Queen's University will be playing host to the Baggataway Cup, the championship tournament for the Canadian University Field Lacrosse Association, November 3-5.
It will be the first time that the Baggataway Cup has been at Queen's. The Gaels will receive an automatic entry in the six-team field as the host team.
Queen's has other big news. Alec Johnston has been named the new head coach after Don Tough stepped down.
“Queen's is excited to co-host the Baggataway Cup with CUFLA on the university's west campus,” says Duane Parliament, Queen's' manager of recreation and sports clubs. “And we're excited to have Alec and his lacrosse experience joining our program.”
Johnston graduated this year from Robert Morris University, a Division 1 program in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Before that, he played for three years at Culver Military Academy in Indiana.
The Kingston native has coached youth camps and programs both in Pittsburgh and with his hometown's minor system. Johnston says he recognizes there are differences between the NCAA and CUFLA, primary among them being that CUFLA runs a shorter season and plays in the fall rather than the spring, but he expects to bring some of the lessons he learned at RMU to Queen's.
“You're still trying to run a high-level lacrosse program. You still want the intensity to be there, the commitment to be there,” Johnston says. “Some of the things that I learned in the four years I was in the States playing college lacrosse, I'm definitely going to try to bing over, like discipline, commitment.”
While there's a little pressure knowing that the Gaels will be playing in the national championship just a couple of months after he takes over the team, Johnston says he's excited for the chance to compete for a title and to show off the game in the area.
“Making sure that as a team we're hitting our peak at that time of year [will be important],” Johnston says. “I think it's a great opportunity for the team but also for the lacrosse community in Kingston. It's something that we're trying to grow and I think having that high level of field lacrosse in town will show people what lacrosse is like at the next level.”
The Gaels start training camp this weekend. The CUFLA regular season starts September 7. ?