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2018-06-18


McGill University has announced an athletic financial award for Indigenous lacrosse players.

The?impact of?last summer's?150th?Anniversary of Lacrosse Celebration?-?the?once-in-a-lifetime event?that honoured and celebrated the history and cultural significance of Canada's national summer sport -?continued to be felt this past weekend in Montreal, where plans to offer a new athletic scholarship for indigenous lacrosse players were announced by?Marc Gélinas, executive director of athletics at McGill University.
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More commonly known as an athletic financial award (AFA), fundraising for this prize was initiated a few months ago, in recognition of the 150th anniversary of lacrosse, which was celebrated in 2017 by the?Canadian Lacrosse Foundation?(CLF).
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"With the help of alumni and friends, our goal is to raise $80,000, which would allow us to endow the award so that it could be given out in perpetuity and maintain a strong legacy for years to come," said Gélinas. "In just a few months, we have raised nearly $50,000 for this campaign. We are now reaching out to lacrosse alumni and interested donors.
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"Not only is this award important for ensuring the strength of our varsity program and the recruitment of competitive and high-achieving student-athletes, it also constitutes the first AFA to benefit McGill varsity lacrosse, and is believed to be?the first in Canada with a focus on indigenous student-athletes."
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Preference for this new "Canadian Lacrosse Foundation Athletics Award" will be given to indigenous students who are members of the McGill varsity men's lacrosse team. If none of the team's recruits meet that criteria in any given year, then a secondary preference would be for an indigenous student who is in good standing in another varsity sport at McGill.
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"The Canadian Lacrosse Foundation is honoured to have provided $16,000 as seed money to initiate this indigenous scholarship," added CLF board member?Jim Calder, who was a key organizer on the 150th anniversary celebration last year.
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While lacrosse was played as a club sport at McGill in the late 1800s, it eventually faded in popularity on campus until 2001, when a men's lacrosse club was re-established. Since earning varsity status in 2008, the McGill men's lacrosse team has emerged as a national power, winning seven straight CUFLA East titles, two national championships in 2012 and 2015, and compiling an overall record of 169-82-2, for a .672 winning percentage.
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"As we constantly seek diversity, and respect the fact that lacrosse is known as the 'Creator's Game', it's fitting that the CLF and McGill have teamed up to establish this award," said?W88Tim Murdoch, about to enter his 16th year as McGill's head men's lacrosse coach.
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"It is challenging for us to attract qualified indigenous student-athletes to McGill, as they are aggressively recruited by other Canadian universities, as well as better funded NCAA teams. This announcement should help us in that area."
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Four members of the current McGill squad have First Nations' status, including sophomore?Kieran McKay?of Richmond, B.C., and freshmen?Liam Mcmaster?of Saskatoon, Sask., and?Hunter Zawada?of Kimberley, B.C. Murdoch recently confirmed a commitment from?Cougar Kirby?of Kahnawake, Que., an NCAA Div. 1 transfer from the University of Albany.
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