Lacrosse Opportunities in Missoula Expand


Missoula Wild 2021 boys and girls team. Photo Courtesy of Missoula Wild Lacrosse.

Asa Stuart

    Lacrosse in Missoula is nothing new but has recently gained a new way for it to grow. The Sports Barn, formerly known as the Missoula Indoor Sports Arena, is under new ownership and is the official home of the Griz Lacrosse team. The Sports Barn owners, Ryan and Amy Hanavan are working on upgrading and developing the turf field, which is the only one in Missoula, with the goal of giving kids and adults opportunities for sports and year-round fun. Along with the turf field, they offer a professional golf simulator and in-house leagues of any game that can be played on turf, such as soccer, lacrosse, kickball, flag football, and many more. 

     Missoula has three lacrosse teams, one for youth levels and two for high school level playing. 

     The Missoula Lacrosse Club, also known as the Missoula Mustangs, have teams for kindergarten through eighth grade players for both boys and girls. Missoula Wild and Spartan Lacrosse are the combined teams of the high schools in Missoula, with Missoula Wild including Hellgate High School and Big Sky High School and Spartan including Sentinel High School and Loyola Sacred Heart. Both Missoula Wild and Spartan Lacrosse have varsity teams for both girls and boys. 

     Since lacrosse is not a sport that most parents put their kids in at a young age, many kids start playing through their siblings or through friends. “I started lacrosse to feel more connected to my brother and family,” said Julianne Lane, a player on the Missoula Wild team. 

“I play lax because it makes me happy and I love the people,” said Krystyna Seaman, who also plays on the Missoula Wild team. “It’s just really a fun thing to do with the people you like and the feeling of improving and playing a sport you love makes it even better.” 

     Since there is only one league for youth players, those who stay with lacrosse until high school will continue to play with the same people and form necessary relationships for a good team. 

     Missoula has several lacrosse programs already, but with four high schools, there could be an opportunity for more teams, more players, and more ways for people to play. “We have a lot of potential in our city and state and if we could get a lot more people playing, more teams and a longer season, I think that we could be even better and possibly go and play harder teams out of state,” said Seaman. 

     Unless you try out for a national team, which many do, and make, such as Lane who joined a Montana-Wyoming team to play games nationally, the only opportunities to play out of state are in tournaments. In tournaments, teams are from Montana, such as the Bozeman Lacrosse team, with one or two from out of state, such as the Sandpoint Lacrosse team from Idaho. 

     Lacrosse is an amazing sport that has been around in Missoula for many years, but still has the opportunity to grow into something even bigger and better.