By Josh Howald
It’s been a long time coming.
Kincardine has a lacrosse team for the first time since 1979, and the Kincardine Highlanders took the floor for the first action of the season on the May 31 weekend in Fergus.
“We got killed, but we’re learning,” said Adam Brown on Sunday. “Some of the other teams have told us it took them seven or eight years to get it. We’re getting better, and it is a lot of fun.”
The Highlanders play in the Junior Masters Lacrosse league against centres with longstanding minor lacrosse programs. Kincardine’s team is comprised of players who have just picked up the game in the last couple of years, with some much needed help from imports who grew up playing the game, but now live in the Kincardine area.
“The goal is to put a team on the floor that is entirely local,” said Brown. “We want to have straight Kincardine roster, we haven’t quite been able to do that yet, but we’re getting there.”
Every Tuesday and Thursday evening, the players gather at the Davidson Centre to play pick-up. That’s how this all began. New players are encouraged to come out and give it a try – they even have extra sticks on hand in order to allow those new to the sport an opportunity.
“Honestly, we would like to see more hockey players out,” said Brown. “The game is so transferable. We have had a few come out, and not come back because of the running. There is no coasting, but it’s a great game.”
In Fergus, the Highlanders were walloped in the opening game by Essex. The lone bright spot was a two-goal performance from Tom Humphrey.
Kincardine had two games Saturday. Putting forth their best effort of the weekend against a tough Brampton squad, Kincardine managed to keep this once close through two periods. However, the only goal the Highlanders could score in a high-scoring third was a beauty from Wingham’s Bill Lloyd. Brampton walked away with the third period and the win.
Following a lengthy team meeting, Kincardine regrouped and faced an eager Halton Hills team. Despite having the attack clicking, Kincardine couldn’t manage the ball on defence, and it cost them. Shawn Snow was the leading goal scorer for Kincardine, potting a pair in the loss.
The team then played the reigning provincial champions from Orangeville. This one was ugly, despite the best efforts of goaltender Tom Church. Church, who tends goal for the Ripley Wolves of the WOAA Senior AA League in the winter months, has been Kincardine’s saving grace so far this season, said Brown.
“He has been just awesome,” said Brown. “The guy is facing 60, 70 shots a game and somehow he always keeps us in it. His determination and grit showed through the entire weekend.”
While Kincardine failed to pick up a win, for participating the Highlanders did gain a critical four points towards qualifying for the provincial championship tournament in August. But much work is to be done before that.
The Junior Masters League is a non-contact, no-slash league for players between the ages of 21 and 34. As mentioned, any new players are welcome to try it out at the Davidson Centre Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
“We have about 30 in total,” said Brown. “But it’s been hit-or-miss, and some nights we’re playing 4-on-4 with no subs. We could use some more players.”