P.A. pioneers

Submitted photo

Saskatchewan U19 girls return from NAIG as first to compete in lacrosse

A group of Prince Albert teens have recently returned from Ontario where they made an impact as part of the first-ever Saskatchewan athletes to compete at the North American Indigenous Games as female lacrosse players.

This year was the women’s debut for the sport, which was traditionally only played by men.

Several other provinces had a leg up on Saskatchewan’s girls. Saskatchewan doesn’t have a girls’ lacrosse league. Prince Albert had the province’s only all-girls team this year.

Other provinces, such as Ontario, do have leagues for women and girls to play. That gave their girls’ teams a leg up on the competition.

While Team Saskatchewan, led by local lacrosse coach Tyson Fetch, finished outside of the medal round, they put on a strong performance.

“I’m not disappointed in a fourth-place finish at all,” Fetch said. “I was very proud of the way the girls played.”

Fetch was impressed by the way the girls came together as a team, improving each time they played a game.

“From our first game to our last, we were a different team,” he said.

Saskatchewan opened the tournament with a big 17-2 win over Eastern Door and The North, before dropping their second contest 13-4 to British Columbia.

The girls then triumphed over Manitoba in a tight 5-3 game, but got smushed 14-5 by the powerful Ontario squad.

The two sides faced off in a semi final rematch, where Ontario won big again, coming away with a 21-1 victory.

BC downed the Saskatchewan girls 10-3 in the bronze medal game, while Eastern Door and the North squeaked past Ontario to take home the gold.

While they may not have come home with a medal, Fetch said the girls came back with a greater understanding of what the game of lacrosse means to so many.

For more on this story, please see the July 26 print edition of the Daily Herald