Port Alberni may not have a field lacrosse program, but a number of young Valley lacrosse players are still seeing success in the sport.
Mattias Hvid, Ryder Wells, Diego Hopkins, Cole Kenzie, Brett Bilodeau and Romaro Williamsen all travel over the hump to play with the U13 Oceanside Buccaneers—Oceanside’s only field lacrosse team, and a team that earned a place at the BC Field Lacrosse Provincials this February.
Wells and Kenzie also play for the VI Islanders regional team, which earned a second place finish at the Best of the West tournament in Las Vegas in February.
Hopkins, the team’s goalie, was named to the U14 Men’s Field Team BC and competed at a showcase tournament in Palm Springs in January.
As a 13-year-old, he was named to the U15 Men’s Field Lacrosse Team BC and will be travelling to Nationals in Ontario this fall, before attending a college recruiting event in Baltimore.
Hopkins said he started playing the sport because a number of his friends were involved.
“I like how fast-paced it is,” he said. “There’s lots of contact.”
Competing for Team BC was a particularly memorable experience for him. He noted that the tournament in Palm Springs had 60 fields being used at once, with both girls and boys lacrosse players.
“It was amazing, getting to go out of the country to play,” he said.
Hopkins has played with field lacrosse teams in Oceanside and the North Island, but he is planning to travel to Victoria next year for high school lacrosse.
“It would be nice to have that here,” he said.
All six boys play both field lacrosse in Oceanside, as well as box lacrosse in their hometown. Alberni Valley Minor Lacrosse will be kicking off its new season shortly.
It becomes a year-round sport, explained team manager Stephanie Hopkins. Some of the players participate in hockey, like Diego, or soccer, but the schedule sometimes makes this difficult.
“It’s hard to commit to a second team,” she said.