The Armstrong Shamrocks host the Vernon Tigers and Kelowna Raiders in the Thompson Okanagan Senior Lacrosse League’s Rowcliffe Cup playoff tournament Friday to Sunday at the Nor-Val Sports Centre. (Morning Star file photo)

Armstrong Shamrocks hosting European foe

Shamrocks will face Team Slovakia in international box lacrosse friendly Sept. 15 at Hassen Arena

The Armstrong Shamrocks are playing an international box lacrosse friendly match in September.

The Shamrocks are hosting Team Slovakia in an exhibition game Sept. 15, at 7:30 p.m. at the Hassen Arena (game being played in Hassen due to ice in the Nor-Val Sports Centre).

The Slovaks are on their way to the World Indoor Lacrosse Championships being held in Langley Sept. 19 to 28.

Shamrocks team management reached out to the Slovakian team management in June to gauge their interest in coming to Armstrong for the match after learning that they were struggling for fund ing were looking at fundraising opportunities.

“The Slovak team does not receive government funding and relies on sponsorship and personal finances to fund their participation in this international tournament,” said Shamrocks head coach Ryan Nitchie. “All proceeds from the game will be donated to Team Slovakia to help cover their expenses.”

The Shamrocks have approached the Armstrong/Spallumcheen Parks and Recreation Commission, City of Armstrong and Township of Spallumcheen to request that arena rental fees be waived. The city has already approved the request and the township will consider the request at their August meeting.

In true Armstrong/Spallumcheen spirit, the Armstrong Ladies Club has agreed to host and sponsor a pre-game dinner for the teams at the Centennial Hall.

“This is truly a community effort and we are extremely grateful to the Parks and Rec Commission, city and township for considering our application to waive the fees and are especially thankful to the Armstrong Ladies Club for helping host this team,” said Nitchie.

The Slovaks arrive in Armstrong mid-afternoon on Sept. 16 and plan to have a light practice at the Hassen Arena before dinner at Centennial Hall.

Following the game, the players will be billeted throughout the community by volunteers offering rooms in their homes for the night. The Slovaks will then return to the Lower Mainland to prepare for the World Indoor Lacrosse Championships later in the week.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to welcome an international team and show them how popular the sport of lacrosse is to our community,” said Nitchie. “It is also a great opportunity for us to play a competitive game against a high-calibre team.”

‘ROCKS HOST ROWCLIFFE CUP TOURNEY

The Shamrocks put their four-year championship dominance on the line this weekend at the Nor-Val Sports Centre as they host the 2019 Thompson Okanagan Senior Lacrosse League playoffs. Armstrong, Vernon and Kelowna will compete in the tournament-style playoffs this year with Kamloops bowing out due to A lack of players.

“This is a throwback to when the league kickstarted back in the mid-1990s,” said TOSLL commissioner Jeff Hanley of Armsrong.

“We are hoping that having all the games over one weekend will allow players to commit to one weekend versus a long drawn out set of series.”

Nitchie is very familiar with this format having played in those tournament playoffs winning three straight Shaw Cups from 1995-1997.

Game 1 of the playoffs sees the Shamrocks tangle with their stiffest competition in the Kelowna Raiders, the only team to hand the Shamrocks a loss this season, beating them in Week 1 in Armstrong. Game time is 8 p.m. Friday night.

“We are preparing for a tough game against Kelowna. They have solid goaltending and will step up their defensive intensity against us. Special teams seems to be a factor in these games and the team that plays with discipline and controls their emotions will have the edge,” said Nitchie. “Kelowna hasn’t had their full offensive compliment against us since that Week 1 victory so expect some great ball with their scoring leaders Corey Sienger and Darcy Rhodes, both ex-WLA players in the lineup.”

Game 2 of the playoffs goes at 1 p.m. Saturday with the Raiders tangling with the Vernon Tigers.

“Vernon could easily pull off an upset here. They’ve been without their sniper in Ryan Sarazzin but their goaltending can steal a game with some tight defence in front of Josh Point,” said Nitchie.

The round robin finishes with the Shamrocks taking on the Tigers in the marquee match Saturday at 8 p.m.

“It’s always a match when the Shamrocks and Tigers meet and playing on Saturday night should make for some action packed end to end lacrosse,” added Nitchie.

The two top teams following round robin play will face each other in the one-game, winner-take-all final at 1 p.m. Sunday.



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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