PLAYERS GETTING TOP-NOTCH THERAPY AND EQUIPMENT CARE

  MANCHESTER, England _ You won’t find Stephen Lobsinger, Steven Kopas, Terry Rayner or Paul Wade in Team Canada’s lineup at the world field lacrosse championships but they have important roles.
           Lobsinger is team athletic therapist and advises head coach Dave Huntley on the status of various players’ injuries. Kopas is the other therapist making sure players are treated properly, while Rayner and Wade are on top of all equipment issues.


           “Having these guys here is crucial,’’ says attacker Zack Greer.
           Lobsinger, who works at two clinics in Guelph, never played lacrosse but he’s become a big fan of the sport.
           “I’ve been working up through the ranks in lacrosse,’’ he says. “I love the sport, the athleticism and the skill that’s involved.’’
           The Guelph resident, who is living his first world championship experience, came highly recommended for his work with the MLL’s Toronto Nationals and the OLA’s KW Kodiaks. He also was an athletic therapist in the NLL for two years when Chicago had a team.
           Kopas didn’t play lacrosse either. He’s head athletic therapist at Seneca College in Toronto, was therapist for Scotland at the 2003 world indoor tournament, and was with the Brampton Excelsiors from 2003-2008.
          “It’s a fantastic sport,’’ he says of lacrosse. “It intrigues me _ the skill that they have with the ball and the aim and accuracy they have.’’
          He’s worked with rugby player in the past and next week goes on to Norway with Canada’s team at the world baton twirling championships. He was asked as he stood on the sidelines during practice which Team Canada players he thought would make good baton twirlers.
        “No comment,’’ he replied with a laugh.
         Rayner is a Durham Region police officer from Whitby. He was a therapist with the 2002 world field team. He has a lacrosse background having co-captained the 1996 Brock University side with current Team Canada player Shawn Williams.
         “It’s really just the camaraderie with the guys,’’ he replied when asked why he was interested in being part of this venture. “There’s a lot of people on this team I have really good friendships with that developed over the years starting back with my days at Brock.
         “I’m walking back from practice right now and hanging out with one of my best friends, Shawn, who got me involved in the sport.’’
         He’s on the inside with many of the best players in the world.
         “The dressing room atmosphere, there’s nothing else like it,’’ he says.
        Wade is from Oshawa and just finished training to be a firefighter. He played high school field lacrosse and was on the equipment staff when Canada won the world field title in 2006. He’s been equipment manager for the OLA’s Brooklin Redmen for seven years, he’ll be GM of the Ontario peewee team at the nationals in Whitby in August, and during his winters he referees OHA senior and junior games as well as university league games. As well, as on-floor manager for the NLL’s Toronto Rock, he runs promotions during games.
         “I love the game, I have a passion for the game,’’ he says about lacrosse.
         On being in Manchester: “This is a great group of guys. They’re great athletes and great guys to be around to talk lacrosse with. It’s a great sport. It’s lacrosse in the summer and hockey in the winter for me.’’
           Defenceman Mac Allen has been on the massage table a lot.
           “The therapists are taking care of all the bumps and bruises and the wear that occurs when you’re playing seven games in nine days, and the equipment guys are also extremely important to us,’’ he says. “They’ve done a great job making sure we’ve always got what we need so we don’t have to worry about those things.’’

Neil Stevens
Team Canada media contact

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