Tom Marechek, right,will conduct a lacrosse clinic this weekend at The Canterbury School. / Special to The News-Press
Winter 2012 Florida Boys Clinic
» When: 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Friday-Saturday
» Where: The Canterbury School, 8141 College Parkway
» Ages: 7-17
» Cost: $165
» Registration: allprolax.com
Lacrosse has been growing around Florida the past few years.
The sport, which was a curiosity outside of the Mid-Atlantic states and New England a decade ago, has since been recognized as a varsity sport by the Florida High School Athletic Association.
Locally, most Lee County high schools offer it, and it has become a youth sport of some popularity since the establishment of Southwest Florida Youth Lacrosse in 2005.
Hall-of-Famer Tom Marechek has noticed. For the first time, his All Pro Lacrosse company will hold a clinic at The Canterbury School, Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
This is not Marechek’s first clinic in the Sunshine State — he held a clinic at St. Edward's School in Vero Beach last year, and another is taking place there today. But this is his first foray into Southwest Florida, and he’s not surprised that he’s coming here.
“The sport is expanding everywhere,” Marechek said. “It’s amazing.”
To say that Marechek — known as “Hollywood” by his teammates — has been a known quantity in the sport is an understatement. He won two NCAA national championships at Syracuse. Over a 14-year professional career, he won four championships in the indoor National Lacrosse League with the Philadelphia Wings and a Steinfeld Cup with the Baltimore Bayhawks of outdoor Major League Lacrosse. He is a member of the Canada, U.S., NCAA and NLL Halls of Fame. He currently coaches at the Friends School of Baltimore.
A native of Victoria, B.C., a city known mainly for its hockey players, Marechek has been trying to promote the sport in areas that are dominated by other sports. That includes football-heavy Florida, where he believes that lacrosse can thrive.
“It’s a fun sport,” Marechek said. “It’s a fast sport. It’s got a great mix of hockey, soccer and basketball.”
A staff of coaches that includes players with professional and major college experience will join Marechek at the clinic. Teaching to all skill levels, the clinic's goals include introducing athletic youths to the sport and getting participants to ask questions.
“We want them to be sponges at the clinic and ask as many questions as they can think of,” Marechek said.