The temperatures are dropping, Christmas is coming soon, and lacrosse may not be at the top of your mind. However, the BMLA is busy at work closing off the 2023 season and preparing for the 2024 season.
I am Adam Kennedy and am stepping into the President’s role for our organization. Many of you are familiar with me during my time as our ﬁeld lacrosse director, a coach, or team manager. I’m excited to take these previous experiences to lead our organization over the next couple of years.
The below communication may be lengthy but contains lots of good stuff. So, please try to read all the way to the bottom! First off, we had an extremely successful 2023 season with some great individual and team success.
It would take paragraphs to call out all the provincial, zone, tournament, and player accomplishments. What I’m most proud of is that the BMLA led the entire province in registrations. We are the provincial leaders in box lacrosse registrations and have the second highest registrations in boys field lacrosse. Our success is the result of the hard work put it in by our board members, coaches, and volunteers. It also says a lot about the great community our parents and players have maintained. I always like to say that a championship is when all players return the following year, so let’s see what we can do for 2024!
We held our end of year celebration and Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the end of October. We bid goodbye to Dave Hunter during that meeting. Dave did an amazing job leading our organization over the past four seasons. We must give him a ton of credit for leading us through two (mostly) cancelled seasons and a name / branding change. As I said at the time, I have some (literal) big shoes to fill! The good news for the lacrosse community is Dave is moving on to the Zone 9 Director role. He also has a spot on our board as Past President where he can support us when needed. We also say goodbye to Jen O’Connell. She supported our entire organization as equipment director and was integral to keeping our houseleague program alive in 2023. Thank you Jen for your hard work!
The last couple of seasons we were finding the time of the three disciple directors (VP Rep Box, VP Field, and VP Girls) getting stretched with the success of our rep box boys and girls program, the expansion of the boy field program to be in both Spring and Fall, and our girls field program re-established. During the AGM, we voted in a change that adds a Girls Rep Box role and splits the existing roles into Boys Rep Box, Girls Field, and Boys Field. This is an exciting move that ensures all our programs get the needed attention to keep them successful.
With the update to our board and changes in responsibilities we are happy to announce the following board structure for the 2024 season:
· President - Adam Kennedy
· Treasurer - Jamie Sproat
· Secretary - Brianne Bresolin
· Registrar & Privacy Officer - Courtney Smith
· VP Houseleague - Chris Kluczynski
· VP Girls Rep Box - Jobina D'Aloisio
· VP Boys Rep Box - Darryl Chalmers
· VP Boys Field - Matt Anger
· VP Girls Field - Atanas Tchorbadjiysky
· Director Sponsorship - Tara Chalmers / Dan Dawson
· Director Publicity - Josh Morton
· Director Special Events – Marna Irani
· Member at Large - Natalie Maxwell
· Past President - David Hunter
· Scheduler - Ryan Merrick
We are always in need of more volunteers if we want to continue maintaining and growing our programming. We are a not-for-profit organization run entirely by volunteers. Please consider the following open roles if you are willing and able to help us out. Any of these could be shared / split if you feel it is too much or are only passionate / available for part of it.
· "Coach of coaches"
· Ensure rep coaches have appropriate level of certification
· Organize and run coaching clinics for House League coaches
· Find and organize opportunities for player development (specialty training, third-party coaching)
· Find and organize opportunities for coaching development
· Support Try Lacrosse sessions
· Help with any coaching related escalation
· Help with pricing, ordering, distributing and collecting rep box jerseys
· Help with pricing, ordering, and distributing houseleague box jerseys
· Help with pricing, ordering, distributing and collecting boys field jerseys
· Help with pricing, ordering, distributing and collecting rep girls field uniforms (jerseys and shorts)
· Help with pricing, ordering, and distributing rep players' branded gear (shirts, sweatshirts, etc)
· Help with pricing, ordering and distributing houseleague girls field t-shirts
· Help with pricing, ordering and distributing box and boys field shorts
· Help with pricing, ordering, and distributing coaches' branded gear (shirts, hats, sweatshirts, etc)
· Help with ordering and distributing team "hard goods" (balls, buckets, cones, sticks, goalie equipment, first aid kits, etc)
· Help with net maintenance / moving (if necessary)
· Organize and schedule referees and timekeepers for all home rep box games
· Organize and schedule referees for all houseleague box lacrosse games
Webmaster (no programming knowledge necessary)
· Support Publicity Director in aligning social media posts with website new articles.
