When Team BC and Team Ontario faced off in the men’s Canada Summer Games box lacrosse finals last month, it was a rematch 37 years in the making. Once again, B.C. prevailed.
Dorian Connolley, now 17, was the sole Sunshine Coast resident on Team BC’s box lacrosse team that travelled to Niagara last month for the sport’s return to the biennial national event. The Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games ran Aug. 6 to 22.
The teenager has been playing lacrosse for the better part of a decade, in earlier years playing with the Sunshine Coast Rapids and now training in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island. Connolley has a commitment to play Division 1 lacrosse with Ohio State University in 2024.
Box lacrosse (an indoor version of lacrosse) was part of the Canada Games between 1969 and 1985 and only this year returned to the schedule. Aug. 21, just as it had been in ’85, B.C. and Ontario came crosse to crosse in a final match.
While Ontario got an earlier lead, Team BC rallied later in the game. “Ontario was beating them I think by three,” said Hope Keats, Connolley’s mother who travelled with the team to Niagara. “But then they got I think three shots just at the beginning of the third period and they really held their ground.
“It was a battle.”
But it wasn’t all competition at the Canada Games. A lacrosse player from Victoria – Ben Pawluk – had been diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, and couldn’t join in the long-anticipated competition with Team BC. So, the team hung his jerseys behind the bench at each game and asked opponents to sign them with words of encouragement, BP Sports Niagara reported last month.
“We’re really playing for him out there,” Pawluk’s teammates echoed in a video posted to the Team BC Facebook page. “This is for him.”