TRURO – From the moment Jamie Barnett picked up a lacrosse stick 10 years ago, he fell in love with the game.
Truro athlete Jamie Barnett is in Radotin, Czech Republic, to compete with the Nova Scotia Privateers in the 21st annual Ales Hrebesky Memorial International Box Lacrosse tournament. SHERRY MARTELL – TRURO DAILY NEWS
The Truro athlete says it is more than a sport - it’s a “lifestyle” that offers many opportunities such as traveling around the globe to compete with the best-of-the best at international tournaments.
“I played sports growing up my entire life and it (lacrosse) was the whole concept of the style of the play, the passing, the catching, the contact,” Barnett told the Truro Daily News just days before heading to Radotin, Czech Republic, to compete in the 21st annual Ales Hrebesky Memorial International Box Lacrosse tournament. “I really liked the contact, the competitiveness.”
At age 18 after finishing his high school hockey career, he noticed a newspaper advertisement for Junior B lacrosse registration at the Colchester Legion Stadium in Truro. Wanting to stay active he decided to give the sport a try, and he never looked back.
His love of the game carried on to the university level where he earned two back-to-back Maritime University Field Lacrosse League championships with St. Francis Xavier University team.
Barnett, now 28, has traveled all over the globe playing the game with several teams, meeting new friends and earning a place in one of the most grueling tournaments on the world stage several times.
He first competed at the memorial tournament in 2008 with the Adanac Warriors, and again in 2009. In 2010 he returned to the Czech Republic but this time he joined the Radotin team in the Czech National Box Lacrosse League.
“It was the best experience of my life. We actually ended up winning the championship,” said Barnett. “So it was pretty cool.”
He competed in the memorial tournament again the following years and on Sunday will join the Nova Scotia Privateers’ 17-member team, compiled with players from across Nova Scotia, Ontario and U.S., in Radotin for this year’s memorial tournament set to run April 23 to 26.
There will be 21 teams from 13 different countries vying for the championship.
“I’m so excited,” Barnett said. “This will be my sixth time to this tournament, and I played in the national league there for the house team of the tournament, so I have so many friends there now.
“So it’s like on the floor you play hard but off the floor it is, you know, you catch up with old friends.”
But make no mistake; as much as Barnett is looking forward to being reunited with buddies he has his eyes on the prize.
“I am going there to win,” he said. “We lost in the semi-finals the last two years, one by a goal, last year by two goals.
“So it’s time for us. But every year the tournament is getting so much harder.”
Barnett would like to see the sport continue to grow locally and hopes eventually to see a Junior A league established here. He has hosted a number of clinics in the local area supported by Lacrosse Nova Scotia and in the past has coached the Junior B team.
“I want to grow the game and I want young lacrosse players who are playing to know there are opportunities,” he said.