Most Valuable Player of the 2014 World Lacrosse Championships Dillon Ward along with Karsen Leung will be visiting Hong Kong to serve as guest coaches for the Hong Kong Lacrosse High Performance Programme. The two will be in Hong Kong from October 29 through November 6 then join the High Performance Programme as coaches in Singapore from November 7-9. The HPP team will participate in the Singapore Spectacular, a four-team tournament.
“It’s a great opportunity to get to come overseas and have a chance to learn and experience the Hong Kong culture,” said Leung. “This will be a special trip for me as it will be my first time traveling to Asia. Being half Chinese-Canadian, this trip will allow me to get in touch with my heritage and broaden my view of the world. I am very fortunate for the opportunities lacrosse has provided me.”
Leung and Ward see many benefits of this opportunity, which includes continuing the growth of the sport. This past summer’s World Lacrosse Championships featured an all-time high 38 countries participating including Hong Kong which was in the Red Division with Austria, Belgium and Germany.
“When Team Canada practiced with Team Hong Kong in Denver, I could see how excited and eager the players were to learn more about lacrosse,” said Ward, who posted a 4.45 goals against average and 63.3 save percentage in the World Championships. “I’m very excited to be able to go there, work with them and help continue to grow the game.”
As a World Lacrosse Championships participant, Ward played in the same tournament as many of the national team players selected into the High Performance Programme.
“On behalf of the HKLA, I am very excited to invite Karsen and Dillon to be Guest Coaches for our High Performance Programme,” said Jordan Wong, Hong Kong Lacrosse Association Development Officer. Jordan played with Karsen and Dillon at Bellarmine.
“As a former teammate of theirs, I know the value they can add to Hong Kong Lacrosse. They are character guys with a love for the game and the generosity to give back to the sport.”
Hong Kong finished 21st at the World Championships and looks to continue its upward climb.
“It’s very rare to see an Asian professional lacrosse player, so Karsen’s success is indeed big motivation to us and he is a role model for us to look up to,” said 20-year old Leung Chun Lam Julian, a Hong Kong University student and member of the University Hall Lacrosse team. “Having the same surname, it inspires me to try to strive for the same success even though lacrosse is not very popular here in Hong Kong. I am sure in his short time in Hong Kong, Karsen will take the team to another level, both technically and mentally.”
Leung Chun Lam Julian has three years of lacrosse experience as a midfielder and hopes to represent Hong Kong in the 2018 World Championships in Manchester, England.
“Growing up, I’ve always tried to give back, whether it be educating or influencing others to pick up the game of lacrosse,” said Karsen. “The opportunity to grow and improve the sport is something I am honored to have the opportunity to do.”
Ward and Leung will have an impact to much more than simply men’s players.
“Being coached by Dillon Ward would to be the top moment of my lacrosse career,” said Lo Chung Shi Karen, the 2013 Women’s World Cup starting goalie and Hong Kong United Mavericks goalie with 12 years of lacrosse experience. “It’s an exciting opportunity to have him coach the Hong Kong goalies. This will give all laxers in Hong Kong – men and women – a great opportunity to dig the brains and receive training tips from the World Champion MVP.
“It’s been lonely being a lacrosse player in Hong Kong and to be a women’s lacrosse goalie, it’s like the minority of minority,” she continued. “I hope with the influence of Dillon, more women will get involved and especially not to be afraid to step into the cage.”
Karsen Leung has high hopes for the trip, and the future of Hong Kong Lacrosse.
“My aim is to give the Hong Kong lacrosse players inspiration to succeed and have similar lacrosse experiences to what I’ve had throughout my career,” said Leung. “It will be very special to meet the Hong Kong players and share my knowledge of the game with them. My hope is that it will help them enhance their skill, understanding and love of the game. In the long run, hopefully this will improve the competitiveness of Hong Kong Lacrosse at the world stage.”
Visit Hklax.org for more information.