The Ridge Meadows Minor Lacrosse Association would like a covered outdoor lacrosse box, not unlike this one that opened last year in Nanaimo. (Black Press photo)

Covered lacrosse box needed in Maple Ridge, say Burrards

Minor lacrosse teams going out of town to practise

A covered outdoor lacrosse box will be the latest pitch to Maple Ridge city council.

Minor lacrosse players in from the Ridge Meadows Burrards have to book box time in other cities to get ready for the coming season, and they want better facilities here.

“We’re trying to get ready for the season, which starts on the first week of April,” said Michelle Heilgenpahl-Cooper, who is the assistant director of female lacrosse.

She noted Maple Ridge has the largest lacrosse association in the province, and she has 11 girls teams alone.

“It’s a shame we have to leave our community to start up our teams.”

They have been renting floor space from Langley and Port Moody, and last year rented from Coquitlam – neighbouring cities who have covered outdoor boxes. This is the third straight year they have been going outside of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows to get a covered box.

The girls are each paying an additional $5 per training session to cover the cost.

Heilgenpahl-Cooper said the lacrosse boxes at both Maple Ridge secondary and Thomas Haney secondary would be appropriate to cover.

And, she noted, it would benefit other sports associations than the Burrards.

“It’s not strictly for lacrosse – ball hockey is also limited in the space that they have,” she said, adding that baseball, softball, soccer or any sport that would benefit from training under a roof in February and March could potentially access the space.

Heilgenpahl-Cooper has been doing some research, and noted in May 2018 the city of Nanaimo opened a multi-purpose covered court. It has a metal roof and a score clock, so games could be hosted there. It cost $3.2 million, but the project she is talking about would be to cover an existing court, and should be more affordable. She offered no estimates.

She said the city has done a great job in upgrading sports facilities – notably the artificial surface sports fields – and the covered box project would offer another significant upgrade on existing facilities that could be done without impacting taxpayers.

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