Iroquois Park Sports Centre - Home of the Brooklin Lacrosse Club of the MSL
This article is the fifth of a six-part series (The Arena Series) on the arenas of Major Series Lacrosse. Part 5 – Iroquois Park Sports Centre (IPSC)
Reported to be one of Canada’s largest municipally owned and operated recreation complexes, the Iroquois Park Sports Centre is situated on approximately 50 acres. The IPSC is a 250,000-square-foot athletic facility located at 500 Victoria St. West in Whitby, Ontario.
An electronic marquee sign lists many of the events at the facility
The facility is the host site for a variety of cultural activities and is the hub of athletic activity in the greater Whitby area. It houses 6 arenas, two fully accessible pools, 6 illuminated tennis courts, 3 illuminated tournament quality baseball diamonds, another two unlit ball diamonds and a fully lit tournament quality soccer pitch. In addition, the complex includes a pro shop, fully licensed restaurant and food court, a skateboard park, a playground, meeting rooms, along with office space.
First opened in 1974, the development has occurred over four decades. Initially, a one arena and pool facility, the IPSC’s growth has resulted in the current modern indoor/outdoor multi-sport, multi-arena multi-amenities complex – a facility any municipality would be proud to have.
Aerial View of Iroquois Park Sports Complex
The design of Pad 1 arena is comprised of seating on both sides of playing surface with 9 rows of seats. The seating is made up of plastic seats, all of which are brightly colored in red, blue, or yellow. The capacity is listed at 2,500. However, a wide upper aisle above the seating area with a standing rail allows for increased fan capacity approaching 3000. With a bright and clean appearance, the interior is clearly a lacrosse arena as on display are an array of banners, celebrating the Brooklin Redmen , and Whitby Warrior championship teams in addition to the Ontario Lacrosse Association Festival.
Arena (Pad 1) originally constructed in 1974 is considered the flagship arena with 8 dressing rooms and where the Brooklin Lacrosse Club of Major Series Lacrosse play home games (as do the Whitby Warriors of the Ontario Junior Lacrosse League). The main arena is a wing of its own, but all the other pads are connected to each other.
In the lobby area outside Pad 1, you will find the Whitby Sports Hall of Fame with an array of displays of Whitby sports memorabilia, including the #23 Brooklin Redmen jersey of the late Scotty McMichael - inducted into the Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2017.
You will also see the the NHL jersey of Hockey Hall of Fame player Joe Nieuwendyk, (who was a key member of the Whitby Warriors Minto Cup champions team in 1984). In addition, there is a display on Peter Vipond, an honored member of both the Ontario and Canadian Lacrosse Halls of Fame.
For over six decades (beginning in 1961), Brooklin has had a major series team. From 1961 to 1964 the team was known as the Brooklin Hillcrests. In 1965 the name changed to the Brooklin Merchants. However, in 1966 the team became the Brooklin Redmen. In April of 2019, the organization announced, it would be dropping the "Redmen" as the team’s name – “owing to a growing sensitivity to the use of Native Americans as logos and names for sports teams”. Since 2019, the organization is known as the Brooklin Lacrosse Club (BLC).
During the period under the Brooklin Redmen moniker, the team won the Ontario championship 11 times (1967, 1968, 1969, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 2000).
More importantly, the Redmen captured 7 Mann Cup championships (1968, 1969, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990, 2000). For the home town Brooklin fans, the team won the Mann Cup playing at the Iroquois Park Sports Centre in 1988, 1990 and 2000).
When speaking of the complex, Brooklin Lacrosse Club’s General Manager and Head Coach Brad MacArthur states, ““We have a custom dressing room, coaches’ office, large shower area, physio room, exercise room and a separate equipment room”.
Of huge significance, the Brooklin lacrosse organization has always been a community-based team. Throughout its history, the team has functioned as a non-profit, volunteer operated organization. The hard working and dedicated volunteers have provided a place for local lacrosse players (Whitby, Oshawa, Brooklin, Durham and other nearby regions) to play in the MSL with and against the very best lacrosse players in the World.
BLC Head Coach and GM Brad MacArthur
The Iroquois Park Sports Centre is truly a gem of a facility. Over the years it has served the Whitby lacrosse community well (and continues to do so). The Major Series Brooklin teams have always been amongst the very best lacrosse organizations in Canada. As GM Brad MacArthur notes, "Iroquois Park through all its transformation over the years, holds as a reminder of the tremendous moments and successes for our community".
During your lacrosse travels over the 2022 season, be sure to stop by and watch a top notch team play in an arena which has a rich history of success. The Iroquois Park Sports Centre is located at 500 Victoria Street West in Whitby Ontario.
(Written by Rad Joseph – Member of Major Series Lacrosse Media Team)