Czech lacrosse tournament an experience of a lifetime for Petrolia man


Petrolia’s Brad Holbrough has played a lot of lacrosse but he’s never had an experience like this.
Holbrough grew up in Brigden and Petrolia and played his first lacrosse games in Sarnia. He was drafted to Peterborough and then to Brampton to continue. He turned pro and spent a year with the Chicago Shamrocks and then four more playing in Langley before returning home.
Some of his former teammates recently contacted him asking if he would join a team – the  Clarington Green Gaels – heading to the Ales Hrebesky Memorial Tournament in the Czech Republic.
Holbrough has a family, including three small children, and a business but after reading about the tournament, he says “we couldn’t miss the opportunity.”
And it didn’t disappoint. Lacrosse is huge in the Czech Republic. The nation is considered one of the best lacrosse nations in the European Union.
The tournament was played outdoors and Holbrough says fans crammed the rink to watch, cheering and shouting like they would during a European Soccer game.
The Green Gaels had sent a team to the tournament a number of times and the fans remembered – chanting for them and wearing their colours during the game. “They were giving us high fives when we came off and we were signing autographs for them.
“It was unlike anything I’ve experienced before…it was an incredible experience.”
Holbrough says the competition was stiff with 22 teams from across Canada and Europe. The Green Gaels made it to the semi finals to be beat out by BC’s Ladner Pioneers.
But for Holbrough, one of the highlights of the experience was being a part of the lacrosse clinics for the local children. Even in the pouring rain, 200 children turned out for the event. The Green Gaels gave out a lot of their equipment to the children since quality lacrosse equipment is very expensive in the Czech Republic. Holbrough says the kids just glowed after receiving the gifts.
“At first, I wanted to keep the jersey as a souvenir, but I ended up giving it to a kid instead. Watching him running up to his friends and family with that smile on his face; it was worth it.”