BALTIMORE - US Lacrosse announced that the Montana chapter joined its network of regional chapters in January 2011. The Montana chapter will provide programs, services and leadership to the lacrosse community in the entire state of Montana. The chapter serves as a liason between its community and US Lacrosse, the national governing body of the sport. The chapter is based in Missoula, Mont. and recognizes seven board members, including the inaugural chapter president, Tim Bechtold.
"Montana lacrosse is growing rapidly," said Bechtold. "We have had college teams at the University of Montana in Missoula and Montana State University in Bozeman for many years, but school-level lacrosse has expanded dramatically in the last two years. We are growing from one high school team in 2010 to six high school teams in 2011, and several communities have started adult recreational leagues. This is an exciting time for lacrosse in Montana, and our new chapter status will help us keep pace with all US Lacrosse standards."
"We hope to provide this developing lacrosse community with the proper resources to sustain and grow both the men’s and women’s game responsibly and effectively," said Erin Sturgis, US Lacrosse director of chapter relations. "We are eager to see how this new sanctioned chapter will promote growth of the sport in the Northwest."
With the addition of the Montana chapter, US Lacrosse has 63 regional chapters in 42 states and the District of Columbia. Each chapter exists to provide US Lacrosse programs and services to its local members and non-members and an opportunity to connect with other lacrosse enthusiasts in the area.
Previously, Montana school-level teams in the Missoula, Flathead and Gallatin counties relied on their neighbors in northern Idaho and eastern Washington to provide competition while the programs in-state developed. This year for the first time, Montana will crown its inaugural school-level state champions and select All-State teams.
"In Bozeman, lacrosse is growing and the Gallatin Valley Lacrosse League is starting a new competitive spring league to compliment its regular summer intramural lacrosse league," said Jim Heck, president of Gallatin Valley Lacrosse League. "We are hoping to enlarge our program and increase interest in lacrosse in southwest Montana."
"The Flathead Lacrosse Club is entering its fifth season and has recently experienced growth from a US Lacrosse Equipment Grant in 2010," said Eric Hanson, Flathead Lacrosse Club coach. "Our program has great interest at the youth and middle school age level and will continue to develop our high school program."
The chapter's provisional year is from January 1, 2011 until January 1, 2012, after which, the chapter will take on full chapter status. During its provisional year, the Montana Chapter will look to identify lacrosse players, coaches and officials that have moved to the state, but don’t know that the sport is available. A few of the chapter’s goals include: hosting US Lacrosse Coaching Education Program clinics, officials’ and umpires’ education clinics and integrating lacrosse into the physical education school curriculums.
To learn more about the US Lacrosse national chapters, please visit www.uslacrosse.org/chapters.
About US Lacrosse Chapters
A chapter of US Lacrosse is an extension of the national organization. A chapter unifies, promotes and provides programs and services to the many aspects of men’s and women’s youth, high school and post-collegiate lacrosse in its geographic area. Each chapter serves as a conduit of the national headquarters of US Lacrosse. Chapters run their own hall of fame banquets, special events, fundraisers, tournaments, festivals, meetings and gatherings. They can also host Coaching Education Program clinics, official and umpire training clinics, apply for US Lacrosse’s grant programs and send teams to US Lacrosse National Lax Fests.
All US Lacrosse chapters are supported by the Regional Chapters Committee of the Board of Directors. The Regional Chapters Committee is comprised of three sub-committees; Governance, Leadership Development and Strategic Vision. This committee, alongside US Lacrosse staff work to develop resources and tools to support the efforts of our nationwide chapter network.
About US Lacrosse
US Lacrosse, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, is the national governing body for men’s and women’s lacrosse. US Lacrosse has more than 300,000 members in 63 regional chapters around the country. Through responsive and effective leadership, US Lacrosse strives to provide programs and services to inspire participation while protecting the integrity of the game. To learn more about US Lacrosse, please visit www.uslacrosse.org.