· Post updates / news items as needed.
· Support discipline directors in updating programming information on website.
· Recommend and implement streamlined content and reference material on website.
We're also open to other ideas if there's something in mind that you want to champion and help grow lacrosse programming in Burlington.
The OLA, OMFLL and OWFL AGM’s were all in November. Many of the key amendments and rule changes surrounded the theme of bad behaviour by associations, parents, and players. The highlights for our families include:
· Higher fines for centers that allow players to participate without registering. It will be important for parents to ensure they register children on time, and well in advance of participation. The days of registering at the arena / field five minutes before the first tryout are likely gone.
· $100 fine per spectator ejected from OMFLL games. The BMLA attempts to be the class of the OLA and encourages parents to behave appropriately. Our expectation will be that any fine from an ejected spectator will be passed on to the players’ family and that the player will be removed from team participation until that fine is paid.
· Suspensions for OMFLL coaches whose teams exceed a penalty threshold. These thresholds are quite low (lower than current box thresholds). We often run lean sidelines for our OMFLL teams. This isn’t out of preference, but more out of necessity since we don’t get many volunteers for coaching our boys field teams. It will be imperative for us to get more coaches certified since it is quite likely we will end up with a coach suspended. A team without a certified coach on the sideline will result in forfeits and fines to our club. Please consider coaching!
· Many rule changes in the OWFL regarding roster creation, the use of affiliated players (call-ups / AP’s) and minimum game participation to qualify for provincial championship play. It will be important for our registrations to come well in advance of tryouts so we can determine team roster size and recruit payers if we are short. Commitment of girls field participants can sometimes be a problem due to conflicts with other sports and/or summer vacation. It will be important that players registering can meet the commitment expectations necessary to comply with these new OWFL rule changes.
Bad behaviour by coaches, players, and parents is one of my bigger fears in Burlington. I encourage our families to act with class and continue to be leaders in the province for sportsmanship. Do not take for granted our recent success and do not turn into the provincial enemy. We cannot play if there are no opponents or referees. We owe the lacrosse community to act appropriately!
Alright, so if you’re still reading, you’re probably asking, “what about next year?”. We are currently in the process of:
· Coaching selection
· Planning programming
· Setting fees
· Creating schedules.
Next season you should see a lot of the great things we have been able to provide over the last couple of years.
On the boys field side we’re hoping to once again host games in Burlington. This will be dependent on the City of Burlington fulfilling the fields requested for hosting.
For the OWFL, we’re hopeful to host a weekend once again in Burlington. The fields are already booked, so it will be dependent on the league to confirm their desire for us to host. Last year was a great success due to the volunteer help we had for that weekend. It will be important to get that help again if we wish for a successful weekend.
Across all programming we are hopeful to:
· Improve the quality and logistics for uniforms and clothing.
· Find specialized training opportunities. Note, these opportunities are difficult to find.
· Engage our experienced / older athletes to mentor and support instruction for younger players. Note, these athletes have extremely busy schedules and it is a challenge to find ways to get them consistently involved, even if they want to.
· Continue finding ways to better integrate our box and field programming and ease the burden on families wishing to participate in both.
· Find “lacrosse for life” opportunities and implement pathways to play beyond minor lacrosse, coach or officiate.
We strive to maintain Burlington as a great place to play lacrosse! Please watch our website and social media for updates on coaching announcements, plans for next season, registration opening, try lacrosse events and rep tryout plans.
As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have a question, concern, or need support.
Let’s go Blaze!!