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Tristan Thompson revved up for Canada Summer Games debut of women’s lacrosse

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By Mark Colley

The last time lacrosse was featured at the Canada Summer Games was 1985. New Coke had just been introduced, the first version of Windows came out and Michael Jordan was the NBA’s Rookie of the Year.

Now, 37 years later, the event is coming back at the Canada Summer Games in Niagara from Aug. 6 to 21. It will also be the first time in the Games’ history that women’s lacrosse is played.

Tristan Thompson, a 15-year-old student at St. Mark Catholic High School in Manotick, will be part of the groundbreaking girls bringing renewed life to the sport.

“It’s an opportunity of a lifetime,” Thompson said in an interview with the Ottawa Sports Pages. “I think all the provinces have a lot riding on our backs.”

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Thompson plays field lacrosse with her school, where her team made it to OFSAA and finished seventh. She also plays box lacrosse for both the Gloucester Griffins and Nepean Knights, who she switches between because there’s often not enough girls to form one team at a certain level.

Playing for the Knights’ U22 team at 15 years old — which makes her the youngest on the roster by at least two years, she said — Thompson described the environment as “very welcoming.”

“Everybody treats me as if I were their age,” Thompson said. “The lacrosse community itself, especially the Nepean Knights, [was] very welcoming when I first started.”

Tristan Thompson. Photo:

Thompson also plays U22 hockey with the Nepean Wildcats. Hockey was her first sport, as it was for her brother, who played rec league hockey. But six years ago, when her brother started playing lacrosse, she decided to try it and fell in love with the sport, although she said she likes hockey and lacrosse equally.

Thompson, along with 17-year-old Tristan Caldwell, who also attends St. Mark, were chosen by Team Ontario to light the Canada Summer Games torch in June at the Centennial Flame at Parliament Hill. She said the event was her first time being interviewed.

“You see it on TV, you see all these torch lightings, all these huge ceremonies and you always wish to be in that position,” Thompson said. “It’s a little stressful, because I was hoping I actually lit the wick.”

Tristan Caldwell celebrated a Hockey Eastern Ontario U18 AAA championship with the Nepean Raiders last season. Photo: Twitter

Caldwell is competing in men’s lacrosse at the Games, but is a three-sport athlete. In May, he was selected 11th overall in the Ontario Hockey League U18 draft by the Owen Sound Attack, and he also won a championship with his high school football team.

Ottawa athletes Hunter Lubiniecki and Julien Belair, both of whom compete with the Gloucester Griffins, were also named to the Team Ontario preliminary men’s lacrosse roster. The longlist of 24 athletes will be reduced to 18 ahead of the Games.

As the Games near, Thompson said she was most looking forward to meeting athletes from other provinces.

“Compared to [lacrosse] nationals, there’s way more provinces that are participating,” Thompson said. “The competition, the atmosphere — I’ve been told it’s kind of like the Olympic village.”

The Canada Games female box lacrosse competition runs from Aug. 7-12, while the male event goes from Aug. 16-21. Consult the full schedule here.

Read More and follow our Ottawa at the Canada Summer Games Series, presented by City of Ottawa Sports Commissioner Mathieu Fleury.

In the two weeks leading up to the start of the Canada Summer Games, will be profiling participating local athletes. During the Aug. 6-21 Games, we’ll bring you daily reporting live from Niagara Region. Sign up to receive our free Ottawa at the Canada Summer Games Daily Newsletter to follow along!

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