Sports

City strike cancels Wayne Goss lacrosse tournament

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A long-standing White Rock lacrosse tournament honouring one of the sport’s greats has been cancelled due to the city strike.

Semiahmoo Minor Lacrosse’s annual Wayne Goss Tournament – which has been held at Centennial Arena for nearly two decades – was cancelled because organizers could not say for sure whether the city-run arena would still be closed by the tournament’s May 30 start.

Twelve peewee teams – 10 of which were set to come from out of town – were scheduled to take part, Semiahmoo Lacrosse president Glen Stoten told Peace Arch News, announcing the decision last week..

“It’s a shame. It’s too bad for the kids, because for most teams, you only have one out-of-town tournament a season, so now they won’t have one,” he said.

The decision to cancel had to be made early, Stoten said, because waiting until the last minute wouldn’t be fair to teams travelling here from out of the area.

It’s not just the lacrosse players who will notice the tournament’s loss, he added.

“We have a lot of young referees who get paid to referee the games, so now they’ve lost out on some money,” Stoten said, adding that the association will also miss out on funds from team-entry fees, concessions and 50/50 draws. “We aren’t a big association, so we rely on that money.”

Goss – whom Stoten called “the Wayne Gretzky of lacrosse” – was also looking forward to attending the tournament, Stoten said.

Goss was a member of the New Westminster Salmonbellies during the late 1960s and ’70s. He is a member of the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

In 1982, while helping a friend build a cabin, he slipped and fell 10 metres onto rocks. He suffered a severe brain-ste m injury, which affects balance, co-ordination and speech.

“This tournament is our way of honouring him,” Stoten said. “I think Wayne and his wife are pretty disappointed. It’s crushing for him that he isn’t able to come and watch.”

It’s not just the tournament that has been affected by the current job action. Stoten said the entire season is now in flux, as managers work frantically to find floor-time for home games for the association’s 15 teams.

“Our whole season is in jeopardy,” he said.

So far, Semi Lacrosse has managed to play a few games in other cities – as far away as Abbotsford and Delta – but Stoten admits “floor space is pretty hard to come by.”

Should the association fail to have all its home games played by the end of the season in June, fines are levied on Semiahmoo Lacrosse from the sports’ governing bodies.

“Considering our circumstances, you hope maybe that wouldn’t be the case, but as it stands now, I understand we’d be fined if the games are not played,” Stoten said.

“But (the strike) is killing us.”

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