June 18th, 2024

Two-day lacrosse clinic starting today at the Servus Sports Centre

By Dale Woodard on August 4, 2021.

A multi-event lacrosse clinic will take the pitch at the Servus Sports Centre today and Thursday.

The Creator’s Game features Indigenous lacrosse veteran Jeff Shattler giving pointers to up-and-coming athletes on the sport in addition to hosting a presentation tonight.

The two-day clinic is an all-inclusive event for all ages, genders and ethnicities to come try out lacrosse with gear for beginners available.

The clinic runs from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. both days.

Shattler is an Iroquois professional box lacrosse player who currently plays with the Saskatchewan Rush of the National Lacrosse League.

He has Ojibwe and Inuit roots and has competed internationally with the Iroquois Nationals, including with the World Indoor Lacrosse Championship silver medal winning teams in 2011 and 2015.

Most recently in 2018 he was the NLL Cup Most Valuable Player.

He will be joined by coach Chad Chief Moon at the clinics.

In addition to lending his lacrosse expertise, Shattler will also host a presentation tonight at the Servus Sports Centre from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., speaking of “The Cultural Significance of the Creator’s Game (Lacrosse)” for anyone wishing to attend.

“There should be close to 70 people in the gymnasium for him to talk,” said Shawn Day-Finley, program and event coordinator at the Lethbridge Sport Council.

“He’ll be showing a video and talking about what lacrosse means to him and his culture and what it can do for the young kids.”

Shattler’s Rush team is also partnering with the event, sending equipment for the athletes to use.

“We’re also getting a donation from the Calgary Flames Sports Bank through KidSport,” said Day-Finley.

“We have been given some sticks and helmets and a bunch of miscellaneous gear for the kids to try on and are allowed to take home with them, the kids who aren’t showing up with their own gear.”

Mary Ellen Little Mustache from the Piikani Traditional Games will also be on hand to pass on her knowledge of the sport.

“She’s an elder and knowledge keeper of traditional games, especially the Blackfoot games. So we thought it was important to include her,” said Day-Finley.

The Aboriginal Coaching Module is a National Coaching Certification Program course for all coaches and people who work with Indigenous youth and runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. today and Thursday, also at the Servus Sports Centre.

“(It’s) for anyone to learn how to better coach in that demographic, put on by the Indigenous Sport Council of Alberta,” said Day-Finley. “They have been a partner in the event helping us organize that. Coaches get personal development points for taking this course. We’re able to offer it for free in partnership with the Lethbridge Sport Council. It’s not just a lacrosse coaching session. It’s coaches from all sports who work with Indigenous youth who are trying to better their abilities. It’s a pre-requisite for the North American Indigenous Games. Coaches need it to coach in those games.”

Day-Finley said roughly 50 kids are already registered for The Creator’s Game.

“We didn’t set an age category because we wanted to see what the age of interest was to participate in a new sport. We’re trying to really promote it as an Indigenous game.”

Athletes will learn about the Indigenous history of lacrosse during interactive rest times between sessions. Food and drink will be offered between sessions and athletes are asked to bring their own water bottle.

The opening ceremony takes place at 2 p.m. today with drummers and the “Oki” sign from the City.

“We have an elder coming to give a blessing and then the practices start at 3 p.m.,” said Day-Finley. “So we have some time for the kids to get acquainted with one another, meet Jeff and hang out with Mary Ellen. She’ll be showing her different games.”

The Lethbridge Lacrosse Association and the Alberta Sports Development Centre Southwest have also partnered with The Creator’s Game.

The LLA will be looking to drum up more interest in the sport in the city, while the Alberta Sports Development Centre Southwest will be doing mental performance training and fitness testing for the athletes.

“They can be sent home with a little bit of background for their fitness so they know what to work on in the future,” said Day-Finley.

“We’ll be promoting their Athlete Enhancement Program through this is well.”

Those still wishing to sign up can go to http://www.LethbridgeSportCouncil.ca/Programs/Pathway to register.

“If they register online, that’ll be helpful, but we won’t turn people away at the doors if they want to play unless we’re absolutely full,” said Day-Finley, adding the event is free to attend.

The event will wrap up Thursday and will feature door prizes, including a signed jersey by Shattler.

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