By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 11/22/21
Competing in the NXT Philly Boys’ Showcase is always a thrill for lacrosse players, but for Canadians it meant even more on Saturday.
Parker Kennedy, a 2023 midfielder from Fusion West and Terry Fox Secondary in British Columbia, was one of many Canadian players finally able to travel across the border to play in the United States for the first time since the pandemic (COVID restrictions for Canadians traveling to the US were lifted on Nov. 8).
Kennedy capitalized on his spot in the showcase – held at United Sports in Downingtown – by being named to the 2022/23 All-Star Game.
“It’s been tough not to be able to come down and play in front of coaches here,” said Kennedy. “Seniors didn’t get the chance, but I was fortunate enough in my grade 11 year and we had to make the most of the opportunity.”
Kennedy was also thankful for the chance meeting of a special Philly connection. Fusion West is run by Kevin Crowley, a star on the Philadelphia Wings, co-founder of Fusion East here in Philly and a former assistant coach at Shipley School. Crowley also is the only player ever to be drafted in the first round in the old MLL and the NLL (out of Stony Brook).
When the pandemic hit, Crowley, a native of New Westminster British Columbia, remained in Western Canada and expanded Fusion Lacrosse, the club team that mixes box and field lacrosse, from his hometown. Kennedy, who had just moved west from Ottawa and had never played field lacrosse until this summer, was pleased to be referred to Crowley.
“It’s kind of a funny story,” said Kennedy. “I was in Port Coquitlam working on my stick skills, playing wall ball and looking for a travel team and a guy coaching Poco Minor (Port Coquitlam Minors) told me to DM Kevin Crowley on Instagram.
“I gave him (Crowley) a chance and went out there. The competition was pretty good and he was willing to help me with college recruiting. It was the first time I had been a part of really good field lacrosse.”
How was the adjustment to the competition of the Philly Showcase?
“It was a lot of fun and a hard adjustment,” Kennedy said. “The first game was shaky, I was just getting a hand of it. Then I started doing well. We had four Fusion West guys in the Showcase (overall seven from Canada made All-Star teams) and the guys adjusted. We want to get ready for college ball and this is the first year for me being involved in properly organized field lacrosse.”
How has Kennedy’s box skills helped him in the field game?
“Inside finishing for sure,” he said “And (having) a lot of grit and toughness helps on loose balls. We get ganged up in the box game and that correlates here. I’m starting to really enjoy it (the field game) and I look forward to it. When I heard of the chance to come to Philly, I was really excited t play good field lacrosse.”