By Mariana Echeverri Alvarez, Communications Coordinator



As the countdown to the 2025 Canada Summer Games begins, excitement and anticipation are palpable within Manitoba’s lacrosse community. Athletes are getting ready to showcase their skills on a national stage, driven by passionate coaches.

Cory Henkewich, the Team Toba female lacrosse Head Coach, and Kelson Borisenko, the Team Toba male lacrosse Head Coach, gave us deeper insight into their journey and preparation.


Cultivating a New Generation of Athletes

Cory Henkewich’s journey in lacrosse began over 20 years ago, deeply influenced by his father’s role as the president of Manitoba Lacrosse. 

“Lacrosse has been in our family for many years,” Cory reminisces. 

Starting young and transitioning to coaching 12 years ago, Cory’s passion for the sport is evident.

His motivation to coach Team Manitoba is fueled by a desire to compete against the best in Canada and elevate the province’s lacrosse profile. This drive has led to significant recruitment efforts, bringing in 75 new female athletes this year, especially in box lacrosse, a key to the team’s strategy.

Cory places a strong emphasis on team-building, crucial with so many new players. 

“We focus on making practices fun and engaging, playing exhibition games to build internal competition,” he explains.

While formal team-building activities are planned for later, creating a positive, enjoyable environment remains the current focus.

When it comes to traditions, the team is still developing. 

“We celebrate hard when we score, but we don’t have many established traditions yet,” Cory admits. 

As the team matures, these rituals will naturally evolve, adding to their unique culture.

He dedicates around 20 hours a week to coaching, demonstrating his unwavering commitment. 

“Lacrosse is the fastest game on two feet. It’s fun, exciting, and filled with contact. Anyone who picks up a stick for the first time enjoys the experience,” he says, encouraging more people to get involved through Manitoba Lacrosse’s programs.


Building a Strong Team Culture

Kelson Borisenko’s entry into lacrosse began 15 years ago, inspired by a friend. Despite his family’s focus on academics, Kelson found lacrosse captivating due to its fast pace, physicality, and the blend of skills it requires. 

“The mix of athleticism, hand-eye coordination, and speed drew me to it,” he recalls.

After playing lacrosse in university, Kelson returned to Winnipeg with a mission to grow the sport. 

“Winnipeg hasn’t been a lacrosse hotbed, and I wanted to change that,” he says. 

Coaching became his way of giving back to the sport that had given him so much.

Kelson’s approach to coaching emphasizes team building and creating a cohesive unit. 

“Lacrosse requires a large roster, and skill alone isn’t enough. We do activities at practice and outside to bond the team, like going to Goldeyes or Bombers games,” he explains. 

These experiences help build relationships and trust among players, which are crucial for success on the field.


Consistency is Key

Preparing for the Canada Summer Games involves a strategic focus on long-term training. 

“We have about 18 months and over 500 days to get ready for a seven-day tournament,” Kelson says. “It’s about consistent preparation to ensure we’re ready to compete at our best.”

Kelson is committed to his role as a coach. He coaches multiple teams and dedicates over 500 hours a year to the sport. His philosophy of fostering healthy competition is central to his coaching. 

“We encourage competition in practice, but ensure it’s balanced with building relationships. It’s about pushing each other to be better while supporting one another,” he says.


The Road Ahead

Both Cory and Kelson highlight the unique aspects of lacrosse that make it a special sport. Cory emphasizes its fast pace and excitement, while Kelson points out its blend of different athletic skills. Their shared passion for lacrosse and dedication to their teams are the driving forces as they prepare to represent Manitoba at the Canada Summer Games.

With the Games on the horizon, the focus is on continuous improvement and building a strong team culture. The excitement is building, and the athletes are gearing up to give their all on the national stage. Whether you’re a seasoned player or new to the sport, there’s never been a better time to get involved with Manitoba Lacrosse.

For more information on the sport, visit Manitoba Lacrosse.