Archive for the ‘General Lacrosse’ Category

Donnan and Vimy Lacrosse Open Houses

Posted: February 2, 2016 by Paul Rai in General Lacrosse



(Grades 7 – 12)

Vimy Ridge Academy and Vimy Lacrosse will be hosting their annual Open House on Thursday, February 11th from 7 – 9 pm. Vimy Ridge Academy is located at 8205 – 90 Avenue.  The Open House is open to the public and no registration is required to attend.

The Open House is a great opportunity for prospective male and female student-athletes to see what Vimy Lacrosse has to offer.  Bring your helmet and stick and take shots in our Shooting Cage. Our radar gun will be set up to measure your shot speed. Meet our Teachers and Instructors, passionate about providing sports-alternative education to student-athletes.

Vimy Lacrosse is currently in its 11th year of providing academic and athletic opportunities to its students. Come learn about the specific lacrosse training provided by Vimy Lacrosse in box lacrosse, men’s field lacrosse and women’s field lacrosse.


(Grades 5 – 6)

Donnan School and Donnan Lacrosse will be hosting their annual Open House on Wednesday, February 24th from 6 – 8 pm. Donnan School is located at 7803 – 87 Street. The Open House is open to the public and no registration is required to attend.

The Donnan Lacrosse program is available for Grade 5 and 6 student-athletes, male and female, who are interested in combining the skill development of lacrosse with overall athletic enhancement.  The objective of the program is to develop a foundation of lacrosse skills while working on overall movement and sport skills, which leads to physical literacy.  Student-athletes are exposed to both field and box lacrosse, while being led through numerous other sports to build upon their active lifestyles. Also come ask us how to combine the Donnan Hockey and Lacrosse programs.

The Open House is an opportunity for prospective student-athletes to learn about Donnan School and meet the teachers and instructors involved with the Donnan Lacrosse program. Donnan Lacrosse is having a successful first year and we look to build upon it in 2016/17.



Don’t Pull Your Goalie

Posted: December 30, 2015 by Paul Rai in Alberta Lacrosse, General Lacrosse, Vimy Lacrosse

After a tragic auto accident in June, the Penn State men’s lacrosse team lost their friend, 21-year-old red shirt sophomore goalie Connor Darcey. The team created this tribute video in his memory. To watch the video go to:

As we move into 2016 it’s important to be grateful for the wonderful lacrosse memories we have from 2015 and look forward to even more in 2016. For Vimy Lacrosse the past year has been exceptional and we are excited about the great opportunities for our players in 2016.

Happy New Year!

Lucky I Am

Posted: November 23, 2015 by Paul Rai in General Lacrosse, Vimy Lacrosse

It has been a long Fall lacrosse season. It started with the trip to Toronto with two teams playing in the Junior NLL Tournament. Back home for a couple of weeks and then off to the Onondaga Nation where the World Indoor Lacrosse Championships were being held. Back home again as the Harvest Lacrosse League was in full swing with six field teams playing in the league. Then at the end of October off to Denver with two Vimy teams playing in a 3D Lacrosse tournament. Home for a couple days then travel to Toronto and Rochester with the Vimy Girls High School team.  I then remained out east and met the Vimy Boys High School team as they played in Delaware and Pennsylvania.  All this was going on while the Vimy Winter Lacrosse Program was kicking off in Leduc. Through all this travel I believe I have spent more time this Fall with families other than my own. Finally back home a week ago today and I am just starting to feel some normalcy again.

With all the lacrosse chaos that has been going on with the teams, the travel and the coaching, I have had little time to reflect on the experiences til now. It has become very clear to me, when I do a self-assessment, that I am a lucky individual. I get to work with some unbelievable student-athletes in a sport that I love. I have the opportunity to coach them and watch them develop. There are definitely the potholes along the way as lessons are forgotten and mistakes are made. There are growing pains, especially with the younger teams as they learn the field lacrosse game. Our females are also learning and have taken their lumps, but they get themselves up and show great resiliency. It is those moments in time, when I see the players’ perseverance, that I know I am where I need to be.

