There'll be something a little different when the Kitchener-Waterloo Kodiaks entertain the Peterborough Lakers in a June 8 Major Series Lacrosse game. Rather than playing the contest in their usual home arena, the Kodiaks will face off with the defending Mann Cup champions in front of thousands of fans in Kingston's K-Rock Centre. That's the plan, anyway, for the First Capital Cup.
The game is the brainchild of Kodiaks' owner Al Orth and his business officer/executive assistant for his job in Queen's University's human resources department, Nicole Fowler. It is being held June 8 to coincide with the Kingston Krossfire minor lacrosse tournament, which is expected to have 40 teams across the minor age groups. The registration fee for the tournament includes tickets to the game, so Orth and Fowler envision an arena full of young players and their parents and coaches watching what should be an exciting early-season game.
The Kodiaks are on an upward trajectory, having shown marked improvement last year then adding a wealth of talent in this year's MSL junior draft, including taking Jeremy and Jason Noble with the top two picks. It's unlikely that Jeremy will play in Kitchener this year because he will be in school in Denver as well as playing in the Major League Lacrosse field league, but he is expected to join the club in future summers. In all, KW added six graduates of the Minto Cup champion Orangeville Northmen as well as rugged and talented defender Mitchell Wilde from the Whitby Warriors.
The Lakers will be looking to win their sixth Mann Cup in a decade. They'll be missing Mac Allen and Andrew Suitor because of knee injuries but sub in NLL star defenders Brock Sorensen and Mike Hobbins, both returning from injuries that kept them out last summer. That's just the way you roll when you're in the midst of a run of success playing out in front of large, adoring crowds the way the Lakers are.
If Orth's and Fowler's vision for the First Capital Cup come to fruition, the Lakers will feel right at home, given that the organizers expect the largest crowd of the MSL season to attend the game. Their goal is to get at least 4,000 fans out for the game, which is right at the capacity of Peterborough's home rink, so if they are successful it will indeed be the biggest group to watch an MSL game this summer.
Orth says the 4,000 target is very realistic. They weren't sure how the response would be, since Kingston is perceived to be a hockey town, but Orth and Fowler say they have been overwhelmed by the excitement the game is generating. “Companies have already been reserving their suites for the game,” Orth told IL Indoor. “The K-Rock Centre has a first-in-line offer for their regular customers and within 48 hours of the game being announced on their site they had over 100 sales just through that.”
While a hundred sales may seem like a far cry from the 4,000 they anticipate by game day, Orth explains that those sales were just from folks who happened to see the game posted on the K-Rock web site, with no promotion whatsoever.
Their excitement is further boosted by the response they've had from the local business community. Fowler, who previously served as the president of the Kingston minor association, says they went in to see people ready to put on a sales pitch but it was unnecessary. “Folks just offered to help right away,” she says.
An added bonus associated with the game is a clinic that will be put on by Lakers' players Brad Self and Shawn Evans, co-founders of Nationwide Lacrosse. They'll run the clinic for 2-3 hours on the day of the game. They're also scheduled to attend a Kingston Lacrosse Association clinic tonight (Wednesday April 3) and will be hosting a Nationwide week-long clinic in Kingston July 29-August 1.
For more information about the game, visit the FirstCapital Cup website. It has details and a link to purchase tickets online. For more information about clinics with Self and Evans you can visit the NationwideLacrosse website.