It started with an innocent conversation over a cold beer. It soon blossomed into talk about putting together a team and bringing Sr. B lacrosse back to Kitchener-Waterloo. Who would want to get involved in the planning? Who would want to play? One year later, those questions have been answered and the interest and support have been overwhelming.
“Velocity is a name that reflects both the speed of the game and the community’s status as a world-class incubation hub for high-tech start-ups. The name is different and doing things different in the best possible way will be a guiding mandate for the new lacrosse team”, said Sam Besse, President and principal owner in explaining how the team name was selected from a long list of possible candidates. “Kitchener-Waterloo is a very strong lacrosse community. We have a history of producing some of the best players to ever play the game and now that tradition will continue”.
With over 25 years’ experience in sports marketing and event management, Besse admits to having a bit of an addiction to the game. “At the senior level, the game is very fast, highly skilled and physically punishing. I once described it as a cross between a sport and a prison break” Besse explains. He also has been a volunteer coach in the local minor association for both box and field lacrosse for over a decade. “I have been at both ends of the spectrum in this game, teaching paperweights how to hold a stick and cradle and on the other end winning a Presidents Cup as an owner with the 2005 KW Kodiaks”.
The team, which will begin play out of the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex in the Spring of 2017, will be led by General Manager and Head Coach Greg Hummel. Hummel, who is well liked and respected within lacrosse circles, certainly knows what it takes to win. Between his playing days and coaching stints, he has managed to get his name engraved on the Presidents Cup five times as a Canadian Sr. B champion.
When asked how important it is for KW senior players to once again have a place to play at home, Hummel indicates that “players finish their junior careers and still want to play. Some are still hoping to have a chance at the National Lacrosse League. Closest existing Senior/MSL teams are an hour away and that commute/travelling is extremely taxing for practices and games. Playing at home makes it easier to play the game that you love”.
The goal of the new team is to deliver affordable family sports entertainment that is different from other spectator sports. Intermissions will be mini events themselves. Drone racing, police dog trials, line dancing and other colourful exercises will be on display. A dance team will entertain pre-game and during intermissions. Fans will be able to participate in contests to win prizes and valuable give-aways will be a regular feature at each game.
Besse has identified five key objectives for the program. The first is to give opportunity for Sr. players to play at home. The second is to support the objectives of the local minor association. The third is to support deserving programs in the community. The fourth will be to deliver affordable family sports entertainment and the final objective above all else will focus around being different in the best possible way.
“We see this program as much more than simply operating a lacrosse team. Each game will be a different event with non-stop action both on and off the floor. The player talent is exceptional, a blend between the best graduating juniors and a strong mix of the seasoned professionals. I am amazed at how many top notch players have reached out to us letting us know that want to play in KW next year. For some, it will be a homecoming and an opportunity to play in front of family and friends” says Besse.
When asked whether Hummel expects his team to be competitive in the first year, his quiet confidence comes through. “Most definitively, with the quality and skill of lacrosse players from the area we would expect to be competitive our first year. With overage players from the KW Jr A Braves, Guelph Jr B Regals, Wilmot Jr C Wild and Elora Jr B Mohawks, lots of players are still wanting to play competitive lacrosse and we will give them the opportunity without having to have long drives to play the game they are passionate about”.
Velocity lacrosse promises to be competitive from day one. With a solid group of committed individuals behind the scenes and a strong player base to build from, Hummel’s Cup engravings may soon be on the rise.
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