The Alberni Valley Minor Lacrosse Association is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a special logo that pays tribute to the history of lacrosse in the Alberni Valley and Canada.
The logo, which local artist Geena Haiyupis created, was unveiled on Tuesday, April 26. The association’s second vice president Tyler Boyer said AVMLA wanted to hire an Indigenous artist to reflect the Indigenous roots of the game of lacrosse. European settlers first observed First Nations people playing the game of lacrosse in the 17th century.
“It was important to us that we brought in Geena to make this logo for us,” said Boyer.
The current AVMLA logo features a modern lacrosse stick. Boyer said he and Haiyupis did some research into the history of lacrosse sticks for the 20th anniversary logo.
“We took a couple of the most memorable sticks and incorporated those,” said Boyer.
Haiyupis said the salmon in the logo form a circle to represent the stages of the life cycle. In the handle of one of the lacrosse sticks and in the outer circle, she included a red stripe to represent the Métis symbolism of the past, present and future.
Free T-shirts featuring the logo will be handed out to lacrosse players for the association’s novice tournament next weekend.
AVMLA president Kelly Fines said he was just a teenager when lacrosse folded in the Alberni Valley due to a lack of volunteers.
“When the new multiplex opened up 20 years ago, it was an opportunity to see if lacrosse would fly again,” said Fines.
Fines and past president Larry Ransom set up a booth at the Alberni Valley Multiplex to garner interest. In the the association’s first season, they had more than 100 players registered.
Due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, the numbers are down to about 50 this year, said Fines. The AVMLA has not been able to go into schools to promote the sport, as they have in previous years, which means they have had to rely on a few drop-in sessions to introduce the sport to new players.
“It’s going to take a year or two to get our numbers back up,” said Fines.
The 2022 season has already kicked off and next weekend is the association’s annual novice tournament, which is also one of its biggest fundraisers.
“The novice tournament is always a good event,” said Fines. “It’s been two full years without it.”
The tournament takes place over Mother’s Day weekend (May 6-8), and this year’s tournament will also feature something special, as AVMLA will be hosting a Junior ‘B’ lacrosse game.
The Oceanside Sharks and the Saanich Express of the Pacific Northwest Junior Lacrosse League will be playing a league game in the Coulson Rink at the Alberni Valley Multiplex on Saturday, May 7 at 6 p.m.
Tickets for the event are $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and students. Kids under the age of 12 can attend for free, and any kids wearing their lacrosse jerseys will get in for free.