Excitement Sweeps Through Victoria Lacrosse Community as Sport Earns Olympic Status.


Excitement Sweeps Through Victoria Lacrosse Community as Sport Earns Olympic Status.

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In a groundbreaking move, lacrosse, a sport deeply ingrained in the Canadian city of Victoria, is poised to make its return to the Olympic stage in Los Angeles in 2028, a feat unimaginable since its last appearance in London in 1908. This development is met with resounding enthusiasm from players and enthusiasts alike, marking a significant milestone for the sport.

Casey Wilson, a prominent figure in the Canadian lacrosse scene, having represented silver-medalist Canada at the world lacrosse championship last spring, is just one of many Canadians eager to witness their beloved sport on the Olympic platform.

Darren Reisig, a former Victoria Shamrocks player and head coach at Claremont Secondary, expressed his elation, stating, “This is awesome news and will help lacrosse grow.” His impending induction into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2023 further solidifies his status as a key figure in the sport’s legacy.

The proposal for the inclusion of lacrosse, alongside cricket, baseball, softball, flag football, and squash, is set to undergo a vote during the IOC meetings in Mumbai, India, with passage widely anticipated. The Olympic lacrosse format, aptly named Sixes, will incorporate elements from both box and field games, featuring six-on-six play on a condensed field. With his extensive experience in both versions of the sport, Reisig believes this format will facilitate the sport’s accessibility and growth, particularly for emerging nations.

Reisig’s decorated lacrosse career includes three Mann Cup national championships with the Shamrocks in box lacrosse, as well as coaching over 125 Claremont players who have transitioned to the U.S. collegiate NCAA in field lacrosse since 2008. Additionally, he clinched the Minto Cup national Junior A championship in box lacrosse with Esquimalt Legion and proudly represented Canada twice at the world field-lacrosse championships.

World Lacrosse lauded this development as a “monumental milestone for our sport,” emphasizing the global significance of lacrosse’s inclusion in the 2028 Summer Games.

Mike Simpson, head coach of the Shamrocks, echoes the sentiment, saying, ‘We all grew up dreaming of being in the Olympics in some sport. This is going to be a fantastic development for young men’s and women’s lacrosse players.’

Having been a player himself, Simpson also appreciates the chosen format: ‘It reaffirms the value of both styles – box and field. It’s bound to be incredibly exciting and will lead to plenty of scoring.’

Lacrosse has graced the Olympic stage twice, exclusively featuring men’s teams. In the 1904 St. Louis Olympics, with three teams in contention, Canada clinched gold and the Canada Mohawk Nation secured bronze. Similarly, in the 1908 London Olympics, with only two nations participating, Canada took home gold and Great Britain earned silver. Lacrosse also made appearances as a demonstration sport in the 1928 Amsterdam, 1932 Los Angeles, and 1948 London Olympics, as well as in box lacrosse at the 1978 Edmonton Commonwealth Games and field lacrosse at the 1994 Victoria Commonwealth Games.

The addition of new sports for the L.A. 2028 Olympics will have a comparable impact on the Island as the significant inclusion for Tokyo 2020. This previous addition included surfing, a sport deeply rooted in Tofino, and wall climbing, which sees many of Canada’s top climbers training at Boulders Gym in Central Saanich.

The reintroduction of women’s softball for the 2028 Olympics is a significant development for Canada’s rising 18-year-old pitching sensation, Ruby Anderson of Victoria. This news is equally meaningful for Emma Entzminger of Victoria, who secured a bronze medal with Canada in the 2000 Tokyo Olympics and is currently gearing up to compete in the 2023 Pan Am Games this month in Santiago, Chile.

Notably, softball and baseball will not feature in the 2024 Paris Olympics, reflecting France’s limited connection to bat-and-ball sports. Anderson will be at the peak of her career, while Entzminger will be 32 in 2028.

Entzminger expressed her thoughts, stating, ‘It’s definitely on my mind, and I would love to do it, but I will take it year by year,’ in an interview with the Times Colonist.



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