Jr. A Raiders Move Another Hit to Alberta Lacrosse

Posted: January 18, 2015 by Paul Rai in General Lacrosse

Raiders-logo-red-with-stickAccording to an article in the Western Wheel published yesterday, the Junior A Raiders are moving from the Pason Centennial Arena in Okotoks to Max Bell Arena in Calgary.  Click here to read the full article.  The Raiders played seven seasons in Okotoks and in 2011 hosted the Minto Cup out of Pason Arena.  I watched several games in that Minto Cup and coached many games in that arena over the course of several years.  The Pason Arena is one of the best lacrosse arenas in Alberta and to see the Jr A Raiders move out of the community is a sad day for Alberta lacrosse.  Let me say first, that according to the article, the community of Okotoks did try to find something that would work for the Raiders, but a viable solution was not available.  The Town is moving forward to putting ice in Pason year round instead of taking it out for lacrosse and other sports.

The Raiders will now play out of Max Bell Arena in Calgary, a very good lacrosse facility, and maintain the Okotoks name.  The sad part of this situation is that the Jr. A Raiders were working hard to create alignment with the Okotoks lacrosse community and grow the sport in that community.  The Raiders and many others in the lacrosse community are busting their butts to grow the game, but still fight tooth and nail with communities in the province to take the sport of lacrosse seriously.  The Town of Okotoks is making a business decision, but sometimes decisions need to reflect the fabric on the community.  This decision in Okotoks is one that sounds all too familiar across this province as associations fight with communities to gain access to lacrosse facilities.  Maybe we, as lacrosse people in the province, are not making enough noise about what this sport means to the youth playing the game and what it means in our overall heritage.  Maybe we are missing the boat.

Would this same decision be made in Peterborough?  Would they be taking the wood floor out of Queens Park Arena and starting up the ice plant?  Let’s say if they did that, there would be some serious blowback to the community leaders.  I guess because the Alberta lacrosse community sits as a small voice it is easy to ignore us.  Honestly, this decision from Okotoks pisses me off as much as it pisses me off that the Sherwood Park Arena is not available for playoff games in late July and August.  It is frustrating and disappointing.  You would never know that this province boasts two professional lacrosse teams.  Ontario and BC, the so-called lacrosse strongholds, only have one pro team each.  How is our voice not heard?  Do our numbers not justify a stronger voice?  Or is lacrosse in this province going to continue to be viewed as an ancillary sport, the “ugly cousin” of hockey?

Lots of questions, not a lot of answers.  Too many head shaking questions.

  1. David Wray says:

    Paul: Give your head a shake. Hockey rules in our locale. You must always keep in mind the dominant sports control the minds of the decision makers. Lacrosse will always be a secondary alterñative those who are aware of the opportunities that are available to athletes who want to pursue the sport of their chosing.The Raiders moving is a function of the reality oof the situation.

    • Paul Rai says:

      Dave, hockey rules in Ontario as much as it rules here in Alberta. Ontario hockey is a dominant force, they just have a strong lacrosse community that also has a voice. Our voice here in the province is quiet/weak – whatever you want to call it. The Raiders moving may be reality, doesn’t mean I have to agree with it or like it.

  2. Gary Shaddock says:

    They should have made the Murray arena work. They could have made it work but chose not to. It wouldn’t take much to improve the lighting there and there is plenty of seating and dressing rooms. Our kids play in the Piper for God sake! Talk about bad lighting, a low ceiling and bad spectating! We love lacrosse but Okotoks is a hockey town. There are more kids registered in minor hockey here than there are in Lethbridge and not nearly enough ice. All three of our kids play hockey. In the offseason one plays baseball, one plays lacrosse and one plays soccer. Unfortunately hockey does rule and that include pre-season conditioning camps…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s