Star wants to give Edge

WES GILBERTSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

Three years after wrapping up a stellar collegiate lacrosse career at the University of Denver, Geoff Snider is proving he still has the Pioneer spirit in him.

Snider, a former third-team All-American with the Pioneers and current National Lacrosse League (indoor) and Major League Lacrosse (outdoor) star, is joining forces with Calgary's Edge School to launch one of Canada's only full-fledged varsity field lacrosse programs.

The idea is to provide a springboard for more local lacrosse kids to follow in his footsteps south of the border.

"It's totally a dream come true," Snider said. "Looking back on my experience and how much I enjoyed being at the University of Denver and how much I've enjoyed my professional career and the people that I've met and the opportunities that have been presented to me, it would be a shame if I didn't dedicate myself to helping kids get to that level.

"For me to be able to give back, it's very rewarding," Snider continued. "And, at the same time, I'd love to see some of the Calgary kids that are playing this awesome sport here in the city have the opportunity to experience what I've experienced."

Edge School officials probably couldn't have picked a better guy to help students get there.

Snider, now in his third season with the NLL's Philadelphia Wings and third with the MLL's Denver Outlaws, is one of the pro game's most well-rounded players. He helped guide Team Canada to its first world field lacrosse championship in almost three decades in 2006, nabbing MVP honours after dominating the faceoff circle at the six-team tournament.

The two-time NLL all-star -- he won the MVP award in last year's game in Edmonton -- has hoisted the national junior A championship Minto Cup twice and owns the NCAA and NLL single-season records for scooping up loose balls.

"We think Geoff is a guy that's going to do some great things for us," said Bruce Randall, the director of business development for Edge School. "There's a natural skill-set Geoff brings. You add his passion, his energy and his unbridled enthusiasm for the game and what it can do for young athletes and I think it's a winning combination."

The field lacrosse program will launch in September at Edge School's nearly-completed campus near Springbank, and Snider already has high hopes for his first graduating class. The varsity squad will likely travel to at least four recruiting tournaments to showcase its skills for post-secondary scouts and will face prep school and club teams from across North America in exhibition matches.

Snider expects the youngsters will make the most of their opportunities, just like he did. He spent three winters toiling with the Alberta Junior Hockey League's Calgary Canucks and fighting -- sometimes literally -- for the attention of NCAA scouts. It turns out a chance to play lacrosse in the Mile High City, where he joined current Portland LumberJax forward Matt Brown as the only Canadians on the Pioneers roster, was the most enticing offer he'd receive.

"It changed my life, without a doubt, and, without exaggerating at all, I'm not sure where I'd be without the opportunity I had to go down there and play," Snider said.

Calgary Roughnecks captain Tracey Kelusky teaches at the National Sport Academy, while LumberJax defenceman Brodie Merrill is spearheading a varsity program near Toronto.


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