The Vimy players are going places. Our female players are getting recognized. Our High School boys are playing some of their best lacrosse I have seen in the program. The potential in the program is amazing and I expect some great things for some of our players in the next year or two. That is a result of the amount of work the student-athletes have dedicated to the sport of lacrosse over the past several years.

The Vimy Winter Lacrosse Program is a great time for me because I get to see so many new players to the sport of lacrosse. The enthusiasm is contagious and the energy is exciting. The mini tyke and tyke players are the special ones, the youngsters just excited to pick up a ball and run. Do not get me wrong, it can be like herding cats, but it keeps you on your toes. I also love giving the Vimy sticks out to the players. I love seeing the players with our sticks in their hands and the pride they have in their new equipment.

None of this happens without supportive parents. So many parents have worked hard to make Vimy Lacrosse a success in the Edmonton area. I appreciate the support that parents have given to Vimy Lacrosse. I am extremely thankful.

It has been a great Fall season. The lacrosse has been phenomenal, the experiences have been valuable and the growth of our players has been exceptional. Looking towards the next great adventure. Vegas in February! Did I say how lucky I am?



Team Australia Day 9 and 10 at the WILC

Posted: September 29, 2015 by Paul Rai in General Lacrosse

The second last day of the tournament saw Australia meet the Czech Republic in the 7/8 game. The Czechs have not had a great tournament falling out of the Blue Division after a couple disappointing losses. This was our last game of the World Championships and I know the team wanted to end it off on a great note.

The game started off really well for us as we were able to score some goals. The offense was clicking and we were able to create some good offensive chances. On the backend we were doing a good job, but whenever we scored we gave up a goal. Things went south for us in the second half as the team could not get a stop. The Czechs scored easily and we could not respond.

By the end of the game the grind of the tournament started to take its toll on the team.  Three weeks of lacrosse, eight tournament games, several exhibition games, multiple training sessions and miles of travel caught up to the team. The well was dry. The players were trying, but the energy was sapped from the team. This is a team that relies on certain players to carry a lot of weight to keep the team afloat. The top teams have a deep roster of players that can be interchanged and the team never loses a step. The less experienced teams, such as Australia, rely on their leaders more. This is the nature of the beast and you could tell the team was playing on fumes.

Game ended in a loss to the Czech Republic and finished in eighth place out of 13 teams. There were some surprise teams, such as Israel and Ireland. These teams relied on North American based players to bolster their lineup and provide the team with the box lacrosse leadership to be successful. Every single player on the Australian team, except for Tristan, is Australian or lives in Australia. That is the one thing that was evident on this team. The players are from Australia and trying to build the box program within that country. That’s a tough thing to do with the limited facilities, but these players have a deep passion for the game. I have the greatest respect for this group of players, spending their own money to represent their country in a sport that is far from the mainstream in Australia. You need to love their desire to play box lacrosse. I found myself admiring their dedication and commitment to the game. It also made me feel so lucky that I have such an easy access to the sport in Canada. When I tell the Australians that I teach box lacrosse at Vimy Ridge they are in awe that such a program even exists. I do consider myself lucky.

I do need to recognize and thank the coaches and staff out the Australian team; Bob Carter, Alan Lewer, Greg Mollison, Adrian Burns and Ian Webb. All of the gentlemen sacrificed so much to be part of this team and it was obvious they love the indoor game and they love their country. They wanted only what was best for the team and they worked so hard to put the team together. So much work took place before I even arrived. The organization and preparation of the team was evident in all the details. I can only thank them for allowing me to participate with the team and be a part of the experience. It was the best sporting experience I have been a part of and it would not have happened without the Australian staff allowing me inside their team. I will always be thankful for that opportunity.

