Prince Albert players, coaches to compete in box lacrosse winter nationals in Arizona

Photo submitted by Tanner Fetch. Team Saskatchewan at a practice

There is plenty of anticipation in the air as Team Saskatchewan prepares to head down south to Arizona for the 2023 US Box Lacrosse Winter Nationals in Glendale, Arizona.

There is a pair of familiar faces from Prince Albert coaching team Saskatchewan as Tanner and Brady Fetch are serving as co-head coaches.

Tanner says he is looking forward to coaching alongside his brother in Arizona.

“It’s going to be a sweet and spectacular opportunity for the both of us. We’ve coached together before in Toronto. We coached the junior Rush in the junior NLL tournament, but this will be our first crack on the international stage as coaches. We both played in Prague last year in the Czech Republic with team England. But now again, this is a different role and bringing that international experience that we both had in the past years in Prague and now being able to apply in the international setting as coaches. It’s going to be a great opportunity and there’s no one better to do it with than my own brother.”

The 2023 United States Box Lacrosse Winter Nationals will be hosted in Glendale, Arizona from Feb. 3-4. Saskatchewan is scheduled to open the tournament at 9 p.m. on Feb. 3 against Denver Elite.

Fetch says the team is looking forward to competing and escaping the Saskatchewan winter for a few days while they are at it.

“There’s a lot of excitement building in the air here on the floor. We look competitive. And so that’s the biggest thing here is we feel competitive and ready to take on some hardware as a team and just that excitement of going somewhere warm during these cold winters and playing a sport that we love and having the team that we do is all just exciting factors playing into this.”

Saskatchewan will look to make an impact at the tournament. They will take on Denver Elite on Feb. 3 followed by matchups with the California Outlaws and Minnesota Stars on Feb. 4 all taking place at the Arizona Sports Complex.

Fetch says he is feeling confident going into the tournament with a strong roster.

“We got a lot of skill players. There are not really any gaps in our roster. sometimes you end up with teams where sacrifices have to be made due to rosters or locations or different things like that. But there’s no sacrifices having to be made and know in terms of the player quality that we have. This is a strong, strong roster. There’s nobody on this team that doesn’t deserve to be there. No one’s going to look out of place. So that’s definitely our strength. We don’t have a lot of weaknesses per se. The only weakness that might be our age because it’s U18 event, we primarily have a younger group that are part of that 15, 16, 17 age group.”

Fetch adds he hopes the team comes away with hardware at the tournament, but is grateful for the experience that will come with competing on the international level.

“Ultimately some hardware would be great, but I think overall the big takeaway is just going down here and knowing that we’re competitive on an international stage and in the international tournament, knowing that we compete with anybody in the world and that we’re right up there with the best of them. And again, it’s going to be that experience of playing different quality teams and different teams we haven’t seen and players and maybe coaching styles and things like that that we haven’t seen, all of which is going to make our players here in Saskatchewan better lacrosse players moving forward.”