Citing organizational, financial and player concerns, the Kingston Kings will suspend operations for the 2015 junior lacrosse season.
The decision was made by the team’s executive this week to seek a one-year leave of absence from the junior C council of the Ontario Lacrosse Association, with an eye to regrouping and returning to active status for 2016.
“As much as it was a difficult decision, it was an easy decision,” Kings vice-president Hal Cowie said. “It’s disappointing to see it come to suspending operations,” but on the other hand, he said, the team was poised to fold four years ago, when the current group came to the rescue of the Kingston Cavaliers.
“This group of volunteers kept the program alive for four years,” Cowie said.
There are three main reasons for the team’s decision, he explained:
• The team’s volunteer base has diminished and the club has been unable to recruit new people to help with the many things required to put a junior team on the floor;
• Due to the sale of two local businesses, the team has lost two major sponsors, and it needs time to cultivate alternate sources of revenue;
• The team suffered a catastrophic loss of players last year. In addition to the five graduating players, five others from the 2013 team opted not to play. Four more players moved up to Junior B clubs, with no player compensation in return. The team’s recruiting efforts were not fruitful and there were many nights last year when the Kings struggled to find enough players to put a team on the floor—and not enough nights when that team was competitive.
Even though just three members of last year’s team are lost to graduation, Cowie said the depth of the potential player pool is uncertain.
The Kings finished the 2014 regular season 1-14-1 and were eliminated in the first round of playoffs for the third year in a row.
The Kingston Lacrosse Association has plans to field a rep intermediate team this year, so there will be an opportunity for the team’s returning players to stay active in the sport.