Annie Ratt Selected as Assistant Coach, Canada Games 2021 Niagara for Team Saskatchewan

It was announced on September 30, 2019 that the Saskatchewan Lacrosse Coaches had selected the Head Coach and Assistant Coaches that would lead the U17 male and female box lacrosse athletes at the Canada Games 2021 Niagara. The Canada Games will be the first time Box Lacrosse will be held.

The Canadian Lacrosse Association has made it mandatory that at least 1 Coach must be Indigenous on each provincial team. Out of 24 Female coaches in Saskatchewan, Storm Lacrosse was pleased to learn that Storm Member, Annakah Ratt, member of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, was selected as Assistant Coach for the U17 Female Box Lacrosse Team. She will coach alongside her mom, Darcy Ratt, at the Canada Games. So, in effect, Saskatchewan will have 2 Indigenous Coaches on their bench.

Saskatchewan Lacrosse Association is setting a great example already in selecting these two power houses. Storm Lacrosse caught up to Annakah and asked her to share her background. It is not as if her interest didn’t start somewhere. She is a 17-year old athlete who still plays in a province that has a total of 230 females registered for box lacrosse. She is currently the youngest to be selected to coach at the Canada Games.

Here is her story: “I was about 13 years old when I decided to play lacrosse. I have two younger brothers who were playing lacrosse so we were always in the rink. I was fascinated by the sport so I decided to try it. Once I got into the game, I was hooked and soon lacrosse became a major part of my life and who I am. At times I was treated differently because I am a girl and not many girls played lacrosse. Some asked why I played such a rough and challenging sport, and I would say the aggressiveness and challenge is exactly why. I think I was viewed as a weak point from my opponents and looked down upon, but those views only made me want to prove them more wrong. As soon as I got to know my team and developed my skills, I felt like I really belonged. My team looked out for me and pushed me to do my best which is something that I am very grateful for.

My passion for growing the game was definitely influenced by playing NAIG (2017) and Storm Selects. These girls that I played with and against had such passion, drive, and fearlessness which really had an influence on me as a player and as a person. I was given such amazing opportunities and experiences and I want more females to be able to have too.

I definitely want to see an increase of female lacrosse players in the future. Programs such as Try Lacrosse Sessions (in Saskatchewan) really help to develop the interest of lacrosse. I hope to potentially see all female leagues and teams in this younger generation.

I found that the coaching session this past weekend really opened my eyes to what it really means to be a coach. A coach is not just someone to tell you what to do on the bench. A coach is encouraging and helps their players to develop not only as players, but as people too. Lacrosse is more than just a game, it is a lifestyle. It is hard work, but it is worth it.

My vision for future lacrosse is growth and development. I hope to see the growth of players and passion for the game of lacrosse. We need more females in lacrosse and I truly believe we are taking the right steps to get more girls involved. The future is bright and promising. I can’t wait to see what it holds. Thank you for this opportunity to share this write up with you!

Best wishes to the Storm Selects program!”

Annie joined our program in 2018. She played in the Nations Lacrosse Tournament held in Six Nations, Ontario, and also played at the North American Indigenous Games 2017 with Team Saskatchewan. Storm Lacrosse looks forward to seeing her compete in Halifax, NS at North American Indigenous Games 2020. And more importantly, to see her standing on the bench of Team Saskatchewan at Canada Games 2021.

In 2020, Annakah was selected as one of four female lacrosse coaches to attend the first ever Female Coaches session hosted by Coaches Canada. Sitting in Ottawa with female coaches in the sports of Hockey and Rugby, Annakah was able to gain further support that will help her develop lacrosse in Saskatchewan and, now, Canada. We are proud of her participation and selection to this prestigious event held March 6-8, 2020. It makes International Women's Day (March 8th) more significant and heralds a new era of support for female coaches in Canada.

Update: On Wednesday, September 16, 2020, the Canada Games announced it will post pone the games from 2021 to 2022 due to Covid 19.