‘I was pumped for sure’: Players react to lacrosse returning to 2028 Olympics

Still of the Canadian lacrosse league while playing. (Submitted: Canada Lacrosse)

On Oct. 16, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved the addition of five new sports to the 2028 Summer Olympics, including a hybrid version of box and field lacrosse, Canada’s national summer sport.

Lacrosse was last played in the Olympics in 1908 in London. During those games, only two countries competed in the sport: Canada and Great Britain. That year, Canada defeated Britain 14-10 to win the gold medal.

“Today is a remarkable moment in the history of both lacrosse and the Olympic Games,” said World Lacrosse CEO Jim Scheer on the day of the sport’s addition to the Olympic circuit. 

“The inclusion of lacrosse in the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles is a testament to our sport’s enduring legacy, worldwide popularity and unique ability to bring people together.”   

One of the players looking forward to lacrosse at the Olympic stage is Luke Mutch, a rookie defenseman for the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) lacrosse team. 

When he initially heard about lacrosse’s addition to the 2028 Summer Olympics, he said he “was pumped for sure.”

Mutch has played lacrosse since 2020 and his participation even took him to the 2022 Canada Summer Games, where he played goalie for Team Prince Edward Island.      

“I was excited because you always think … one of the biggest moments in hockey is always those Olympic games, Canada versus U.S.,” said Mutch. “And now, being able to see those moments in lacrosse form, I think it’s going to be really fun and cool to watch.”    

As for the structure of the 2028 Olympics, the IOC has planned for the tournament to be played in the World Lacrosse Sixes format. Sixes is defined by World Lacrosse as “an incredibly fast-paced, compact version of lacrosse, combining the most exciting elements of the more traditional disciplines.” 

The tournament will allow for both box and field lacrosse players to excel, with 45-minute games, played with six players per team on each side, taking place on a 70-metre by 36-metre field with nets 10 metres in from the end lines. It will have four eight-minute quarters, with a thirty-second shot clock, similar to basketball or ringette.  

Meanwhile, an athlete at St. Thomas University is looking forward to lacrosse on the women’s side as well. 

Brooke Thompson is a rookie on the STU women’s volleyball team, but suited up as goalie for the 2022 Canada Games lacrosse team in Niagara, Ont. 

Thompson originally began playing lacrosse because her soccer career ended and she wanted something to do in her offseason from volleyball. 

Thompson said it was “excitement immediately” when she heard the announcement.

“Initially, we were all a little surprised because it came out of nowhere,” she said. “There wasn’t a whole lot of talk about it beforehand. It just came out of thin air.”

“We all believe [lacrosse] should have been there for years. So being able to see it added, it’s huge and the lacrosse community is just elated,” said Thompson. 

Women’s lacrosse has been called a “powder keg” by Jen Adams, a former lacrosse player from Australia, and has gained steam over the past decades, thanks in part to the growth of the sport across NCAA female lacrosse teams.  

“For the girls, just to see other girls being played at a high level on television is huge and only sparks their curiosity on being involved in sport and [they are] starting to see a lot more equity than there was in the past,” said Thompson.

She hopes the event will help more young girls try the sport. 

“Seeing that both women’s and men’s lacrosse [are] being added, I’m sure the women and young females will only feel encouraged to go try the sport themselves.”