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Ninham brings lacrosse back

Local coach and teacher Dan Ninham is hoping to reignite interest in lacrosse with a two-day clinic this weekend. Shown above, his physical education class at Bemidji Middle School uses traditional wooden lacrosse sticks on Tuesday morning. SUBMITTED PHOTO

BEMIDJI — "The fire is back," said Dan Ninham as he discussed bringing lacrosse back to the area.

A lacrosse clinic will be held today at the Bemidji State University soccer practice field, or if it rains it will be moved into the John S. Glas Fieldhouse.

More than 50 youths have pre-registered — 12 players from the Green Bay area alone — for the free clinic, open to players of all ages interested in learning to play lacrosse.

Lacrosse sticks and equipment will be provided.

"We will teach both traditional style of play with wooden sticks and club style with helmets and elbow pads," Ninham said.

Ninham had former player Max Kelsey fabricate 24 wooden sticks modeled after those used in the 1800s.

The clinic is for youth in kindergarten to second grade from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., followed by a third- to 12th-grade session from noon to 6 p.m.

A culminating event in the evening will be a movie screening of "Crooked Arrow" at 7 p.m. at the BSU American Indian Resource Center at no charge; there is limited seating.

The evening will begin with a lecture by Gewas Schindler, general manager of the Iroquois Nationals and three-time All-American followed by talks from Art Coulson (Cherokee lacrosse player), Brett Bucktooth (former All-American and national champion at Syracuse University), and Kevin Reed (president of the Minnesota Boys Scholastic Lacrosse Association). Before the showing of the movie at 8 p.m., co-producer Ernie Stevens III of "Crooked Arrow" will give the introduction of the movie.

The clinic moves east on Sunday to the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School in Bena with the same clinic schedule and movie screening at the school’s gymnasium beginning at 7 p.m.

Both days will have professional players and Minnesota club coaches helping instruct and motivate the youth.