Although lacrosse may be Canada’s national sport, it is often overlooked when it comes to the university athletic scene. So much so, in fact, that the University of New Brunswick — a perennial contender in several sports, most notably ice hockey — has not offered a competitive men’s lacrosse team in recent history.
As an avid fan and long-time participant of the sport, Matt Jay set out to change that this year.
“The team really got started after Evan Richtsfeld and I met and realized that UNB is completely capable of putting forth a strong lacrosse team,” said Jay, a third-year kinesiology student. “The addition of Mackenzie McCoy to our founding committee really got the ball rolling when it came to getting our idea off the ground.”
UNB’s newly founded lacrosse team, dubbed the Buccaneers, will be playing in the Maritime University Field Lacrosse League [MUFLL] this fall. The league will also include teams from Mount Allison University, Dalhousie University, Saint Mary’s University, St. Francis Xavier University and Acadia University.
Looking towards the upcoming season, Jay has high hopes for the squad.
“We are expecting a strong showing this season. We are a new team joining the league, so we know that we may face a rocky start and transition period. However, we feel that our squad can work together to get the wins when it counts.”
The Buccaneers will be made up of players with a wide variety of experience, but Jay believes that there is a huge amount of talent among the group. He stated that there are a few standout players joining the team, but refused to divulge any names, saying, “we don’t want to give away anything until the home opener.”
The team is still searching for a permanent coach, but is counting on several veterans of the sport to step up and lead the way towards a winning season.
For those looking to support the team in their quest towards their first MUFLL title, their first home game will be taking place on Sept. 6 at 5 p.m. at BMO Centre against St. Francis Xavier. Their remaining home games are as follows: Sept. 21 at 2 p.m. vs. Dalhousie, Oct. 1at 11 a.m. vs. Acadia, Oct. 26 at 11 a.m. vs. Saint Mary’s, and Nov. 2 at 2 p.m. vs. Mount Allison.
“We are very excited for our home opener,” said Jay. “X is a great team, but we feel that we are up to the challenge and are hoping for a hard-fought game. We hope to have as many fans out as possible to support us and get the team excited to play.”
In addition, any lacrosse players who are interested in joining this season can get in contact with the club president, Evan Richtsfeld, via Facebook.