Lacrosse wasn’t always the number one sport for local legend Barb Boyes as she was first introduced to the sport by her hockey teammates.
They all played so I decided to give it a try. Like many local lacrosse players my age, I first played box lacrosse in the Garrard Rd outdoor box,” said Boyes.
After playing box lacrosse for a year she was given the opportunity to try out for the Team Ontario Field Lacrosse team when she was seventeen and instantly fell in love with the game. Playing field lacrosse gave Boyes the opportunity to travel to the U.S. to play and try out for the women’s national team.
Boyes continued to excel in both hockey and lacrosse and when she attended university she played for the varsity hockey team because women’s lacrosse was not yet available at Canadian schools. While at university she had a very influential coach that changed her as an athlete.
“My fondest memories from that experience, was playing for one of the best coaches I ever had, Linda Berry. I learned so much about myself as a person and player that year. I also learned so much about coaching from her, that over my coaching career I have implemented many of her techniques and approaches in my coaching,” said Boyes
Boyes considers making the 1982 Canadian National Lacrosse Team and winning a bronze medal at the World Cup in Nottingham England to be her greatest accomplishment as a player. The 1982 Canadian Team was a young group that went over to England ranked sixth, but were determined to overachieve and come home with a medal.
“The facilities were phenomenal, the atmosphere was fantastic and we were in England representing our country. We were a group of determined young Canadians out to prove we were better than our 6th place ranking. So finishing with bronze medals was quite the sense of accomplishment,” recalled Boyes.
As a player, Boyes was always a student of the game and took advantage of all of the great coaches that she worked with always studying their philosophies and compiling drills. The experienced coaching that she received throughout her playing days and her fierce competitive nature really helped in her in the transition into coaching.
Boyes had the chance to return to Team Canada for the 1993 World Cup as a coach and helped the team to a fourth place finish. Since then she has won numerous provincial and national championships as a coach and also started the Lady Blue Knights Field Lacrosse Club in the early 2000s. In a relatively short period of time Boyes has helped to build the Lady Blue Knights into the biggest and most successful girls’ field lacrosse organizations in Ontario. Through the Blue Knights organization Boyes has helped to develop numerous athletes who have gone on to earn NCAA scholarships and play at the provincial and national level.
“My passion is creating an environment so kids of all ages can play the game at the level they choose. There is no question, I enjoy the helping kids pursue their goals and dreams to attain NCAA scholarships, or make National teams,” said Boyes.
In recognition of her commitment to the sport of lacrosse Boyes was inducted into the Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Oshawa Sports Hall of Fame in 2010. Being inducted into her hometown sports hall of fame was a special honour for Boyes especially after her brother Bryan was also inducted last year.
With the Blue Knights continuing to grow every year and Boyes still heavily involved in the game it is clear that she will continue to be a force in lacrosse for years to come.
“I’ve been a player, I’ve been a coach at all levels, and held various administrative roles, so it is hard to say exactly what is next. I continue to have goals and idea’s and will have to see in time what direction the game takes me. One thing for certain, passing on my passion for the game to others will always be in my future,” said Boyes.
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