The New Westminster Minor Lacrosse Association is renaming an annual jamboree in honour of a young woman known for love of the game.
When the association’s annual jamboree for tyke and mini-tyke players takes place at Moody Park Arena on April 2 and 3, it will officially become known as the Olivia Malcom Jamboree.
“The desired outcome of the Olivia Malcom Jamboree is for mini-tyke and tyke players to begin embracing the sport of lacrosse and the community they are being raised in, which Olivia regularly expressed with such gratitude to others about New Westminster and the Salmonbellies,” reads a notice being handed out at the jamboree.
“With the support of players’ families, coaches, teammates, referees and lacrosse associations, the players will learn the box lacrosse game with an inquisitiveness of required skills, sportsmanship and teamplay. Many times Olivia commented to her family how important it was for families to allow their children to play the game for the love of the game. We hope this jamboree is a true testament of the impact and legacy left by Olivia.”
Olivia, 19, died on June 2, 2018, after being hit by a driver, who later plead guilty to dangerous driving causing death. She was on her way home from Ladner, where she’d been watching a lacrosse game.
Olivia played lacrosse in New Westminster from novice to midget, before she transitioned to volunteering as an assistant coach.
“The jamboree is for fun; it has always been for fun,” said Chad Machuik. “It’s just to bring all the teams together. And that’s what she did; she brought all the people together.”
Machuik, a close friend of the Malcom family, was one of the head coaches on female lacrosse teams on which Olivia volunteered as an assistant coach for several years.
“She was definitely a role model. The girls looked up to her,” he said. “At a very young age, as a role model they would look up to her, not just in lacrosse but in her way of life, her positivity.”
Olivia was a fantastic assistant coach, helping out wherever needed, giving advice to girls who may have been struggling or not passing the ball to their teammates, and sharing her positivity with the young lacrosse players, Machuik said.
“She always showed up. She always had a smile on her face, always that remarkable smile on her face, her positivity shining through. Extremely kind and compassionate with the players,” he said. “Sometimes it’s hard as a coach just to always be so positive myself, so she would step up and play the positivity role. Her knowledge of the sport was phenomenal.”
Olivia was no stranger to lacrosse arenas, having attended her first lacrosse game in 1998 at just 10 days of age.
“She felt that it was important to give back. That is why she stepped in from a coaching perspective in this community that she so lovingly embraced, and let alone the Salmonbellies’ organization,” said mom Bridget Malcom. “For Olivia, she was at Queen’s Park Arena at 10 days old watching Tony as a New Westminster Salmonbellies’ player, and she continued to watch her cousins and her father. To be able to become a player in the Salmonbellies’ organization and then to be able to coach was just something that she felt strongly about.”
Olivia followed in the footsteps of her parents, Tony and Bridget, by volunteering with the New Westminster Minor Lacrosse Association.
“Olivia, she wanted to give back,” Malcom said of her daughter. “She had observed Tony coaching, me being involved in the executive. She wanted to give back in some way. So she said, I think I am going to be an assistant coach for a tyke female team.”
Kicking off the season
The New Westminster Minor Lacrosse Association kicks off each season with a jamboree at Moody Park Arena for mini-tyke (five and six year olds) and tyke (seven and eight year olds) teams.
Discussions about renaming the jamboree in Olivia’s honour began in 2020, but were sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic. But when dozens of youngsters from New Westminster and Coquitlam attend this year’s jamboree, they’ll each receive a T-shirt that’s being donated by the Olivia Malcom Kindness Foundation.
A poster will be displayed at the registration table, and each participate will receive an information sheet about Olivia, so families know why the jamboree is being renamed in her honour.
Malcom said the family’s biggest hope is the Olivia Malcom Jamboree invokes a curiosity amongst kids to learn box lacrosse, inspires parents to step into much-needed volunteer roles, and helps people remember Olivia’s love of the New Westminster community and the Salmonbellies' organization.
“It’s mixed emotions,” Bridget said. “Mixed emotions, because, of course, it is named in her memory; we would much rather her be present here with us and participating at it and volunteering at it. But we have nothing but gratitude to the community that has supported us since Olivia’s death.”