association will also be hosting a women’s bracket as part of their annual tournament in March, as well.

Each association (Esquimalt, JDF, Peninsula and Saanich) will be home to an all-female team. Girls born in 1999-2000 (Midget) and 2001-2002 (Bantam) will play out of Saanich; girls born in 2003-2004 (Pee Wee) will play out of Peninsula; girls born in 2005-2006 (Novice) will play out of JDF and girls born in 2007-2008 will play out of Esquimalt.

Check out jdflacrosse.com for more information or to register. Girls must register in the catchment area in which they live, but will then be placed on the team they will play for based on age after registration is complete. More on the new “female-only” lacrosse system – including registration fees – can be found at the bottom of the box on the left under “Girls Lacrosse.”

mdavies@goldstreamgazette.com

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