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Lacrosse star visits BHS: Can Bomberry looking to expand the sport in northern Minnesota

BEMIDJI - Three-time All-American and former professional lacrosse player Cam Bomberry visited Bemidji High School Thursday afternoon where he addressed 60 BHS students.

Thursday's event at the high school lasted about an hour and a half and started with about 40 minutes of background on Bomberry and the history of lacrosse; while the remainder of the time was dedicated to drills and instructions.

Bomberry, of Canada, has been traveling around local schools promoting the game of lacrosse and development of youth players this week.

"It has been a bit of a whirlwind," Bomberry said. "We have been back and forth between here, Red Lake, Deer River and Grand Rapids this week."

Bomberry credited BHS boys basketball coach Dan Ninham for setting up the appointments with the locals schools.

"Dan Ninham and I have been in contact for two or three months now trying to set this up," Bomberry said. "As far as contacting schools and setting up the times, he did a lot of the heavy-lifting."

Both Ninham and Bomberry felt that Northern Minnesota, especially the Ojibwe tribes, would be ideal for lacrosse programs.

"Northern Minnesota has got its pockets of lacrosse, but it certainly has its share of lacrosse history," Bomberry said. "With all of the Ojibwe people up here, maybe it is just a little bit of reconnection that is needed to spark the interest in the sport."

He said if children of Bemidji would be exposed to the game at an early age, a high school program could prosper at BHS.

"It would be nice if the kids would be exposed to the game in elementary school," Bomberry said. "This school could have a great lacrosse program.

It just is a matter of pulling all of the strings to make it happen," Bomberry added. "The kids will have a passion for it."

For Bomberry, his motive was simple: to spread awareness for the game of lacrosse, especially for the youth.

"I almost consider it to be a duty of mine," Bomberry said of spreading awareness of the game. "The game has been so good to me, so I just want to return that gift."

Bomberry, who was an All-American at Division III Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y., and played professionally for the Rochester Knighthawks in the National Lacrosse League, is pleased with the increased awareness and participation in the sport and he expects it to continue to grow in the future.

"There is no doubt that it will continue to grow," Bomberry said of the sport. "Just looking at the participation today in this gym class you could see how it brought out the smiling faces and laughter."

Five or ten years ago, it was definitely on the rise, it has always been on the rise," Bomberry said. "Some things go through peaks and valleys, but I think lacrosse has always been peaking."

In the drills and activities included in Thursday's session at the high school, Bomberry instructed how to pass and catch in the game, before allowing the students to play a game where the objective was to knock the ball away from other students.

"There is a contagious part of it that brings the little kid out of anyone," Bomberry said. "Watching the high school kids that we had today, they just looked like little third and fourth graders again."


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