You’d have a hard time finding a more tight-knit group of guys than SFU’s lacrosse team. They’re always communicating, whether it’s in the middle of a game, on the bus travelling to an away game, or in the study hall helping each other out with their schoolwork. For goalie Jeremy Lashar, the team is like a second family.
“I can’t say more about how close we are as a group,” Lashar says. “The team really is like a family. You get that same feel. We always try to emphasize that you’re never alone — at every time of the day, you’ve always got a teammate and friend to help you out.” This kinship comes in handy on the field, where the team has to stay in constant communication to succeed.
I meet Lashar for an interview on a rainy Tuesday morning. He’s fresh from practice, though he looks no worse for wear. According to him, coach Brent Hoskins schedules practices early so that his team has time to study and work on assignments. For the criminology student, it’s an important balance to strike.
“It’s a lot of time management. Just realizing that the whole student athlete thing, student comes first, athlete comes second. You really want to balance them,”
The Burnaby native is no stranger to managing school and athletics. Having competed with the Rebels at Burnaby South Secondary School, Lashar has been playing lacrosse in one place or another since grade school. “I had some family friends that played it, so I got involved that way, in Burnaby minor lacrosse,” he says.
“I kind of continued to play field lacrosse after I played indoor lacrosse, and eventually got involved with SFU’s youth program, the Burnaby Mountain Selects program, which filters in a lot of kids through college. So that’s why I ended up here.” Having lived in Burnaby all his life, it’s an added bonus to be going to school in the same place he grew up.
Since high school, Lashar has become one of the best goalies in his division, having placed as the second team All-Conference Goalie two years in a row. But for him, it’s always a team effort.
“Any of my successes, any of my team’s successes, are just a microcosm of how well my team works together and how well we’re coached.” He tells me coach Hoskins “has instilled the confidence in all of us to go out and succeed,” adding, “I can’t say enough good things about [him].”
In the heat of a match, Lashar is cool-headed and focused, despite all of the energy going on around him. “You want to make sure that it’s as comfortable as possible, like nothing’s forced, and I think everything else flows through there,” he says.
“Every single save, or every single moment that I have, I just don’t take it for granted.”
“I try to relax and just stay focused. Put everything in perspective and then, if the shot goes and I should have stayed, I just think about the next one.”
Being one of the team’s seniors, Lashar sees himself as having a responsibility to mentor younger teammates, both on and off the field. With just weeks left and a handful of games to go in his degree, Lashar’s path towards graduation has been bittersweet.
“It’s definitely tough to think about,” he says. “You get the positive aspect — you’re almost graduated, you’re almost done school — but it’s kind of sad to realize you’re almost done playing college sports. It’s some of the best years of our lives, and just so many great experiences with so many great people, so it’s tough.
“Every single save, or every single moment that I have, I just don’t take it for granted, and that’s really been something that I want to continue doing for the next few weeks here.”
But Lashar will probably never forget his best games. When it comes to highlights, his pick is a 2016 game against Sonoma State, where SFU nabbed a tidy victory. “They [Sonoma State] have been ranked in the top 20, and they came up to play us here at home. We were pretty big underdogs in that game, and we actually knocked them off [12–9]. That game always stands out to me.” Lashar was a bit part of that success, coming out on top with a 69% save percentage.
So what’s next for Lashar? Nearing the end of his degree, he sees himself pursuing a career in policing. “I’ve always liked talking to people, and I’ve always liked helping people, so I feel like criminology was a suitable degree. My dad’s a police officer as well, so that’s definitely been a thing that I can look up to. Seeing him and the person that he is, that’s influenced me.”
However, Lashar’s not done with lacrosse just yet. “I definitely see coaching in my near future,” he says. “The good thing about graduating from SFU lacrosse, or any discipline, is that you can definitely go on to help out as a coach in any capacity as a mentor.
“This game’s given me so much, so I want to give something back.”
Fun Fact: What’s one of your secret talents?
“I grew up being a multi-sport athlete. Whenever there’s a Christmas break, I’m always playing ice hockey or soccer.”