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Who needs hockey? asks lacrosse-playing Point Edward Pacer

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Troy Shantz

Point Edward Pacer Korey Conroy believes when it comes to lacrosse you can only serve one master.

The 20-year-old ‘right shooter’ has been with the Jr. B lacrosse squad three years now and approaches the game unlike most players.

Lacrosse is often seen by hockey players as a way stay fit in the off-season. With the exception of goalie Brayden Bell, all the Pacers play hockey as well. In fact, several spend the winter months with the Sarnia’s Legionnaires.

But not Conroy, who admits he’s never really been interested in Canada’s national pastime.

“People are always surprised when they find out I’ve never played hockey before, especially in this area,” he said.

I was never really drawn to the sport, which wasn’t totally a bad thing because it allowed my to develop as a lacrosse player and pursue that full-time.”

The Point Edward Pacers are one of four teams in the Far West division of the Ontario Jr. B Lacrosse League, a division they share with the London Blue Devils, the Wallaceburg Red Devils, and the Windsor Clippers.

If you’ve never watched lacrosse before be forewarned: it’s not for the faint of heart. Positionally, it’s a mashup between hockey and basketball but the physical element could convince new spectators that the referee came to the game without a whistle. Brutal hits and hacks are the norm.

“It’s a rough game, so injuries are bound to happen,” said Conroy, who himself is recovering from shoulder injury sustained during a hit-from-behind in a match against Wallaceburg in early May.

The initial medical exam suggested it might cost Conroy the season, but he was back in the lineup on May 22, and the Pacers added another win, defeating the Hamilton Bengals 12 to 8.

Conroy has already recovered from a broken ankle and a broken wrist over the past two seasons.

“It’s a part of the game. It’s kind of the risk you accept when you play a contact sport.”

Even at the professional level, lacrosse hasn’t developed enough to provide athletes sustainable incomes, forcing many players to find day jobs.

“You’re playing for the love of the game, that’s for sure,” he said.

Conroy has earned some floor time at the Jr. A level with two different Toronto-area teams, but the future is anyone’s guess, he said.

After playing lacrosse for almost 17 years Conroy has many fond memories.

“Coaches, teammates, parents, people who volunteer… you stay in touch with those people forever. The camaraderie you build through sports, that stuff stays with you forever,” he said.

The Pacers play regular home games at the Point Edward Arena during their relatively short season of April to June.

The games are broadcast on CHOK radio, and a complete schedule and standings can be found at www.jrpacers.com.

 

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