For grade 12 student Alexander De La Ronde, lacrosse is a family affair. His dad Richard grew up playing the sport, where he had success in Thompson before moving to Winnipeg when he was 16. His cousin also played and coached him growing up, and he and his twin brother Seth started in the sport when they were four. Alexander’s two younger brothers Parker and Hudson also started playing when they were four.
Alexander’s roots in the sport can be traced to Fort Richmond, where he played Sidewinders Box Lacrosse all the way up to U17. He’s also competed for Team Manitoba from 2016-19 and is currently playing Junior B with the Manitoba Blizzard, along with preparing for the upcoming Canada Summer Games.
A point and shooter in box, Alexander is just as deadly at field, where he and Seth were leaders for Collège Belivéau’s inaugural season in the Manitoba High School Field Lacrosse League (MHSFLL) in grade nine. Richard helped start that team up three years ago, and the program had around 15 players, with six or seven freshmen from the roster returning for their senior season this year.
“Before we even got to the school [Richard] was already in contact about starting the team,” says Alexander.
“There were already a handful of us playing, and just the kids that I grew up with in school, they would be coming so we knew we had players there too. It was honestly easy to get players up and into the gym. It was most of my team’s first time playing lacrosse except for a handful of us. We ended up doing pretty good for the team that we had.”
All about versatility
A versatile athlete, Alexander enjoys playing box, because it’s faster and there’s more contact, which helps with his hands and playing in tight during the field season. A natural scorer, he’s capable of producing from anywhere, including in tight, but also has the IQ to get back on defence and contribute as a two-way midfielder.
It helps having his twin brother alongside him. They were a tremendous 1-2 combo in 2019, where their chemistry was undeniable.
“It’s unbelievable. If one of us has the ball, we know what the other person is going to do and where the strong spots are. Especially in grade nine, Seth would be playing attack, and if I was too tired to run back, he’d know just to go back and I would stay on the offensive side as an attacking midfielder. We’re really good at seeing what’s happening and who needs to adapt,” noted the LAX veteran.
“Just being able to play with someone like that is honestly a gift. You don’t come across someone like that often where you have chemistry your whole life. It’s honestly made my lacrosse career easier playing with him. We make each other better every year.”
The De La Ronde connection will get even stronger in 2022, as Parker, a sophomore will debut in the MHSFLL. It’ll be the first of a few different opportunities for he and Alexander to connect as both will be on Manitoba’s 17U box lacrosse team for the Canada Summer Games this August.
It’s the first time lacrosse is being included since 1985, and Alexander will be the team captain. He knows head coach Cory Henkewich and assistant coach Brett Morrison well, having first met them when he made Manitoba’s U15 team as a 13-year-old.
“[Henkewich] helped my IQ a lot and really understanding the game and how to be more of a playmaker. He’s always had confidence in me and my brother playing, so it was just great to have someone like that in our ear, especially at a young age like 13. He’s really helped me grow my game and always tells me and my brother that he just loves how we play.”
A die-hard fan of the sport, Alexander has given back to lacrosse in a number of ways. He helps out with Legends Lacrosse, a local grassroots LAX program co-founded by Henkewich, Morrison and National Lacrosse League draft pick Kelson Borisenko, and is also a coach for the Sidewinders.
Additionally, he and his brothers, with help from their cousin launched DelaxBoys at the beginning of the pandemic. It’s a clothing company that sells premium lacrosse clothing, with the goal of growing the medicine game.
“Ever since [the pandemic] we’ve been designing logos and shirts and clothes and thinking of events we could put on. It’s been awesome,” Alexander says.
“We sponsor a lacrosse podcast called LAX in the Booth and we have a goalie we sponsor in the NLL which is pretty cool. His name is Craig Wende and he’s the goalie for the Georgia Swarm right now. It’s just given us so many more connections in the lacrosse community. The support we’ve gotten over the last two years since we started has been unreal.”
Safe to say, there’s a lot keeping the De La Ronde family busy these days. But there’s no denying Alexander and company’s excitement at the return of the MHSFLL in 2022.
“I’m very excited. I had a really fun time playing in grade nine for sure. It’s different because you play against people who you may never play against again, being from all these different high schools. It’s a great league. It’s going to be great showing other people the sport. Hopefully they will play the rest of their high school years. My dad already asked me to come back next year and coach our high school team.”