Canada’s Team Hits the Ground with Outdoor Practice

News Release

 From Canadian Men’s Indoor Lacrosse Team

 Thursday, May 19, 2011

 CANADA’S TEAM HITS THE GROUND WITH OUTDOOR PRACTICE

     PRAGUE – Canada’s best lacrosse players found the perfect box lacrosse bowl in the suburbs of the Czech capital to practice in Thursday.

     A green artificial playing surface is surrounded by boards adorned with logos of sponsors and it’s lighted to allow for night games involving the club team that calls it home. There is an adjacent clubhouse and restaurant. Nothing similar for Canada’s national summer sport exists back home.

     “It’s amazing,’’ said goaltender Anthony Cosmo. “To have one of these back home would be awesome.

     “The guys that play here are pretty lucky. I play in the best rinks in North America but I think this has more appeal in terms of the tradition behind it, and it’s right in the middle of town. If you miss the ball, it might be going through somebody’s window, but it’s just amazing. I’ve been taking it in and appreciating it since the moment we got here.’’

     Defenceman Sandy Chapman remembers practising in an outdoor bowl in Brampton when he played junior.

     “It was asphalt though,’’ he said. “If you took a spill, you’d cut up your knees bad. It wasn’t as nice as this but this definitely brings back memories of that.’’

     It’d be quite something to have similar lacrosse facilities in Canada, said defenceman Sandy Chapman.

     “No doubt,’’ said Chapman. “Kids could come out and play. It’s so nice out here today. It’s just fun to throw the ball around.’’

     It was an afternoon practice on a hot day under a blue sky on the team’s first full day in the Czech Republic. Canada plays its first game of the first world indoor tournament held outside Canada against Slovakia in a 4,900-seat arena in the city on Sunday.

     “Warm is an understatement,’’ Cosmo replied when asked what it felt like under all his equipment. “The temperature has to be in the 30s in the beating-down sun. It took a little bit out of me. I’m not used to it.’’

     Canadian Lacrosse Association president Joey Harris sat in the stands watching the players go through drills with head coach Ed Comeau.

     “This is an excellent facility for box lacrosse,’’ Harris said. “It’s outside in the community where kids can play on a first-class floor whenever they want.

     “There’s a nice clubhouse at the back. It’s something we’re missing back home where we’re usually in big huge rec centres. It would be nice to have more facilities like this where kids can walk up and play at any time of day. This is great.’’

     Most organized lacrosse in Canada is played in arenas during summer to avoid game cancellations due to rain. Most outdoor bowls that remain don’t have artificial turf, mainly because of weather conditions and winter use for hockey, and are not built and maintained to the standard used by the Canadian men’s team on Thursday.

     “My knees probably have about 50th generation skin from playing on concrete,’’ Harris said. “Our weather limits us, and we have to fight hockey for arena time waiting for the ice to come out.

     “Having something like this that is dedicated to lacrosse . . . this is a dream for most people back home in Canada.’’

     There are as many as 90,000 participants in organized lacrosse in Canada. There are far fewer in the Czech Republic but it is becoming more and more popular, which is easy to understand given the existence of facilities that Comeau and his crew enjoyed using to get the kinks out on their first full day in the Czech Republic.

 

Team media contact: Neil Stevens at loose47@live.com

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