Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Griffins Growl: ‘Incredible’ GLA Day lifts spirit in budding lacrosse season

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By Ottawa Sports Pages, for Gloucester Lacrosse Association

About the only thing that matched the speed of the feet, sticks and lacrosse balls were the brisk sales of Krispy Kreme doughnuts as a fundraiser during GLA Day on May 11 in Gloucester.

It made for a sweet day all around as the Gloucester Lacrosse Association held its annual early-season celebration of all things green and gold, featuring 17 games with Griffins teams from all levels.

The action stretched over 12 hours from morning until night at Earl Armstrong Arena, with several more games overflowing into Lois Kemp and Larry Robinson arenas.

“It was an incredible day,” recounts GLA president Stephanie Pagan. “And what I love most about GLA Day is that it really helps promote inclusivity in our association, to feel that we’re all part of Gloucester Lacrosse.”

In the past, GLA Day focused on the association’s competitive teams all playing on the same day, but this year, house league action was added to the mix.

“We were really pleased to incorporate our house league teams,” Pagan underlines. “It isn’t all about competitive lacrosse, and we’re really happy to showcase all our programs.”

That extended to the Lady Griffins, with the U22 girls’ rep team occupying the main event timeslot on Saturday evening (and they certainly lived up to the billing with an 11-2 victory).

“It was great to celebrate all the different things we do,” adds Pagan, who is now midway through her final season as GLA president.

On top of the action inside the arena, the lobby area was buzzing too, with tables setup for GLA apparel, vendors including Caleys Crease and Titan Performance, 50/50 tickets on sale alongside canteen items, cotton candy and, of course, the popular Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

“It’s not only just coming to watch the game. There were lots of ways to participate,” highlights Pagan, though many of the best moments of GLA Day nonetheless stemmed from Griffins players cheering on teams from other age groups/levels, either from the stands, or as they crossed paths getting ready to take the floor.

The GLA is now getting ready for another 17-match series on May 25, when U9 and U11 house league teams from Gloucester, Cornwall and Nepean will gather for a fun day of interlock play. The games run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. across two sites (Lois Kemp and Earl Armstrong).

And the big show of the Griffins’ season isn’t too much farther down the road either, with the annual Ray Broadworth Tournament set for July 5-7.

The 2023 event set a record with close to 900 players competing across nine divisions, and this year’s edition is set to challenge those marks, with Orillia, Windsor and Sudbury clubs all planning to enter big contingents.

“Last year was a huge success with everything that we did, and I think that really helped get the word out a little bit,” Pagan signals. “And folks can see it as a destination tournament, where they can spend some time in the city as well.

“We’re really excited for that, it’s definitely going to be a big highlight of the year.”

Learn more about the Gloucester Lacrosse Association at Gloucester-Lacrosse.com.

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