TRENTON — Members of Pictou County Lacrosse have returned home from a national lacrosse tournament and are glad to have been a part of it.
Nolan Fukes, Aidan Sims, Marshall Brown and Lachlan MacDonald were part of the Halifax Jr. Thunderbirds’ bantam-aged team that took part in the National Lacrosse League’s seventh annual Junior NNL box lacrosse tournament that took place from August 23 to 25 in Oakville, Ont.
Fukes is a peewee-aged player, while the others are bantam-aged.
The team they were on won one of the five games they played and placed fourth in their division. Their one win was against a team from Saskatchewan.
The Thunderbirds also assembled peewee and midget teams for the tournament.
Box Lacrosse is played on a standard sized arena floor and features six players that include a goaltender and five runners on a roster of up to 20 players. The bantam team the local players were on had 16 players.
It was the first time for all four players to have gone on an extended trip out of the province.
“It was amazing,” Fukes said. “I’m happy I was picked to go. I’m glad how we played lacrosse with people from around the world.”
MacDonald said he has never felt in any sport like he feels now after having been at the lacrosse event.
“It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had,” he said. “Baseball and hockey are not comparable.”
For Brown, it was the first time he was away for any sport.
“It was awesome, really fun,” he said. “I’m so happy to be part of it.”
Sims said he appreciates the special bond lacrosse generates.
“It was fun, a good opportunity for scouts,” he said. “I like lacrosse because it’s such an inviting community.”
MacDonald echoed Sims’ feeling of camaraderie among opposing teams and players, knowing that lacrosse — for all its speed and skill — can be a rough, physical sport.
“As hard as you hit someone, they forgive you,” he said.
Pictou County Lacrosse executive director Craig Fukes said all four players are experienced. He appreciates how they had this opportunity to play in a higher-profile event.
It was the first time there for us and the talent is unbelievable,” he said. “It was a really good learning experience. It showed the players what they need to do to get to that level.”
The local lacrosse group plays and practises at the Trenton Minor Sports Community Centre from April through June. It had 42 members last spring, whose total was down almost half from the previous spring.
Fewer first-time younger players and no midget-aged players contributed to the decline in numbers, he said.
From left: Nolan Fukes, Aidan Sims, Marshall Brown and Lachlan MacDonald stand in front of Trenton Minor Sports Community Centre where they play lacrosse. (Goodwin photo)