No longer a fringe sport

Kenn Oliver
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Toronto Rock captain teaches basics to local youngsters

These days, Colin Doyle sees people sprinting around with lacrosse sticks everywhere he looks,

"It doesn't seems as much a fringe or specialty sport as it once did," saids the captain of the National Lacrosse League's Toronto Rock captain

The popularity of lacrosse - which is Canada's official national summer sport - is increasing everywhere, including the St. John's metro region, where a small but committed group of former field and indoor players have formed a league boasting 150 kids in its inaugural year.

Toronto Rock lacrosse team captain Colin Doyle (right) ran a three-day clinic at OHehir Arena where he taught the basics of the game to a group of kids. Photo by Keith Gosse photo/The Telegram

These days, Colin Doyle sees people sprinting around with lacrosse sticks everywhere he looks,

"It doesn't seems as much a fringe or specialty sport as it once did," saids the captain of the National Lacrosse League's Toronto Rock captain

The popularity of lacrosse - which is Canada's official national summer sport - is increasing everywhere, including the St. John's metro region, where a small but committed group of former field and indoor players have formed a league boasting 150 kids in its inaugural year.

"I think the game speaks for itself," said Doyle, who set up shop this week at O'Hehir Arena, where he offered a three-day clinic after being invited by James Hearn and Newfoundland Lacrosse. "

If kids gets a stick and a ball in their hands, the rest usually takes care of itself as long as you've got good people helping run it."

Since most of the kids attending this week's camp have only been playing lacrosse for a short time, Doyle's camp focused on the basics.

"Teaching them loose balls, catching, passing, shooting, cradling and trying to incorporate skill profession in fun games," explained the native of Kitchener, Ont. "We break it down to its simplest form and hope they pick it up piece by piece."

Instruction comes easily to Doyle, whose followed in his father's footsteps by becoming a junior high teacher.

"I think I've got those teaching genes in me," he said. "It's a perfect mix and it's why I like doing it so much, it's nice to be able to teach what you're good at."

For its part, Newfoundland Lacrosse wanted the participants to witness what a pro could do.

"He's arguably one of the best player in the world right now and certainly one of the best of all time. It's really nice to see what kind of things are possible with a lacrosse stick. It's cool for the kids," saids Hearn, who fell in love with lacrosse while attending Gilmour Academy, a prep school outside of Cleveland, Ohio.

By final day of the camp, Doyle was seeing some progress, even if the players are still quite raw.

"They were doing things they couldn't do fluently at the start of the week. Those who were here will have become better players whether they know it or not," he said.

Newfoundland Lacrosse recently sponsored Canadian box lacrosse player John Grant Jr. for the 2010 world championships. Grant, who was Team Canada's leading scorer at last year's worlds, is scheduled to come to St. John's for another camp next year.

Hearn is hopeful this first group of lacrosse players - some as young as seven and eight - stay with the sport.

"We don't have anything for kids past Grade 9 yet, but as these kids get older we'll keep it going for that age," he said.

koliver@thetelegram.com

Organizations: National Lacrosse League, Gilmour Academy, Team Canada

Geographic location: Newfoundland Lacrosse, St. John's, Canada Kitchener Cleveland, Ohio

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  • Darren
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    It was an honor to help Colin Doyle with the Lacrosse Camp for the three days, a total Class Act & hope he returns in the near future.