For over 20 years successive Altona Lacrosse Committee’s and a small band of dedicated box lacrosse players, have continued to lobby Council to have box lacrosse facilities (also known as Indoor Lacrosse) returned to our club. Now, due to all our hard work and in particular the hard work of Alan Lewer and then Rod Maher, our dream is about to be fulfilled.
Going back to the 1970s and the work of Altona member Ken Read to keep the sport going (Box players play for the Ken Read Cup), Altona has been at the forefront of pushing box lacrosse in Victoria for 50 years.
In the early 2000s, Puckhandlers became the home of Box Lacrosse and still Altona was at the forefront of preserving our sport. Altona Committee member Alan Lewer was overseeing the administration of the competition and keeping it going. When Puckhandlers was no longer willing to run indoor lacrosse, it was Alan Lewer that pushed for the Altona Committee to take the risk and purchase the Court. Make no mistake, it was a risk, we did not know whether we could take the court down, how we could move it and how we would be able to put it back up. Nevertheless, the Committee approved the purchase of the court knowing it was the only chance Indoor Lacrosse had of continuing in Victoria. Thanks to the huge effort of a small number of box lacrosse players and supporters from Altona and other clubs, the Court was taken down and put back up at Westgate Indoor Sports Centre, and box lacrosse was able to survive. If not for the Altona Lacrosse Club, box lacrosse would have died in Victoria.
From 2018 to early 2019, the Altona Committee, and in particular Alan Lewer, was in regular contact with several Councillors from Hobsons Bay City Council pushing the need for our box lacrosse court to be re-established at our club. Thankfully, we have some great Councillors in Strand Ward and we gained the support of Councillor Angela Altair, Councillor Peter Hemphill and Councillor Jonathon Marsden. Hobsons Bay City Council has always been a wonderful supporter of lacrosse, and sport in general. When we needed them most, they came to the party and supported our push for the Court.
Things again looked grim when, in 2020, Westgate informed the Club it was going to pull out of hosting lacrosse. The news was a terrible blow for our sport. However, now we could not be more proud and delighted to tell our members, as well as the many dedicated indoor players from several clubs who have also played such an important part in keeping our sport alive, that box lacrosse is finally going to have a permanent home and that home is at Altona and Newport Lacrosse Club.
We cannot thank Hobsons Bay City Council enough for their assistance. Nor can we overstress the work of Alan Lewer and Rod Maher. Construction on our Court will start on October 26. All lacrosse players know the positive impact indoor lacrosse has on skill development of players – it enabled Canada to beat the USA in world championships and it will greatly assist Altona players in improving their skills.
It has been a horrible year for all sports, but we can now look back on 2020 as a good year as this is the year we became the home of indoor lacrosse in Victoria. We will work just as hard as we always have to ensure that not only this form of our sport survives but that it thrives under our stewardship. This is a great time to be a lacrosse player and especially an Altona Lacrosse player!
Mark Lewer, on behalf of the Committee, Altona Lacrosse Club