Learn lacrosse for free in Delta BC from former NLL all-star

Learn lacrosse for free in Delta BC from former NLL all-star

Garrett Billings will be conducting free Try Lacrosse sessions next month at the new Ladner Sports Court

A distinguished National Lacrosse League player, now based in Tsawwassen, is excited at the opportunity to make a difference in his own backyard with Canada’s official national summer sport.

Garrett Billings has had a huge impact on all levels of the game.

He came through Langley Minor Lacrosse and helped the Burnaby Lakers win the Minto Cup by playing alongside Ladner’s own Gary Bining. He also found success in the field version of the sport, earning a full-ride scholarship to the NCAA-Powerhouse University of Virginia, where he won a national championship.

He was then drafted sixth overall by the Toronto Rock in the 2009 NLL Entry Draft, where he enjoyed five stellar seasons, earning First Team All-Pro status for three consecutive years from 2012 to 2014 when he scored a whopping 315 points collected. Billings played for New England, Vancouver, San Diego and Buffalo before retiring in 2020.

The 36-year-old, who now has a young family, has accepted a role with the Delta Minor Lacrosse Association (DMLA) where he oversees the development of grassroots players.

He can’t wait to get to work here at home.

“Delta has such a great lacrosse history. There are some great players that have come out of here like (Vancouver Warriors stars) Logan Schuss and Mitch Jones as well as others from the league. My belief is that you have to build it from the bottom up. Increase our numbers and make our program super tight,” Billings said. “My goal is to really get these grassroots programs dialing in. So when your kid signs up to play lacrosse, it’s the best experience in the sport they’ve ever had. It also lets her talk to all her friends.

“I think lacrosse is so unique. There is no other sport where you are so connected to another person playing a game, whether they are on the other side of the country or the continent. It seems like you’re just a grade away from anyone who plays lacrosse. That is really cool. I think it’s a great opportunity for the kids and Delta to be a part of it.”

DMLA already takes advantage of the game year-round with the now-covered Delta Sports Court hosting weekly box lacrosse skill sessions.

The association also makes great efforts to bring new players on board.

They’ve partnered with the Warriors for a program that will see pro players visit schools for an introduction to the game starting next month. Stops include: Cliff Drive Elementary (January 9), Ladner Elementary (January 16), Hawthorne Elementary (January 23), South Park Elementary (January 30), Sunshine Hills Elementary (February 6), and Holly Elementary ( 13th February).

These presentations coincide with Billings hosting two free Try Lacrosse Days on January 21 and February 18 from 12pm to 2pm at the Ladner Sports Court.

“No equipment is needed. All you have to do is show up and I’ll teach you how to play lacrosse,” Billings assured.

While many box lacrosse players are also in the middle of their fielding season, Billings added that improving his boxing skills during the offseason only complements both games.

“I would focus heavily on your boxing game because it’s those skills that will recruit you,” he said. “You want your strengths to be playing in tight spaces, making quick decisions and finishing with good hands. Those are the characteristics of Canadian (boxing) players and that’s what we (NCAA coaches) recruit for.

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