Born and raised in Prince Albert, Tanner Fetch took to lacrosse the first day since it came to Prince Albert in the spring of 2000.
Since then, he's been able to represent Ireland at international championships and travelled across the world.
During press time of this piece, he's currently in Las Vegas along with his brother Brady Fetch and Kyle Sawchuk, preparing for the Sin City Box Classic taking place this Friday through Sunday.
During a practice last week, Fetch was in his full Irish national team kit, including matching gloves, as he prepared for the tournament along with Sawchuk and a few others.
So how did a born and raised Prince Albertan get to wear the Green, White and Orange?
Fetch said he has some Irish heritage as his grandparents came from Ireland, and for like many countries assembling their rosters for international sports, that qualified him to represent the Ireland. He’s also attended school there, studying business at the Institute of Technology Carlow in Carlow, Ireland.
“It was such a pleasure, honestly. I was fortunate enough to have some Irish heritage running in the bloodline,” Fetch said. “As long as you have some Irish heritage, you’re allowed to represent that country. It was such an honour. I was actually over there finishing up my university degree, brought my gear out and had the opportunity to try out and hey, they picked me.”
In some ways, Carlow is basically like an Irish-Prince Albert. The population is small but not tiny at around 25,000, and it’s a skip and a jump away from a big city in Dublin.
“It was a small town, really good people. You get to know everybody, you get to know the little town, the pubs, the shops, the whole community. And it was just 45 minutes away from Dublin, one bus ride away,” Fetch said. “I was able to travel the world from there, Greece, London, Prague, Finland, I was kind of all over the map, Spain, Italy. It was a good experience to study abroad, meet new people and then get an education out of it, too.
“They’re shirt off the back people, they’re outgoing, they’re friendly. They can share a beer, share a laugh,” Fetch added of the people of Carlow. “It was really good. I have so many fond memories, I can’t wait to go back and do it all again.”
In his travels, Fetch attended the first ever European Box Lacrosse Tournament held back in July in Turku, Finland. He and the Irish nationals finished in fifth place, beating Serbia.
He also recent battled at the European invitational box tournament and the Ales Hrebesky tournament in Prague, Czech Republic and won the Irish national championship representing the Dublin County team.
Representing Ireland was a dream come true for Fetch, even before he realized it.
“I was at a loss for words. I was ecstatic, it was such a good feeling, pumped. I just couldn’t believe it,” Fetch said. “To get to go to Finland and partake in the culture there, and see lacrosse and how much it’s grown and how many guys are playing it, and how much happiness it bring to everybody, it’s awesome.
“They call it the medicine game, because when you’re playing lacrosse, you forget about everything else that’s going in the world. It’s God’s game, the creator’s game.”
For Fetch, he gets to continue to make his case for ‘most interesting man in Prince Albert’ with his Las Vegas tournament trip. For Kyle Sawchuk, he’s making a big first step with this tournament.
“It’s the first time I’ve played lacrosse outside of Canada, so it’s a pretty big deal to me,” Sawchuk said. “I’ve played all over Saskatchewan and nationals all over Canada, but never outside Canada. It’s a pretty special moment.”
Sawchuk played in countless provincials, went to junior nationals as well as the Presidents Cup Senior B Men’s Nationals in Ohsweken, Ontario from Aug. 27 to Sept. 3.
Sawchuk, alone with the Fetch brothers, joined the Saskatoon Brewers. They went 2-6 on the tournament, but for Sawchuk, it was an eye-opening experience especially to play against some current players that play in the National Lacrosse League, the sport’s top league. He shared the floor with Miles and Lyle Thompson of the Georgia Swarm, as well as Ryan Dilks of the Saskatchewan Rush.
“I think every other team except Team Sask had NLL players there, either current or ex-players. Even though we didn’t do the best, it was a really good learning experience,” Sawchuk said. “That just fueled the itch to keep going. When we got this call for Vegas, it worked with both our days off so we just went with it.”
On Twitter: @princealbertnow
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