Rez lawn to Canada West: UBC’s Lacrosse Club looks to keep building

The UBC Lacrosse club enters the home stretch of their inaugural season in the Canada West Field Lacrosse League sitting in a respectable fourth place out of seven. While this may not sound especially impressive, the club’s position is an astronomical success considering their humble beginnings just four years ago, when Dan Millar first tried to bring some semblance of the sport he loves to UBC.

The fifth-year mechanical engineering student recalls struggles of the very early days before the club really came to fruition: “When this thing truly first started, it was just me and my buddies throwing the ball around in the backside of Totem [Park],” he said. “[I would] just find anyone I could recruit, throw them a lacrosse stick and a beer. That was really the starting platform of club membership.”

Today the club’s membership is over 30 members, with more than 20 members on the men’s competitive team, and a women’s team in the works for the 10 female members. The club is also open to anyone who wants to give the sport a try by offering non-competitive or new players the chance to practice with the team and be part of the close-knit group.

One of the formally inexperienced players is Paul Fijal, who joined with minimal lacrosse background and now finds himself on the executive council of the club.

“Last year Dan approached me [about joining the team], I had never played before, but at that point there weren’t that many players and I picked it up pretty quickly,” he said.

Fijal’s first year with the club coincided with the club finally getting some real traction as a legitimate lacrosse team.

“This is the second year that this thing has really kicked off. Last year we had only had one game with UVic and a tournament in Edmonton, this year we joined the [Canada West] league, which plays every week.”

The relatively new club recently got a major boost when UBC designated it as having competitive club status beginning in September of 2015 as part of the university’s athletics reorganization last year. The new status provides the Lacrosse Club with improved access to facilities as well as support for marketing and communication. Millar hopes that this designation will help achieve the club’s over-arching goal of creating a university league for their end of Canada down the road.

“We’ve been working towards a western Canadian university league with the University of Victoria, University of Alberta, University of Calgary and the University of Lethbridge,” said Millar. “There have been a few setbacks in terms of those schools’ level of competitiveness, but looking forward to the future, that is one of the main goals of our club.”

As for the immediate future, the club has six regular season games remaining before the Provincial Championship tournament in the first week of April, where the winner moves on to the National Championship tournament. Whether they make it or not, this year will already mark a historic success for Millar and his club, which has come a long way from its days of tossing back beers and balls on the Totem lawn.

If you're interested in joining the UBC Lacrosse Club, come out to one of their open practices on Fridays from 6:30-7:30 pm on the Varsity Turf Fields, contact, or check out their Facebook page.