Looking to add a new team to UNB’s roster, Bri Fullerton and Chloe Ellias have been hard at work in the last few months establishing the women’s lacrosse club.
The two third-year students began their efforts over the summer in the hopes of gaining momentum during the fall semester. They have been recruiting, fundraising and collaborating to create a team that would be the fourth of its kind among Atlantic schools. In order for them to join a league, there must be at least five teams that can participate.
“Right now, women’s field lacrosse only has three [schools with teams]—and then us—as just societies or clubs. […] We can’t even be a URec club until we have a league, so right now, we are a Student Union society,” said Fullerton.
Even without URec’s support, the athletes have been able to gain support elsewhere. The men’s team, The Buccaneers, founded their developmental program in 2012.
“We got provincial funding through Buccaneers’ Lacrosse Academy,” said Fullerton. “It’s great support.”
This funding has allowed them to organize recruiting events, enter tournaments and allow them to plan for team’s future.
“We want to stay with them because they have built [the sport] up so much,” said Ellias.
The Buccaneers’ have been successful at putting their team on the map through their presence on and off the field. The women’s side intends to follow this by partaking in the same sort of community outreach in high schools and middle schools that the men’s side does.
Ellias and Fullerton are focused on building the team this year in the hopes that other women’s teams will follow suit.
“If there is a fourth team, then other schools will be more interested in being that fifth team, because they will be able to compete in a league,” said Fullerton.
They encourage anyone that has prior experience or those who are “[enthusiastic] towards learning a new sport” to join. Though they are looking for a lot of younger athletes to sustain the club when the duo graduate, they are leaving it open to anyone that is interested. They are inclusive of various gender identities, especially without official league limitations on who can participate.
Their effort has not been without resistance.
“There is that negativity around it where people are trying to bring it down,” said Ellias.
During the clubs and societies fair, the table received comments about how women’s lacrosse was “not a real sport.”
“It’s the same, but different,” said Ellias, referring to the men’s and women’s sides.
The two talked about how, although the rules and play styles are different between the two games, they are essentially the same. The men’s side has also helped to subdue this resistance and negativity.
Women’s Lacrosse is having their next try day on Oct. 22 3:30 a.m. at BMO Field. Regardless of experience, all are welcome.