The final day of the tournament was the Bronze and Gold medal games in the Carrier Dome. A rink was built in the middle of the football field and the scene was spectacular. The USA won the Bronze medal easily over Israel in the warm up game, but virtually everyone was there for the Iroquois/Canada game. Over 10,000 people were in the dome for the final of World Championship and it was a great game. The majority of fans were cheering for Iroquois and they played hard, but in the end Canada won the game 12-8. There were some extremely exciting moments of the game that got fans were out of their seats. It came down to the Canadian goalie, Matt Vinc. He was the difference maker as he made so many remarkable saves. The Iroquois defense matched up with Canada and the Iroquois offense was better. But Vinc stood tall and some bad turnovers turned in favor of Canada. It was disappointing to the majority of the fans, but it was clear that the game of indoor lacrosse is better today than it was two weeks ago.

The Onondaga nation put on a show of a lifetime. They invested their money to increase awareness of their sport and their traditions. The entire event provided some much more than the sport. It provided educational events and opportunities for people to learn more about the Haudenosaunee. The organizers did just a phenomenal job to ensure that people who attended were going to enjoy their experience. For me  I can not express enough how superb the entire event was. The biggest regret for me was that Aidan was not able to join us for the event due to his school commitments. It would have been awesome to have have him with us.

Leaving Syracuse was sad for me. Sad because I knew it was over. The euphoria and excitement of the event was over and I knew as I drove out of the city I had been part of something special. I met some great Australians, I saw some great lacrosse, my oldest was able to represent the county of his grandfather, I was able to coach at a World Championship and I saw lacrosse go home to where it was born. I only hope of more great lacrosse experiences ahead. Four years in Langley anyone?

Team Australia Day 8 at the WILC

Posted: September 25, 2015 by Paul Rai in General Lacrosse

This one hurts. Really hurts because the team came so close to knocking this Blue Division team off. I think the English know they were pushed to the limit today and were hanging on to dear life. We battled hard today, so hard. The entire lineup competed from the first whistle and we had a chance with the last shot to tie the game. They executed the offense and the defense. We had over 70 shots on goal and many of them point blank shots on the net. We scored a late one that looked to be in, but was called off for crease violation. No matter the call the players did not give up. I know this hurts the overall standing of the team, but this could have gone either way. It is sports in the most cruelest of fashions. It can be heartbreaking and this one was just that. But we dust off the pain and get back tomorrow against the Czech Republic for the 7/8 game. The Czechs started in the Blue Division, but have hit the skids so hopefully they are a fragile team we can take advantage of. If we do the same thing as today we will be okay.

All the guys played well today. We made some great adjustments defensively to shut them down and we make some offensive shifts to create offense by coming over the top. I was impressed at how the players adjusted and how much they have learned over the past 10 days that I have been there. The competition will do that. It will force teams to get better or get crushed. These guys are getting better.

This is not an easy sport. It is a very demanding sport. It is physical and exhausting. This team is heading into its eighth game in nine days at this tournament. I have to hand it to Ian Webb and the trainers the team has brought on board. Ian has been meticulous in their preparation, their stretching, their pregame routine and their post game routine. The Australian approach is so much different that the North American approach. Their use of ice baths, measuring body weight and just tracking injuries has been a great assistance to the team. Ian knows his stuff and has been integral to this team’s overall performance. He is a true professional. Big game tomorrow and I am sure Ian will have them ready physically to play.

Team Australia Day 4 at the WILC

Posted: September 21, 2015 by Paul Rai in General Lacrosse


Today was a tough one. We played against a gritty Irish team and we struggled to score goals and we were very careless defensively in the first half. The Irish goalie was very good and our inability to hit out shots really hurt us. By the end of the game we were tentative with our shooting and our confidence was shot. Trevor Brennan, our goalie, was knocked out early with and ankle injury and that threw us into chaos. The final score was 12 – 4, but we were down early 8 – 2 and could never recover.

