By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
In the realm of sports, there have always been dynasties.
The New York Yankees, New England Patriots, Boston Celtics and Montreal Canadiens are among the professional franchises that can stake claim to this designation.
And now, there is a serious argument that Oshawa has its own dynasty in the sporting world, which is music to the ears of Barb Boyes, founder of the Lady Blue Knights field lacrosse program.
“I love that mentality. The culture that you want to create and develop is like those organizations,” Boyes says. “That was my belief when I started this program in 2000.”
That desire to develop a top-quality program has been there since the beginning.
“When you talk about developing a culture, you build from the bottom up,” Boyes says.
2018 has been another overwhelmingly successful year for the Lady Blue Knights program.
Oshawa teams finished in the top spot in every youth Elite division in Ontario (U11, U13, U15 and U19). Elite is the highest level of play, followed by Competitive 1 level and Competitive 2 level.
“We strive to be at the top of every division,” Boyes says.
And the dominance continued at the provincial championships held this past weekend in Kitchener.
As of press time, the Lady Blue Knights had captured gold in the U11, U13, U15 and U19 tournaments, and silver medals in U11 and U15.
This success on the provincial level is nothing new.
“Last year we won provincials at every single age group. We’ve done that twice,” Boyes told The Oshawa Express prior to the provincial tournaments.
With this type of resume, Boyes says success is expected.
“All four of our elite teams, they should be shooting to become provincial champions,” she says.
With that in mind, players throughout the system are taught not to get too big of a chip on their shoulders.
“We preach that too them all the time. I gave them a little story about how different clubs are narrowing the gap, and we had to dig in deeper,” she says.
The success of Lady Blue Knights has led to some admiration, and perhaps jealousy.
“There are clubs who look at us, and model themselves after us. And there are clubs who don’t like us,” she says.
The level the program has reached did not happen overnight.
“We didn’t even enter into the program until three years in. We continue to build on our foundation,” Boyes explains.
And with the strength of the house league program, which includes about 200 children, Boyes doesn’t see the strength of the program wavering anytime soon.
“That goes back to building the culture, and building from the bottom up. We are set at U11 for a few years here. It’s just a trickle up effect.”
Beyond statistics and team records, the standing of the Lady Blue Knight program can be seen in the number of players who have received NCAA scholarships.
There are also more than 20 Blue Knights taking part in the Ontario Summer Games this week in London.
With another season in the books, Boyes gave a big thanks to all of those involved.
“It’s a team effort from everybody, volunteers, players, parents – they all contribute to the success of our organization.”