By Ottawa Sportspage, For Gloucester Griffins Minor Lacrosse Association
Powered by dedicated volunteers, the Gloucester Griffins Minor Lacrosse Association had another strong season with medal-winning teams at provincials, a new and improved house league program and successful annual tournaments.
“Your volunteers are the lifeblood of your organization,” underlines Gloucester Lacrosse Assocaition President Greg Rampley, noting it’s the volunteers that fueled the successful season and made a better environment for all the athletes.
The Griffins capped off their 2017 campaign with two silver medals in Novice and Peewee ‘B’ divisions at the Ontario Lacrosse Championships in early August. On top of provincial medals, the ‘Bantam 2’ team triumphed at the Simcoe Father’s Day tournament and snagged silver in the Ray Broadworth Tournament and Zone 5 championships.
For the first time in more than five years, the club fielded a Peewee Girls competitive team in multiple tournaments, including provincials.
“This season represented a great building block for the GLA Girls lacrosse program that we can build on going forward,” signals Rampley, adding that 2018’s focus will be on player recruitment across all programs.
In an effort to grow their existing house league program, the club teamed up with the Nepean Knights Minor Lacrosse Association for an interlocking house league at the boys’ Tyke, Bantam and Midget levels.
“It was really great because it gave the kids more diversity in the teams they play against,” he explains. “We had a lot of great feedback and we’ll look to expand that next year as well.”
The Gloucester Griffins hosted two invitational tournaments this year, which were “critical” in demonstrating what the Griffins community is all about, but also in providing players with something to compete for at home.
In early June, the club hosted 26 teams from Ontario and Nova Scotia at the Ottawa Girls Summer Shootout for the second year in a row.
“In terms of showcase, that is of huge importance,” says Rampley, highlighting the consistent growth of the GLA girls’ program. “We can show the girls that are playing house league that you can play this around the province and compete against other girls.”
Two weeks later, the club hosted its annual Ray Broadworth Memorial Tournament that had 41 teams from Ontario and Quebec participate in nine different divisions. Over the three-day tournament, four Griffins teams made the finals – the Novice 1, Peewee 1, Bantam 2 and Midget squads.
The GLA finally wrapped up the season with its annual general meeting on Aug. 31, electing a new president, Ian Woolridge, and honouring five volunteers.
Mike McKay, Girls Program Convenor, was honoured as volunteer of the year for his work as a non-parent volunteer. He coordinated the GLA Girls Interlocking House League Program and organized the Girls Shootout Tournament.
Mark Allen & Sean Sommers (‘Bantam 2’ Coaches) were honoured as Competitive Coaches of the Year, while Sacha Gagnon (Midget Coach) and Leasa Kay (Girls Bantam-Midget Coach) were also honoured as House League Coaches of the Year.
“If there’s one thing I’m proud of, it’s the volunteer base that’s organized lacrosse in our community,” highlights Rampley, who’s worked closely with other local lacrosse clubs/programs. “Over the last three years in particular, we’ve been able to really focus on making the game about the kids and work collaboratively to help each other be successful.”