Female Box Lacrosse will be seen for the first time ever at the Canada Summer Games this year, and the inaugural Team Manitoba will have a Portager between the pipes.
Kaylee Perry has been named to the U17 Team Manitoba squad for the national event in Niagara, Ontario, which is set to begin on August 6. The goaltender says it's been over 35 years since lacrosse was played at the Canada Summer Games in general, and notes it's an honour to be a part of the sport's return to the games.
"Back in 1985, male lacrosse was banned from the games. So, this is the first year lacrosse has been back in a while and it's the first ever year that female lacrosse will be a part of it," Perry explains. "It's exciting. I'm proud to be able to be a part of this amazing team and get this amazing opportunity. I'm just really excited to go, represent Team Manitoba, and show the country what Team Manitoba lacrosse is all about."
The Portage Collegiate student says she's already begun preparing for this huge opportunity.
"We've been going pretty much every day at this point. We work out at an amazing facility at Sport Manitoba. We have some amazing trainers and staff that we can work with," says Perry. "It's been a lot of hard work but I think we're ready to go work hard and hopefully win a gold medal."
Perry adds their main focus in the training sessions, at this point, is building team chemistry. She says once they're all on the same page, they will be a tough team to beat.
While she's beyond excited for this opportunity, Perry notes she's played at the national level before, however, it was always a part of the boys' teams.
"I was on the peewee boys team in 2017 with Team Manitoba, where we ended up winning the B-side gold medal," Perry continues. "I also just made the U18 Boys Field Lacrosse Team Manitoba, we're going to be heading to nationals in Fredericton in September."
The Portager adds she is the only girl on both of those boys' teams. Perry has been involved in the sport for ten years but has only expanded to playing field lacrosse this year. The goalie notes the training process has been pretty intense so far but says playing lacrosse never becomes a chore.
"It's been a bit of a balancing act trying to figure out practices and everything but it's the sport that I love. So, I wouldn't really have it any other way."
The Female U17 Manitoba Lacrosse Team will be in action from August 6-13 at the Canada Summer Games.