Lacrosse has long been a summertime fixture in the North Okanagan.
As shown by the picture from the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives, the Vernon Tigers were the toast of B.C. among Juvenile Division teams in 1952.
The Tigers’ name is synonymous with lacrosse in Vernon, mainly at the senior level.
Vernon won four consecutive provincial senior B and three consecutive Canadian championships from 1976-79. Their main rival those years was located 15 miles north on Highway 97A. The Tigers have often said the Armstrong Shamrocks were the toughest team they faced during that four-year-run. Games at the Hassen Arena in Armstrong became things of legend.
Senior lacrosse has had its share of good and tough times since then. The Shamrocks and Tigers’ rivalry continued through the years until Vernon took a leave of absence for six years. They returned to the Thompson Okanagan Senior Lacrosse League in 2019, only to have the league shut down by COVID in 2020 and 2021.
Armstrong is the five-time current league and playoff champion.
The Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League was formed in 2000 with Armstrong and Vernon paying tribute to the senior squad by naming their franchises the Shamrocks and Tigers.
Vernon has enjoyed the most success at the junior level, winning five playoff championships. Armstrong, without a banner, took a leave in 2019, and was set to return in 2020 until COVID cancelled play. There was no league action this year.
Minor lacrosse pays tribute to both cities under the umbrella of the North Okanagan Minor Lacrosse Association, playing both box (indoor) and field (outdoor). Box games are played in both Vernon and Armstrong.
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