Professional lacrosse player Jeff Shattler held a pair of week-long clinics for the Weyburn Lacrosse Association, training lacrosse players in Weyburn during the Easter week break, using the All Sports Training Centre in Evanston Park.
“We’ve been doing camps and clinics for about four or five months now,” said Shattler, usually one or two days a week up until this clinic.
He held the Shattler Academy for advanced players, and a development camp for female players, with the players divided into groups with a maximum of eight players.
“There’s a lot of great kids out here. It’s great that they have the All Sports facility here, which gives the kids the opportunity to continuing playing lacrosse, especially with the COVID guidelines,” said Shattler.
“It’s just a sad time to see minor sports in the position we’re in right now, and hopefully we’ll get to go back to normal. With a facility like this, it really helps the kids, both mentally and physically. It’s been good, it’s been good all winter, all things considered,” he added.
Shattler said programs like this one are good for developing and growing the game in Saskatchewan, which he noted was far behind places like Toronto, where he’s originally from, or Vancouver, which have many lacrosse teams.
He also noted that since the professional team, the Saskatchewan Rush, began playing and competing here, the sport has “really expanded” in the province.
“We’re trying to catch up is basically what’s going on,” he added.
Many lacrosse players are also hockey players in the winter time, and Shattler pointed out that the skills are similar in some ways.
“Being a hockey player, it is a very easy transition to be a lacrosse player,” he said.
“The more practice you have under your belt, the better you’re going to be, and that’s what we’re trying to, is give these kids options, and the more they do this, they’re only going to get better,” he explained.
Shattler puts on clinics and training sessions all over the province, such as his elite program he’ll soon have underway in Moose Jaw and Weyburn, and with public and Catholic schools around the province. The COVID guidelines have put a damper on those programs to an extent, but he’s hopeful that in the not-too-distant future they will be able to go back to some normalcy.
As for his professional team, he has heard the Rush may be restarting up league play by this December, “and we’re hoping that it does kick off. We’ll see.”
Shattler is also a lacrosse coach for a world junior team, for the world junior championships based out of Winnipeg, and next year to be played in Ireland. The championships are quite uncertain for this year, but Shattler feels that next year in Ireland should definitely be a go.