The St Peter's Area Rink will host some box lacrosse games this spring as part of a Lacrosse PEI program to expose athletes to the indoor version of the sport.
It’s one of several arenas where the governing body has booked time, along with others in Charlottetown, Bedeque, Cascumpec and, potentially, Tignish.
Lacrosse PEI president Norman McGuirk says St. Peter’s became an option last summer when the organization contacted rinks looking for more floor time than they could get in Charlottetown.
This year, they learned the Eastern Kings Sportsplex won’t be open in the summer so they turned to St. Peter’s again.
Mr McGuirk said they were looking for a host rink in eastern PEI because many kids are from Morell and eastward.
The number of games played in each arena and how teams will be put together will be determined after registration, based on how many players sign up in each age group. The box lacrosse program is open to kids aged 7 to 18.
At the very least, players will be able to practice at the rink closest to them, Mr McGuirk said. But many games will still be played in central locations.
Jason Palmer, secretary of the St. Peter's rink board, said it’s a nice bonus to have off-season rentals to help pay the insurance and electricity bills.
“It’s a big difference-maker. Insurance never stops coming out, every month.”
Last year, the rink was rented once or twice a week for lacrosse, two hours at a time, Mr Palmer said.
He hopes parents will be allowed to watch, unlike last year, although he said it will be mostly practices.
PEI’s only operating natural ice rink is also doing some renovations with funding from the Rotary Club of Montague and Eastern PEI, as well as the province.
Among other cosmetic changes, the Zamboni doors are being fixed and new latches were added for the player doors. The rink was also able to buy a new defibrillator battery and a CO2 monitor.
Meanwhile, Lacrosse PEI is hoping to have male and female lacrosse teams at the 2022 Canada Games in Ontario. Mr McGuirk said that hasn’t been part of the Games since 1985.
“This is a good time to try to make it work on PEI,” he said.
Field lacrosse players are invited to try the indoors version, and Mr McGuirk said it can greatly help their game.
“The beauty of box lacrosse, it’s in an enclosed area and it’s a lot faster of a game. It speeds up the game, increases your hand-eye coordination and once we get on the bigger fields, it improves the catching, passing, throwing and shots. It improves the goalies because in box (lacrosse) you get a lot quicker shots.”
The hope is to begin the season May 3 and run until the end of June.