Pair of PA lacrosse players Prague bound for Ales Hrebesky Memorial tournament

Photo by Mark Peterson Media. Kyle Sawchuk (pictured) of the Prince Albert Prairie Dogs. Sawchuk will be joining Tanner Fetch at the 2023 Ales Hrebesky Memorial Tournament in Prague, Czech Republic

When the Canada Selects take to the field in Prague later next week, there will two familiar names for Prince Albert Outlaw fans donning the red and white.

Goaltender Tanner Fetch and defenseman Kyle Sawchuk are making the journey to the Czech Republic to suit up for the Canada Selects at the 2023 Ales Hrebesky Memorial Tournament.

Fetch says he is looking forward to representing his country on the international stage.

“It’s special. It’s not every day that you get to represent Canada at an international event. And when you do, you’re representing home, the true north, strong and free. You want to put on a show for the kids that are there and show them what Canada Lacrosse is all about. But you also want to make it something memorable for the kids and fans back home. So that they know that there’s opportunities like this moving forward as lacrosse players.”

Although it will not be the first time Fetch has competed at the tournament, it will his first time competing for the Canada Selects.

Previously, Fetch had suited up for the UK based London Knights after meeting some of the players while playing for Ireland in the pre-tournament of the 2017 European Box Lacrosse Championships.

Fetch said looking back at making the decision to join the Knights in the Alex Hrebesky was something he was glad he did.

“It was one of the greatest decisions I ever made because this tournament is like paradise since it’s an outdoor box. Grandstand, bar and restaurant connected and all of Prague comes out to watch the tournament. It’s just a phenomenal atmosphere. And of course, the English guys were so hospitable and just took really good care of me and made me the key goalie of their defensive system.”

Joining Fetch is fellow Prince Albert Outlaw Kyle Sawchuk,

Fetch says he is looking forward to playing alongside one of his teammates on the international stage.

“It’s going to be great because we already have that chemistry built in. He’s going to know what I like to do and I’m going to know what he likes to do and he knows best to cover the floor based on my style of play as well as that because he’s a defenseman.”

The level of play at the Ales Hrebesky Memorial Tournament is a lot different then what Fetch and Sawchuk are used to playing back home in the Senior Prairie Gold Lacrosse League

Fetch says it is incredible to witness some of the skill possessed by athletes at the tournament.

“The big thing that I see at these international tournaments is that the skill level of the game is very, very competitive. The rules are more similar to a National Lacrosse League based system where crease dives are allowed and crazy dunks from behind the net. So, you start to see these spectacular goals that you don’t usually see when you’re playing back home. And so, it kind of helps you to prepare for the fact that really anything can happen. We kind of called it a theater for goals when we were there last year, just how creative things can get that we don’t always see back home.”

Fetch grew up playing lacrosse in Prince Albert and he says he is thankful for the opportunities the sport of lacrosse has presented him over the years.

“The game is so much bigger than what we originally thought. Like when I first started actually in Prince Albert Box Lacrosse, we didn’t have a program. It was just starting out. And now there’s so many opportunities. I’ve been to Vegas, I’ve been to New York to play, I’ve been to Finland, I played in France, played in Prague. So, there is just so much talent out there and the game is growing that again, it’s fun to be a part of.”

The Canada Selects open the Alkes Hrebesky Memorial Tournament on Wed. Apr. 26 at 3:40 p.m. Czech time against the Flying Dutchmen