Lacrosse groups upset as Vancouver Giants’ playoff run creates scheduling showdown in Delta
The Vancouver Giants are the top playoff seed out of the Western Conference, but their success is coming at a price according to the Delta lacrosse community.
In a lease agreement with the City of Delta, the Western Hockey League (WHL) team has access to the Ladner Leisure Centre until the end of the playoff season.
To accommodate senior and junior lacrosse teams, the Giants will be gearing up at the Ladner facility, and then practicing at the South Delta Recreation Centre where the minor lacrosse teams play.
But the move still affects all lacrosse levels because they trade off on floor time.
“Now minor lacrosse has nowhere to play their home games,” Darcy Phillips, president of Delta Islanders Junior Lacrosse said.
“They are being told to go to neighbouring communities to have a home game, so they are asking a young family from Delta to drive to Richmond or Surrey to host a game, it’s unacceptable.”
Delta and the Vancouver Giants point to a Letter of Understanding that was signed by six lacrosse associations in 2005. Phillips was one of the signatories.
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“We worked out an agreement that when we worked on playoff runs they would understand that. As long as they had a place to play, everything was fine and vice versa — and if they were going longer, we would move our hockey school and training camp,” Giants owner Ron Toigo said.
“It’s worked fine until this year and I don’t know what’s happened all of a sudden.”
Delta first struck up the lease agreement in 2005 when it wanted to build a weight room facility at the Leisure Centre.
“It required a capital of about $2 million, and rather than borrow money we put up $2 million and built the facility and part of it is our training centre,” Toigo said.
But Phillips says the deal isn’t working.
“Having private companies in a public facility, it’s not working. These buildings are taxpayers’. We pay for the buildings and it’s for the kids,” Phillips said.
Delta has come up with other locations in neighbouring communities, but says it hasn’t heard back from the lacrosse associations, adding this may not even be an issue depending on how the Giants do in the playoffs.
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