Lisa Kelley, TLC Founder in action.
History of the Tolland Lacrosse Club
The Tolland Lacrosse Club (TLC) made its debut in the Spring of 2005 with a goal of teaching Tolland’s 4th to 8th grade youth sportsmanship and teamwork through the “fastest game on grass”, lacrosse. Tolland youth had been playing lacrosse for six years under the umbrella of the Vernon Lacrosse program prior to 2005. In 2003 and 2004, Libby Davis and Pete Montenegro actively recruited Tolland players for the Vernon program in hopes of attracting enough players to form the core of a Tolland Youth Lacrosse program. Libby and Pete were successful and more than 40 players from Tolland began playing lacrosse in Vernon. This core group of lacrosse players was the nucleus of the first Tolland High School Lacrosse program that continues to grow in leaps and bounds. With deep gratitude to the Vernon Lacrosse program for their support and encouragement, TLC launched their first independent season in 2005.
In 2005, Libby Davis and Pete Montenegro moved on to Tolland High School lacrosse with their children and the TLC program was spear headed by Lisa Kelly, Gregg DeGiacomo, Mike Kelly and Jim Hutton. All four of these pioneers had children previously playing in the Vernon program and were coaching their boys while learning the finer points of the game. It was a busy time in 2005 as TLC coordinated with the Tolland Recreation Department for field time, planned fund raising events to buy equipment, ordered uniforms and joined the Connecticut Valley Youth Lacrosse (CVYL) league. The energy and efforts of Lisa Kelly brought it all together and were a wonder to behold. Everyone was looking forward to offering Tolland youth a new and exciting new sport. This program would also support the fledgling High School Lacrosse Team as a feeder program. TLC has always coordinated closely with the Friends of Tolland Lacrosse group that supports the High School Team and this close relationship has paid off. One benefit to both programs is the use of High School players as referees for TLC games. High School players have also functioned as assistant coaches for TLC. The High School players get great experience working with TLC and the youth players receive excellent instruction from the High School referees and coaches.
Registration for TLC is typically in January. Since 2005, TLC has expanded from one Junior (5th and 6th grade) team and two Senior (7th and 8th) grade teams to a program that includes approximately two teams at the Bantam (3rd and 4th grade), Junior and Senior level. In 2005 the program had approximately 50 players. In 2008 TLC had grown to more than 100 players and the level of play had increased to the A Divisions of CVYL; a serious accomplishment in a short period of time. Tolland Lacrosse Club has always received tremendous support from the players and their parents and we continue to expand. As the program continues to expand and the founders of the program move on to new horizons, it is the support of our dedicated families that will keep the program moving forward. So if you see Lisa and Mike Kelly, Gregg DeGiacomo, Kathy Walker or Jim Hutton around town, say hello and thank them for the great start they gave the Tolland Lacrosse Club.