‘Sky’s the limit’ for boys lacrosse at Summer Games

Meadows West resident coaching Team Manitoba

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This article was published 15/06/2020 (840 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A Meadows West resident will steer the Manitoba U17 boys lacrosse team to the Canada Summer Games 2021.

Cory Henkewich, 27, has a lengthy history of playing and coaching lacrosse, and that resume will prove valuable as his team gears up for the Games, which will be held in Niagara, Ont. between Aug. 6 to 21 next year.

“I think I bring varying experience,” he said. “I’ve seen the game as a player. Being a smaller guy growing up, it taught me that I wasn’t going to be a big bruiser of a player so I kind of had to learn the game and learn things a little bit differently. And that’s kind of the application that I take towards coaching.”

Supplied photo Cory Henkewich (centre) will be the head coach of the Manitoba U17 boys lacrosse team at the Canada Summer Games in 2021. Above, he stands with then-West Kildonan Collegiate lacrosse players Dradon Smith (left) and Brodie Anderson following the school’s 2017 provincial championship victory.

Henkewich grew up playing field lacrosse for the North End Falcons until joining Garden City Collegiate’s team for its inaugural year.

Following Grade 12 graduation, Henkewich became coach of his alma mater’s team and also played for Alberta’s St. Albert Miners junior A team. He continued to coach Garden City before moving over to West Kildonan Collegiate for about three years.

Two years ago Henkewich joined Manitoba Blizzard, a junior box lacrosse team that competes in an Alberta-based league. As head coach, he twice steered the team to the bronze medal matches at nationals, falling short both times.

His experience and love of the sport inspired him to apply for the Summer Games head coach position, where lacrosse will be a competitive sport for the first time since 1985.

Henkewich will be joined by assistants Brett Morrison, Luc Magnan, and Blaze Bezecki.

“Brett and I have been coaching together on provincial teams for the last six to seven years. And him and I work seamlessly together. For me and him it’s going to be nothing new, we trust each other 100 per cent, there’s nothing that’s off limits, we’re not afraid to question each other,” Henkewich said.

Magnan, who competes in the National Lacrosse League for the Halifax Thunderbirds, “brings that extra pedigree that we’re looking for to legitimize ourselves not just as a team but as a program.”

And Bezecki, a former team captain of Manitoba Blizzard, will shorten the age gap between players and coaches, Henkewich said.

“He brings that player perspective … and his skill level alone speaks for itself.”

Together, the four will try out, select, and train athletes for the team’s 18-member roster.

Players aren’t currently practising in person, but coaches are meeting with them via Zoom, providing a fitness regimen and alternative methods of training. Henkewich said they’ve received interest from approximately 60 players.

“With our coaching staff and the players we see potentially being on this team, we see a ton of talent and we kind of see the sky as the limit for us as long as we put boots on the ground, put in the effort, we think we’re going to be successful.”

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