More lacrosse courts are needed in Maple Ridge, club says

The Burrards’ U13 female team celebrating at a tournament last week. Photo supplied.

For years, Tyson Craiggs has eyed box lacrosse facilities across the Lower Mainland, looking for a safe and permanent place for his club to call home. 

There’s the Poirier Forum in nearby Coquitlam. 

George Preston Recreation Centre on 42nd Avenue in Langley, the Langley Events Centre, and a covered lacrosse box in Port Moody. 

But all of those facilities are home to rival clubs, who aren’t always keen on seeing the competition using their courts. 

“Once those other associations find out that we’re using their facilities, all of a sudden, the next year, they become not available to us,” said Craiggs, president of the Ridge Meadows Burrards minor lacrosse club. 

“We’ve been bouncing around quite a bit, just trying to find time.” 

The Burrards are the largest minor lacrosse club in western Canada, Craiggs said, with more than 620 members in age categories ranging from from younger than 11 to older than 17. 

Every year, up to six Burrards players receive an NCAA Division One scholarship to play lacrosse south of the border. 

However, for the six years Craiggs has been on the team’s board, the Burrards have struggled to find adequate facilities in Maple Ridge — forcing the club to look for indoor courts across the Lower Mainland. 

“Our athletes are scattered all over the province doing development, because we can’t provide the services here in Maple Ridge,” Craiggs said. 

The lacrosse box at Maple Ridge Secondary School, where the Burrards practice every weekend. Photo by Tyson Craiggs.

Stephane Labonne, general manager of parks, recreation, and culture at the City of Maple Ridge, said he has had multiple conversations regarding the possibility of adding new lacrosse facilities for the Burrards. 

“I’m disheartened over the fact that they have to look at booking spaces in other communities in Metro Vancouver,” Labonne said. “That’s the last thing that I want.” 

However, while he credits the program for putting a spotlight on local lacrosse talent in Maple Ridge, he recognizes that multiple sports clubs in the city are currently being underserved by their facilities. He has a responsibility to devise a plan — which is affordable to tax-paying residents — that ensures all teams have a safe and adequate space to play.

“Whether it’s swimming, hockey, basketball, softball, soccer, lacrosse, we have needs across our entire community for new and improved facilities, as well as refurbished facilities,” Labonne said. 

Specifically, the city has a need to provide a secondary pool to provide residents with a place to swim outside of the 42-year-old Maple Ridge Leisure Centre. The Leisure Centre has 1,500 people signed up for swimming lessons, with 1,300 people on the waitlist, he said.

“Lacrosse is just one of the needs that we have.” 

The facilities

The lacrosse boxes the Burrards have access to in Maple Ridge are outdated, Craiggs said. 

Specifically, there are two boxes run by the city’s school district the club uses. But those facilities, which he says were built in the 1970s, are unsafe. 

“The asphalt surface in the boxes is wrecking our equipment, nails sticking out of the boards, people are living in lacrosse boxes at times,” he said. “We’re really tasking our volunteers with more than just coaching when we’re coaching in these facilities.” 

Photo via Tyson Craiggs.

The Burrards also play at Planet Ice in Maple Ridge and the Pitt Meadows Arena, but it can be hard to schedule practice or game times with other sports clubs in a privately-run building. 

For example, the club struggled to host the upcoming under 13 provincial championships in July at both of those local facilities. 

“To host provincials, we had to fight tooth and nail to keep the arena open in Pitt Meadows because [they] get more money for ice time,” Craiggs said. 

“As soon as we’re done with provincials, the ice is going back in at Pitt Meadows.”

A collapsed agreement

In 2017, Craiggs said that the Burrards were working with the City of Maple Ridge to have a covered lacrosse facility included in the city’s long-term community recreation plan. 

By the time the previous council’s term ran out, though, the agreement fell through. 

“I think the last mayor and council had it on the backburner,” he said. “We had a gentlemen’s agreement that something would be done.” 

As their registration numbers have grown, and the popularity of lacrosse continues to increase — highlighted by its inclusion into the 2026 Olympics — Craiggs would like to work with Maple Ridge to meet their current needs. 

“It’s our national sport, and it’s something that we should be investing in,” he said.

Labonne said that the city is in talks with the Provincial Agricultural Land Commission about adding a fourth ice sheet to the Maple Ridge Planet Ice facility, which would serve as another place for lacrosse. 

Should the city get approval, the fourth ice sheet would be built within 18 months. 

“That would be another facility that they would be able to leverage for dry floor use,” he said.

Labonne added that he is in the process of working on an implementation plan that will lay the foundation for investments in recreation and culture facilities in the city. He expects that the need for more lacrosse infrastructure will be made clear in the document. 

“I can assure you that we are having conversations through the implementation of our master plan that will begin to address the needs of lacrosse,” Labonne said. “As well as swimming, baseball, softball, soccer and the rest of the sports in the community.”

Ultimately, Craiggs has seen Maple Ridge invest in turf fields in the past. Specifically, Telosky and Arthur Peak parks are both sites that the club uses in the fall for field lacrosse season. 

He hopes that similar investments are made for indoor lacrosse courts too, so it makes it easier to play lacrosse throughout the year. 

“It would provide year-round development opportunities for our athletes,” he said. “Instead of going outside Maple Ridge.”


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