Three local lacrosse players from the Rockyview Rage will be participating in an incredible opportunity in Ontario this coming weekend. Declin Frazer, Alexander Lypchuk, and Taki Wu will all be participating in the highly anticipated Jr. National Lacrosse League (NLL) Tournament.

Three young players from the RockyView Rage Lacrosse team are heading to Eastern Canada to participate in a unique tournament. (Photo provided by  Elisha O'Doherty-Lypchuk)Three young players from the RockyView Rage Lacrosse team are heading to Eastern Canada to participate in a unique tournament. (Photo provided by  Elisha O'Doherty-Lypchuk)

The annual tournament, now in its ninth year, brings together U13 (PeeWee), U15 (Bantam) and U17 (Midget) teams from across North America to compete in a weekend-long tournament in which young players are able to test their skills by playing by NLL rules.

11-year-old Lypchuk, who will be playing for the Las Vegas Desert Dogs said it's hard to contain his excitement about the trip.

"I can't wait to go to Ontario [and] just play lacrosse. [It's] one of my favourite things," he said. "There's plenty of different things [I love about lacrosse] like the faceoff, the physicality, and then also the technical stuff like the passing and getting to know your teammates and the coaches too."

Though Lypchuk still has quite some time on deciding whether he would want to pursue across professionally, he has already set his sights on pursuing it. His mother, Elisha O'Doherty-Lypchuk, explained that it's not just the sports skills that are developed during such a tournament, it's also seeing friends. She explained that many of her son's current and former lacrosse peers will be on rival teams at the tournament, which he will be facing off against, making for not only great competition but some great laughs. 

"He went into the provincial championship for the gold medal against the Sherwood Park Titans, and he's actually got a couple of the Titan kids on this [Desert Dogs] team. So, it's really cool to see all the different kids that will come together to be able to form a team. To be able to come in and be coached by NLL players; you don't get that every day - that's pretty exceptional."

Lypchuk's Rage teammate, 11-year-old Frazer is just as ecstatic about his trip to Ontario in a few days' time.

"It's been a dream for me since I started playing lacrosse; when I got the opportunity, I started to cry tears of joy. It was just a really amazing opportunity," he said.

He too will be playing with the Las Vegas Desert Dogs. And just like Lypchuk, Frazer has already mapped out his future in lacrosse. 

"I'm actually going to try and get into Duke University and play lacrosse."

St. Albert local Erik Turner who now dons #41 in the NLL, playing as a transition, will be the head coach for the junior team, while defenseman James Barclay and goalie Joel Watson, and Dylan Watson will all be assistant coaches. 

The tournament starts on Friday, August 18 and is hosted at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre (TRAC) in Oakville, Ontario. It runs all weekend, until August 20. The teams will compete in a round-robin style tournament, vying for gold, silver and bronze medals.

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