Over Christmas I had a bit more time to look at some history and came across this article featuring a quote from Chris. I love the comments about team.
Funny story leading up to this tournie. The team was raising funds to go to Calgary and had received the ‘ok’ to stand in front of certain liquor stores with jerseys on and request donations via a donation bucket. (don’t ask why…it was easier than a car wash I guess…!)
Anyways, Chris and his buddy Brett Dobray were at a store and I noticed that they would get some people stopping and donating, but many would pass on by. That is to be expected. Lacrosse is a growing sport and people didn’t have an emotional connection as they might with hockey.
I had a marketing thought.
I made up some signs that said, ‘help us beat Calgary’ and ‘we’ll bodycheck an Albertan for $10’. You should have seen the difference! People were stopping….and donating and donating some more. It was incredible.
What was the difference?
All of a sudden there was an emotional connection. In BC, people love (usually in good nature) to bash Albertans! Hey, when we’re out of the country we’re all brothers and sisters! It’s like a brotherly competition…just watch the Canucks and Calgary or Edmonton and you get the rivalry. It was just amazing to see people engage emotionally and then with their wallets as they connected with the BC vs Alberta challenge. All of a sudden they felt like THEY were going to be playing simply by donating $10 or $20 bucks.
The boys loved that story and that experience…seeing how words and approach could make such a difference.
Secondly, those boys DID play for everyone of those donors and played their hearts out, winning gold, with 6 members of that team representing BC nationally later that summer.
Here’s the full story:
The Langley Thunder Bantam A1’s traveled to Calgary over the Canada Day weekend. Forget bull riding at the Stampede, they were there for some hard hitting, fast paced box lacrosse action. Perhaps the actual thunder storm on Saturday night was a good omen for the Thunder, as the young men (just completed grade seven and eight) took on competition from all over Western Canada.
Saturday match-ups had the squad take on the Sabrecats from Calgary beating them 11-3 with Adam Gallen earning game MVP for a strong offensive performance. The Thunder continued by defeating Saskatchewan’s provincial team in the afternoon game by a score of 9-2 led by game MVP goaltender Ryley Brown who’s saves propelled the offensive charge and final decisive score.
Sunday’s games featured a strong Red Deer team with Langley prevailing by a score of 7-5. Game MVP Chris Friesen had a strong defensive showing against a physical opponent. In the afternoon game, Langley fell behind a skilled Calgary Axeman team, but rallied from a 3 goal deficit to chop the tournament defending champion Axeman 10-7. A brilliant goal and full game hustle earned Will Vandenhooven the game MVP. Having gone 4-0 in tournament play, the Thunder headed into the gold medal game against an all-star team from Calgary called the Hornets.
The game lived up to the hype with the first period ending tied at zero. The Hornets came out stinging in the 2nd period and opened up a 2-1 lead with two Langley players in the sin bin with the period ending. The Hornets capitalized on the 2-man advantage at the beginning of the 3rd by netting a goal and opening a two-goal lead. If it were not for the heroics of Ryley Brown, the Thunder goalie, the score may have been much higher. Instead of folding their tents however, the Thunder rallied led by team wide explosive defensive performance leading to goals by Brett Dobray and Michael Messenger. With the game tied Adam Gallen scored a timely goal with 1 second left on the shot clock. Langley then iced the cake with a massive defensive effort during pure pandemonium breaking in the Thunder zone. With the Hornet goalie pulled for an extra attacker Brett Dobray flew down the floor with two Hornets all over him and scored a diving empty netter for a final score of 5-3 for the Thunder.
Chris Friesen, the team captain stated, “We have been working hard at team play. Working for each other and working together. I think we did that throughout this tournament and the results we achieved were excellent”.
“I’m proud of each member of this squad. Everyone played hard and played together”, added Coach Sean Beasley.
Next up for the team is the Provincial Championships hosted in Langley this year which will be held July 18-22.
Six members of the Langley Thunder Bantam A1 team will also be representing BC in the National Tournament in August in Ontario.