Every time Michael Grace steps on the field, he’s looking to learn something new about lacrosse, and how to improve his game play.
Despite not playing much field lacrosse until he was recruited to RIT, he quickly leaned into the challenge of the new discipline, and then a new position.
“I was actually recruited to play attack, but midway through my freshman year I switched to long-pole on defense. Since then, we’ve won back-to-back national championships, the first two in the program’s history,” he said. Grace was also a first-team All-Liberty League selection and USILA third-team All-American in 2022… evidence that the switch panned out well for him.
Hailing from Hamilton, ON, Grace picked up lacrosse at age nine on the recommendations of some friends. He currently plays Junior A with the Burlington Chiefs, but grew up playing with the Hamilton Bengals. For Grace, the opportunity to play with Canada is one he never saw coming.
“Lacrosse has opened so many doors and endless opportunities for me. I love being able to compete with the best players in the world, and being able to play for Canada and represent my country is the coolest thing. I’m so honoured and thankful for this opportunity to wear the maple leaf and play the sport I love,” Grace said.
Like all the young players on the team, he’s choosing to take in every experience and moment of the competition, and hoping to leave with no regrets.
“I’m going to give my best effort in every way possible to this team. I’ll bring size, speed, and strategic play,” he said.
His experience with the short stick is another benefit—if necessary, Grace is willing to switch between the two, and ensure effective plays in transition.
And Grace has some advice for those who may be in a similar position—playing in one spot, and unsure about transitioning to another role on their team, but wanting to be the best player they can be.
“The biggest thing is to have fun. That’s what it’s all about, if you’re having fun it’s so much easier to get better. My dad says to me ‘treat everything like someone is watching you, because there’s always someone watching.’ Putting in the extra work never goes unnoticed by coaches, and it will help your game.”
But he also stresses the importance of having other interests, in order to keep your skills fresh and prevent burning out early.
“Skills are transferable between sports—whether it’s hockey, basketball, baseball, soccer, or anything else. That’s why I was able to pick up the long pole and learn how to use it so fast. You need to play more than lacrosse, or take a break so you don’t burn out.”
Grace has already had the opportunity to put his skills to the test, and will continue to throughout competition at the 2022 World Lacrosse Men’s U21 World Championship from August 10 - 20, 2022 at the University of Limerick in Limerick, Ireland.
About Lacrosse Canada
Founded in 1867, Lacrosse Canada is the governing body responsible for all aspects of lacrosse in Canada. Our organization is comprised of 10 Member Associations representing nearly 85,000 individual participants, including coaches, officials, and athletes of all ages and abilities. Lacrosse Canada’s mission is to honour the sport of lacrosse and its unique nation-building heritage, by engaging our members, leading our partners, and providing opportunities for all Canadians to participate. Lacrosse Canada oversees the delivery of numerous national championships and the participation of Team Canada at all international events sanctioned by World Lacrosse. Lacrosse Canada is proud to be affiliated with partners that share the same vision and values, including our corporate partners - NormaTec Recovery Systems, RockTape, OPRO, Canadian Red Cross, Westjet, and Baron Rings - as well as our funding partners the Government of Canada, the Coaching Association of Canada, and the Canadian Lacrosse Foundation.
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