Laurier to host men’s field lacrosse tournament
The Canadian University Field Lacrosse Association (CUFLA) will kick off their season here at Laurier this weekend, as the men’s lacrosse team hosts the Western conference series.
Competing in the Western conference are Laurier, Laurentian, Western, McMaster, Guelph and Brock.
Playing against a large majority of varsity validated teams, Laurier stands as one of the only non-sanctioned squads.
“The tournament is an idea we generated with the university in an effort to make money,” said head coach Grant Phillips.
“We don’t get financial support from the school … so we have to do the things that are necessary to make the sport financially viable.”
With 20 years of lacrosse experience behind him, Phillips works as a volunteer coach hoping to raise the profile of the league.
The Hawks hope to attract a larger fan base by holding the opening season games in Waterloo.
“A lot of people that come into the school don’t even know that we have a lacrosse team,” said third year captain and two-time Junior A champion Glen Bryn.
With this year’s budget cuts, campus clubs, varsity teams and other extra-curriculars are left in a tight spot, but Phillips is hopeful.
“Lacrosse is always going to be a niche sport, but I think we’re approaching a golden age,” said Phillips.
“It’s the love of the sport,” said first-year Jamie Elliot.
“Any chance we get to play is awesome even if it’s not funded by the school.”
The team maintains a few private sponsors, but looks to recruit other sources of income and establish additional support.
“It’s a fairly young program,” said Elliot.
“Hopefully by the time I’ve reached fourth year we’ll have greater recognition.”
The tournament kicks off this Saturday when the Hawks face off against Laurentian at 1:00 p.m.