Starting today (Sept. 19), the best lacrosse players from 20 countries are in Langley, B.C. for the 2019 World Indoor Championships.
While nobody from Prince George is representing Canada on the international stage, two local products will be playing on home soil but bearing the colours of two different nations.
Cole Paciejewski has been called on by his kilted friends to play for Scotland, while Leif Paulson will carry his Viking spirit into battle with Sweden.
Paciejewski competed with the Scots last year at the World Lacrosse Championship in Israel, finishing in 12th place, and is now entering his third year with the national squad.
He explains to PrinceGeorgeMatters the country is coming up in the sport, but winning a piece of hardware is tough with Canada and the United States dominating the podium.
“As a team, we understand that winning a medal in this tournament is a very difficult thing to do,” said Paciejewski. “Scotland lacrosse has primarily focused on the field game and indoor lacrosse is still relatively new to the country. Our goal is to grow the game in Scotland, and to simply show the world what Scotland lacrosse has to offer and that’s going to take a ton of hard work and grit.”
The 25-year-old’s father was born in Scotland, which is his main reason for donning the white ‘X’ in the game he loves.
Paciejewski says this tournament will be extra special as his family will be in the lower mainland to watch him play in an international event for the first time, as well as it being on Canadian soil.
“Anytime I get to put on the Scotland jersey, it’s an incredible feeling. We’ve got a good squad and I feel like I now bring a lot of international championship experience to the mix [...] I’m excited to see how the tournament progresses. It’s going to be a very strange feeling [playing in Canada]. I’m used to having to travel halfway across the world and struggle with jet lag for the first few days, but now I’m fresh and feel really good.”
Scotland’s best finish was fourth place in 2003’s inaugural event, losing to the United States in the bronze-medal match.
The Scots will face-off with Slovakia this morning at 10:30 a.m., Germany on Saturday (Sept. 21) at 4:30 p.m., Mexico on Sunday (Sept. 22) at 1:30 p.m., and the Czech Republic on Monday (Sept. 23) at 7:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, Paulson will be wearing Sweden’s blue and yellow these next nine days as he has dual citizenship with the Scandinavian nation.
They’ll be competing at their first-ever World Indoor Championship.
They’ve made five appearances at the World Lacrosse Championships with ninth place in 2002 as their best finish.
Sweden will take on Finland on Friday at 10:30 a.m., Austria on Saturday at 1:30 p.m., Australia on Sunday and 7:30 p.m., and Costa Rica on Monday at 1:30 p.m.
Canada kicks off its schedule tonight against the United States, 7:30 p.m.
They’ll also play England on Friday at 4:30 p.m., Israel on Sunday at 4:30 p.m., then conclude the opening round on Monday at 7:30 p.m. against the Iroquois Nationals.
The World Indoor Lacrosse Championships are held every four years with Canada, the Iroquois Nationals, and the United States winning gold, silver, and bronze respectively in every event since 2003.