Discipline and composure are so important in these competitions. We need to better at that part of the game. I understand the adrenaline and the willingness to compete, but control is so important. When the Irish team had the power play, their Canadian players made short work of us. Stephen Keogh, a pro player for the Rochester Knighthawks, took advantage of our mistakes and scored several goals on us. Ireland scored at least five or six power play goals. Give credit where credit is due. They had a good game plan and executed it on us.

On a sidebar note, Alberta lacrosse was represented well at the game. Tristan, Ben Snider and Andrew McBride all participated in the game. I was on the Australia bench and Able Conn was on the Ireland bench. Nice to see at the end of the game that the sportsmanship and love for lacrosse was evident. Got to give Snider and McBride their dues, those two guys anchored the defense for Ireland.

Tomorrow we meet up with Finland in a rematch of our first game. We will have a different goalie in net and possibly some more changes due to injuries. Hopefully we learned some lessons and come out to play hard against this team. Let’s hope the confidence is high and the shooting accuracy is on mark. These Australian players are passionate about their team and their country. The fans of the team are so exuberant in their cheering and overall support of the team’s efforts. It is great to see. The players all mean so well in their efforts, we now need to point them in the proper direction. Their experience may be limited, but not the love for the game. They all want to win, it is so obvious. Now they are going to require a complete and near perfect performance to keep their dreams alive to move on to a Blue Division game. I am a believer of these players and their coaches. Time to get it going.

Team Australia Day 3 at the WILC

Posted: September 21, 2015 by Paul Rai in General Lacrosse

The third day of the tournament brought us a match up against the Swiss team. Switzerland had not won a game yet and were giving up goals. When I watched them play they played hard and were a scrappy team. Their stick skills were not great and they did not have structure in their game. This is to be expected from a new team in the FIL with very little influx of North American players on their roster. We rested a few of our players that had played a lot of minutes over the past two games. This is always a concern because you never want to take any team for granted. Before the games started both teams sang their national anthems. That was a lot of fun. I do think it may be time for Tristan to learn the Australian anthem, that may be a fine to the team fund.

The game started off tough for us as we tried to find some offensive rhythm, but when we finally found the back of the net the flood gates opened and we scored easily on them. It helped that the Swiss took numerous undisciplined penalties giving our power play unit several chances.  We were very good on the power play and created chance after chance. We even scored on the hidden ball trick as I think only a few people in the rink knew where the ball was.  Jeff Joy was very good for the team scoring four goals and four assists.  Rodney Maher and Peter Kwas each had three goals each. It was a great day where we had contributions from different players. Spreading the scoring around will benefit this team as we move forward and we need to get offensive contributions from all players. Keith Nyberg scored a nice pick and roll goal with Dave Gal assisting, so even the defensive guys were getting into the action.

The end result put us in the perfect spot. We won the pool and now will take on Ireland later today. The games now pick up in intensity and we will have to raise our game. The team is happy with what they accomplished in the first three games, but this is now a different round and the expectations and pressure will be higher. The team has worked hard to get here and I believe they will be mentally prepared for today’s game.

The day ended yesterday with most of the team heading to watch Canada take on Iroquois at the War Memorial Arena. Another great crowd, that definitely was pro Iroquois, was on hand for this affair.  Iroquois was in control of most of the game as they had the lead 8 – 4. Canada was out of sync and Iroquois’ ball movement was exceptional. They were fluid and were executing at a very high tempo. They caught Canada flat footed at the start of the game. Mark Matthews, from Canada, kept his team in the game scoring five goals. He was the reason Canada was hanging around and the Canada made the run to tie the game and then take the lead. Also Aaron Bold shut the door on the Iroquois late in the game and the experience and defense of Canada was able to secure the win.

It was a phenomenal game of skill and speed. The way the game is suppose to be played. It was fast, clean and physical. It is a lot of fun to watch the two teams go at it. The best players in the world playing in front of appreciative fans. It was great to be a part of it and I look forward to more games like it this week. Oh and by the way I got fined today for not knowing what a Joey was.