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Saint John lacrosse club seeks more facility space

By Brad Perry Apr 22, 2024 | 12:22 PM

Lacrosse players need more space to practice and play in Saint John, according to the city’s junior lacrosse club.

The Saint John Rapids Lacrosse Club recently wrote a letter to city council to address the “pressing concern regarding the lack of affordable and suitable facilities.”

Megan Kingston, president of the Saint John Rapids, said they are often forced to travel as far away as Moncton for practices.

“We’re grateful that we’ve been able to get those spaces, but as a Saint John-based team, we’d really like to have our players working out of Saint John,” Kingston said in a recent interview.

The Rapids represent the Saint John region and beyond as part of the East Coast Junior Lacrosse League.

Kingston said with the closure of the Hilton Belyea Arena several years ago, there are only two rinks available for use in the city.

“In the past, we used to have all of the facilities available. Now with the growth of ball hockey and roller derby, there’s a lack of facilities to facilitate all youth sports right now,” she said.

Being the only New Brunswick teams in the league, the Rapids already do a lot of travelling to Nova Scotia for games.

Kingston said their teams typically play home games at the Lord Beaverbrook Rink but noted it is an expensive location for practices.

While the city has temporarily opened another facility to help create more floor time, the club has also come up with some recommendations.

They include opening the Hilton Belyea Arena for six to eight weeks, subsidizing rentals at TD Station, and providing empty warehouse space for practices.

“Just a warehouse, just to get the kids out and throwing the ball around and running up and down the floor. Empty space is all they really need,” said Kingston.

“The city has been really positive with their feedback and we’ve been working cordially with them, so we are optimistic that things are going to look better for the future.”

Kingston said Saint John is home to the largest lacrosse association in the province, the Fundy Lacrosse Association.

She added they want to develop the sport even more so athletes can train year-round for a spot on New Brunswick teams at the Canada Games.

City officials spoke about the club’s concerns during an interview on April 24. You can read more here.