Championship Shield On The Line Tonight
The University of Victoria will host the VFLL Championship game this evening on field #3 at 7pm. Last evening, the Knights defeated the Phantom to earn the first spot and home team advantage in the inaugural VFLL Championship game. The second game of the evening saw the Plugs pull away from the Goal Diggers late in the third quarter and cruise to victory, taking their place as the second representative to vie for the Championship Shield.
Let's look back at how everything started and how far we've come!
Back in late August, the concept of creating a league of players and teams combining Under 18 players from the Vancouver Island Field Lacrosse League and players who've graduated from the youth associations was discussed at the VIFLL level and the VIFLL voted Under 18 Commissioner Tyson Leies to initiate the endeavour in an attempt to created an avenue for which the Under 18 players could continue to play field lacrosse since the decline of the youth division over the past 6 years.
Word was spread amongst the VIFLL associations, players, parents, officials and past players through email, websites and of course, social media sites and a resurrected Facebook site. A four week recruitment endeavour to get Under 18 players and some young and "not so" young adults together to do drop in field lacrosse to see if the merger could work. A bit of interest was taken from the younger ages; JDF and Pacific Rim Lacrosse Associations, but the largest interest came from players in the 19-28 age category.
An additional 3 weeks in late October and early November allowed for players selected as captains, to then witness all of the players (young and old) in game situational scrimmages. A list of players who attended scrimmages as well as those who wrote in and submitted their names for inclusion was created for the captains. Team captains (Cole Christiaens, Devon Casey and Guy Cullen) then met with the Commissioner and a formal draft was conducted. During the draft, a fourth team was then established due to a considerable amount of interest during the "live" draft postings on Facebook. Admittedly, some numbers dropped from each of the four teams but teams were able to recruit more players to bolster their rosters.
The team most hit by the loss of original players from the draft was the Phantom but hats off to the captains (Bob Gallagher, Josh Nelson and Dale Sutton) as they were willing and able to recruit more players to their team and play a full season. The VFLL is grateful and indebted to those three gentlemen and their entire team for bonding and staying together and playing hard each and every game!
A 24 game schedule was created with each team playing 12 games (4 games against one another) which concluded on Sunday March 12th and then a 3 game playoff or Championship Weekend was established to conclude the VFLL season and determine who would be the Victoria Field Lacrosse League's Champions!
We've had a tremendous amount of support from the local community and local associations which was witnessed last night with just shy of 80 people taking in the Knights vs. Phantom game and another 40 taking in the Goal Diggers vs. Plugs game. Tonight we hope for a record crowd! The league will be conducting random activities this evening and some lucky fans might get their hands on some cool prizes!
Reminder... Game time is 7pm on field #3. Get their early, find your seat and sit back, relax and get your warm drinks ready as these two evenly matched teams compete for the brand new VFLL Championship Shield!
VFLL Championship Shield Side Story... (the creation of this emblematic shield)
The shield was created of scrap metal, discarded after a few passes of the plasma cutter took a large metal sheet and transformed it into what is now a bed-liner in the back of a 2015 F-150. The dark blue embossing of the "V" (league logo) took shape but after a brief power outage in the shop sent the clamps tumbling off the bench, the metal quickly changed direction causing the flag to angle itself and lean in one direction. Not to waste anything, the league commissioner left the shape as it turned out and the shield was then powder coated and assembled to what you see today.
The wood (mahogany) was supplied by Cullen Tree Service. The Cullen's (Guy and Rees) flew down to Central America when their countries government needed additional labour to clear some land to build a local toothpick factory. Quick to help, the Cullen boys helped out and brought back some dry mahogany (snuck it in their suitcase) and returned to Victoria, BC with what is now the trophy base.
The base was created and supplied by a local anonymous woodworker who has been part of local and island lacrosse for years. The VFLL would like to thank everyone involved in the creation of the league trophy and hope that it represents the league for many, many years to come!