13-year-old Nolan Cadieux has a simple yet effective approach to playing lacrosse.
“Lots of fun and scoring goals,” explained the Point Edward midfielder, who’s been playing the sport from the age of four.
Cadieux has been selected for the Evolve Elite Canada U13 lacrosse team headed to the World Series of Youth Lacrosse tournament in Denver, Colorado on July 2-4.
The Evolve team is one of two Canadian squads attending the tournament, which features teams from the UK, Australia, Japan and a score of clubs from the U.S.
The tournament was inspired by the Little League World Series and created to bring together the top young field lacrosse players from around the world.
Cadieux plays field lacrosse, which is a variation of box lacrosse – the more popular version most Canadians are familiar with and the style played by the Point Edward Pacers.
For the past three years, Cadieux played with the Evolve Elite Canada field lacrosse team out of Aurora, Ont. He was invited to try out as a 10-year-old and has returned each season.
With more similarities to soccer than hockey, field lacrosse has a larger following in the U.S., Cadieux explained, with several universities producing teams for NCAA competition.
But there are no field lacrosse teams in Sarnia, so he travels to Aurora twice a month for development and training, and spends a week at the camp each July.
The Grade 7 student at Bridgeview School has begun building a reputation for himself in the sport. He was reluctant to admit it, but he’s the only U13 field lacrosse player this side of Toronto playing with Evolve.
Earning a spot on the tournament team is another feather in his cap, and a once-in-a-lifetime achievement because there’s only a single year players can compete.
Lacrosse is a tradition in the Cadieux family. Andy Cadieux, Nolan’s dad, played for many years and ran training programs through the Point Edward Pacers development system.
“He’s had a lacrosse stick in his hands forever,” Andy Cadieux said.
When Nolan isn’t practicing with Evolve, he tosses the ball around his Point Edward neighbourhood – the same neighbourhood the Pacer’s runner Korey Conroy resides in.
In the offseason Cadieux plays hockey with the Sarnia Junior Sting. But he has his sights set on a lacrosse scholarship to an U.S. university, a pathway aided by his Evolve participation.
Andy Cadieux said the final two games of the tournament will be broadcast on ESPN. Should Evolve’s 23-player team qualify, Cadieux will be playing and paying homage to Canada’s 150. His jersey number is 67.