It definitely is a case of short-term pain for long-term gain for the sport of lacrosse in Delta.
Typically, the minor box lacrosse association would be making full use of the Ladner Outdoor Box at this time of year in preparation for the coming season that will be underway in early April. However, it is unavailable as construction continues to transform the venue into a year-round covered and lighted sports court. The $2.1 million project is expected to be completed in early June and no sport organization in the city will benefit more than lacrosse.
“It’s going to give us the opportunity to grow and have more technical training year round. It’s bringing all the things to Delta that our (rivals) have in their communities. So now we can compete with those top clubs,” said Delta Lacrosse president Dave Glover.
According to Delta parks and recreation director Carmen Gonzalez, there could be other sport amenities added in the future but the project was more about giving the lacrosse community a year-round all-weather facility. It’s also expected to greatly benefit the Junior Islanders program that typically is renting floor space elsewhere, including the Langley Events Centre. The senior Ladner Pioneers can get a head start on their season too.
“The aim of having this is increasing our dry floor space availability throughout the year. That's important for us,” said Gonzalez. “We've heard from lacrosse that there's a need there and we think it's going to be a great project that'll provide more space for them.
“It’s really focused on covering (the existing) lacrosse box. Because we aren’t making any changes to the surfacing, it’s really intended for and primary use as dry floor space. Of course when they are out of season and what not, we’ll be looking at what options are there but right now the focus is just on putting a cover over the facility.”
Glover added the venue could be utilized when Delta hosts the B.C. Pee Wee (U13) Championships for all tiers July 7 to 10. Games are expected to be scheduled throughout the city including Sungod Arena in North Delta.
In the meantime, the association is getting help from the City Delta to accommodate pre-season training with limited venues, especially with ice still in arenas.
“Our vice-president of minor lacrosse Renee Close has done a really good job of organizing everything,” added Glover. “We’re managing to use the outdoor box at Delview Park in North Delta and the Tsawwassen outdoor box. Delta has helped us out a ton by bringing in temporary lights and generators so we are able to have those 6 p.m. practices.”
There will also be some initial juggling with home games as the Ladner Leisure Centre won’t be available until late April as ice will remain in place longer than normal for the Cyclone Taylor Cup junior “B” provincial championships, April 7-10.