YORKTON - The eyes of lacrosse fans will be on San Diego later this month as the 2023 World Lacrosse Men’s Championship is set for June 21 to July 1.
This year’s event, the 14th edition of the men’s world championship, features 30 teams vying for the sport’s biggest prize with the U.S. hosting the event for the fourth time after previously hosting in 1982, 1988 and 2014.
The hosts will be looking for their second consecutive title and avenge the 2014 loss in the gold medal game on home soil in Denver to rival Canada. The two teams battled to the wire in 2018 in Israel, when the United States scored the gold-medal-winning goal with one second remaining.
Toronto’s Clarke Petterson is on the Canadian roster hoping to recapture gold.
“It’s super awesome,” he said of his selection to Team Canada in an interview with Yorkton This Week. “There are so many talented players . . . I’m just happy to have the chance.”
Petterson certainly brings a solid resume to the team as a professional lacrosse player with the Cannons LC of the Premier Lacrosse League and the Halifax Thunderbirds of the NLL.
Looking at his role on the national team Petterson said he will just work hard.
“I think I have a relentless work ethic when I’m on the field,” he said.
As for working hard Petterson said he will look “to create some offence off the first dodge, to initiate and move the ball.”
Obviously as a perennial medalist Canada heads to San Diego with high expectations in tow, but Petterson doesn’t think that puts undue pressure on the team.
“Pressure is sort of a privilege,” he said, adding it comes with being a team with the talent where wins are anticipated.
Going in as a favoured team is something Petterson said the team should be proud of and that should make them work to prove the expectation was warranted.
“With the history of the tournament we know who the top dogs are . . . It’s a pretty cool situation,” he said.
At the same time Petterson said the team expects to play in the final game.
“If we’re not playing for a gold medal it would be a disappointment,” he admitted.
Leading up to a hoped for final Petterson said a key will be to stay focused and play hard every shift because they need to be able to assess “what we’ve got,” in terms of who plays best with who, and who are best in particular situations, adding they won’t have much pre-tourney time to make such determinations.
“If you play to your strengths others can shine,” he said,
The event will feature a 107 game-schedule, with USD’s Torero Stadium hosting a majority of featured tournament games with a capacity of 6,000 spectators.
The 30 teams are split into six pools of five, with the top five nations – Canada, USA, Haudenosaunee, England and Australia -- in the rankings Pool A.
The top two A pool teams will advance directly to the quarterfinals, while the remaining three teams from the A pool will join the top nine teams from pools B-F (five first-place finishers and four second-place finishers) in the first round of the playoffs on June 27 to determine the remaining teams in the quarterfinals, which kick off on June 28.
Canada’s efforts in San Diego start June 21, taking on the host Americans.