The biggest field ever in the history of the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Indoor Lacrosse Championship is set to take the stage in less than one year’s time – in Langley.
The FIL will be the biggest ever, organizers announced Tuesday.
At least 20 countries will play in the tournament, which runs from Sept. 19 to 28, 2019.
Play will take place at the Langley Events Centre, as well as at the new Aldergrove Credit Union Community Centre.
This will the fifth edition of the championship – which is held every four years – and Canada is gunning for a fifth consecutive gold medal having beaten the Iroquois Nationals in the championship final all four times. The United States has won bronze in all four events.
The trio of lacrosse heavyweights will be joined by Australia, Austria, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, England, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Serbia, Scotland, Slovakia, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Langley Township bid for the event five years ago and was accepted some years back. Planning for the event now starts in earnest with the determination of the number of teams and the scale of the tournament.
B.C.’s Curtis Dickson, who has played for Team Canada three times in various international lacrosse competitions, was on hand at Tuesday’s announcement.
“There is nothing quite like representing your country. Playing on the world stage is pretty cool and I have been fortunate enough to do it three times now,” he said.
“It’s a different feeling, when you get to put on that maple leaf and represent your country,” Dickson added. The Calgary Roughnecks player is hoping to be selected for the national squad again for the 2019 tournament.
In fact, he would love nothing more than to build on those gaudy stats, all the while helping his country go for a fifth consecutive gold medal at the World Indoor Championship.
“You get to play with a lot of guys you are usually playing against, meet new people and travel to some pretty cool places,” Dickson said. “And I have been fortunate enough to do this a few times now.”
The championship will be contested at Langley Events Centre, a venue Dickson – also known as ‘Superman’ in lacrosse circles – has had more than his fair share of success in.
Playing for Canada – on home soil and just a half hour or so from home – would be an amazing opportunity, he said.
“It would be pretty cool (to play so close to home) especially since I didn’t get the chance to do it (back in 2008),” Dickson added.
His parents were able to travel to watch their son play for Canada in 2014 in Denver, but they were unable to watch him in 2015 in Syracuse or this past summer in Israel.
“If I am fortunate enough to be chosen for this team, it would be pretty special to have so many family and friends nearby and able to watch with it being just down the road,” he said.
In 10 career National Lacrosse League games at LEC with the Calgary Roughnecks, Dickson has 34 goals and 32 assists for 66 points, a hefty 6.6-points-per-game average. And in another five games as a visitor to LEC with the Maple Ridge Burrards of the Western Lacrosse Association, Dickson has tallied 11 goals and 19 points.
The 2015 event – which was held on the Onondaga Nation and in Syracuse, NY – featured 13 teams. The inaugural event in 2003 featured six teams while eight competed in both 2007 and 2011.
“We are excited to honour Canada’s game and celebrate the world as 20 teams from around the globe come to Langley next year,” said Rita Rogers, associate director of event development and coordination for Langley Events Centre.
“The Township of Langley is counting down the days to the 2019 FIL World Indoor Lacrosse Championship and looking forward to welcoming the world to Langley Events Centre,” said Township of Langley Mayor Jack Froese.
“Our enthusiastic fans, committed volunteers, and strong, supportive business community will ensure this is an unforgettable event for both the teams and audiences participating in this exciting competition,” Froese added.