At last, the New Zealand lacrosse team has found its home, sweet home.
Thanks to the emergency efforts of London's All Canadian Backpacker Bed and Breakfast (190 Wellington Street), the boys from the bottom of the world are staying in comfortable conditions here at the world lacrosse championships following a bad experience with a fraternity house on Ridout Street.
Backpacker owner-operator Patrick Paul, who responded quickly to the team's plea requiring upgraded lodgings for 27 people, has a special place in his heart for Kiwis after working and travelling in New Zealand years ago.
"We have 10 of their group here and the rest (17 other players, coaches and spouses) have been put up at a private school here that we work with," Paul said. "I was upset that these guys came all the way here and were in this situation. Kiwis always try to understate everything but I saw what they were living in and it was terrible."
The New Zealand players were grateful to be moving from a spot they spent the better part of two days trying to clean up.
"We're about helping people and these guys needed a hand," Paul said. "I just hope the focus is now on them playing lacrosse and that people will go out and watch them play. They're not in the top division but they're a good group of guys. We had a barbecue for the team (Saturday night) and 80 people came out."
Though they make friends fast, the New Zealanders likely could have saved themselves days of aggravation if they had accepted the organizing committee's official accommodation plan rather than try to book their own digs.
Of the 20 other teams competing in London this week, the Latvians were the only other team to make its own arrangements, opting to stay with members of the local Latvian community.