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Special visitors at Sudbury Rockhound practices this week
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The Greater Sudbury Lacrosse Association is always home to folks coming and going and this past week was no different. Taking in the U13/U15 Rockhound practices Wednesday night in Garson, it was nice to see long-time Sudbury netminder Kiaus Lalonde in attendance, enjoying a break from his stint with the Welland Generals of the OLA Jr B Lacrosse League this summer to return home.

“It’s definitely a higher level and caliber,” noted Lalonde, an 18 year-old who was part of the back to back Rockhound Intermediate teams that captured provincial gold these past two years under coach and former pro, Mike Miron. “All of the players are at the top of their game.”

“They’re taking a lot more shots on me – and the shots are just insane.”

While he clearly misses the camaraderie that he has built up with numerous local teammates, Lalonde knew full well that it was time to move on. “I want to get better; I want to play pro one day,” said the first year Cambrian College student. “Wherever I can get to play at a higher level, I’ll play.”

“I need to get better at moving more quickly,” added Lalonde. “The shots are coming at me a lot faster. And there is more reading of the ball – that’s a big one.”

While Lalonde makes his way from Sudbury south, the very same practices this week also welcomed Whitby native and NLL (National Lacrosse League) rookie Sean Westley to the north. A graduate of St Bonaventure University (about an hour south of Buffalo, N.Y), the 23 year-old earned both a degree in Business as well as his MBA with the school, signing on to work with the Innova Wealth Partners Group based out of Sudbury.

While the nature of his work does allow for a balancing with the demands of his professional lacrosse career, Westley took full advantage of being back up this way to give back to a sport that he loves.

“As soon as I heard there were a couple of minor lacrosse teams running practices and growing the game up north, I just thought that it was something really cool and special to be part of,” said Westley, coming off a freshman season that would see him register 10 goals and 13 assists in 14 games with the Las Vegas Desert Dogs.

“I was really happy to jump at the chance to come out.”

Growing up in the lacrosse hotbed that is Whitby, home to the OLA Provincial Championships every year, Westley admitted to having his eyes opened somewhat as he lent a helping hand to a pair of Sudbury Rockhound teams this week.

“Honestly, coming out here, I wasn’t sure what the skill level of the kids would be,” he stated. “I was really pleasantly surprised at the level of talent, the level of skill for a lot of these kids. It’s been really cool to see.”

"The coaches do a great job of coaching the little things really well," Westley added. "As you get older, some of the aspects of the game get a little more complex but they have such a good base program that I think it's just a matter of sticking with it, enjoying the game and having fun with it."

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