Some young, ‘wild’ lacrosse players received a few pointers from a retired pro at a recent clinic at the Comox Valley Sports Centre.
Lewis Ratcliff — sixth all-time in National Lacrosse League goal-scoring — played with three different organizations over the course of 14 seasons. In 2010, he was voted Champion’s Cup MVP after scoring five goals and one assist to help the Vancouver Stealth defeat Toronto in the finals.
Ratcliff now works as a Realtor in his hometown of Victoria. He is also an owner of the Seattle Starz Lacrosse Club, which provides a pathway for players through a development/feeder system.
“There’s so many opportunities that you can take with lacrosse, whether it’s college, whether it’s playing at a higher level,” said Ratcliff, who notes that hockey tends to take over by a certain age.
“Which is unfortunate. Just based on strict numbers, there’s more opportunities because there’s fewer players playing, compared to hockey. To play junior A lacrosse, it’s maybe a tenth of the amount of kids that are playing hockey. Kids that stick with it normally can play for a while.”
The professional league is box lacrosse, but everything at the collegiate level is played on a field. “You’ve got to be able to do both,” said Ratcliff, who had plenty of opportunities to play both streams while growing up in Victoria.
Throughout the course of his playing career, he never suffered any major injuries.
“I think in any sport, things happen. I think it can look worse than it is. Same with any sport. I played for 25 years. I played pro for 14. You’re going to get bumps and bruises. Concussions are the big one now. In any sport, if somebody wants to go out there and do something stupid, it’s going to happen. I don’t think lacrosse is any more dangerous than anything else — it’s just your comfort zone, and what you’re familiar with.”
For more information about lacrosse in the Comox Valley, visit www.comoxvalleywild.com