Burrards retool through WLA draft

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The Maple Ridge Burrards did some significant retooling during the Western Lacrosse Association draft on Monday night.

In a draft that lacrosse pundits hailed as one of the deepest in years, if not ever, the Burrards enjoyed the advantage of having the first-overall pick, and two second-round picks.

They picked up players who can step in and contribute next season, and who want to be here, said president Lance Andre.

“We had a great draft – we got everyone we were targeting,” he said.

They made forward Ben McIntosh of the Junior Adanacs the first overall pick in the draft at the Langley Events Centre.

“He’ll be an impact player for us this year,” predicts Andre.

Last season, once he finished with the Drexel University Dragons NCAA team, McIntosh joined the Adanacs and put up 27 goals and 42 points in nine games. He then finished second in scoring at the Minto Cup.

His new coach and GM, Daren Fridge said McIntosh is a natural creaseman, with good size and speed, and great finish.

“And he’s a great kid with a great character.”

His brother Garrett McIntosh is already a member of the Burrards, entering his third season playing defence.

With their first second-round pick the Burrards were able to pick up Mike Mallory of the Delta Islanders Junior A squad. They had fingers crossed that the Pitt Meadows resident would fall to them – in most years he would have been a first-rounder.

“We were excited he was still available,” said Andrew. “That’s a pick we had made a month ago.”

Mallory is on the practice roster of the Washington Stealth of the NLL, finished third in BCJALL scoring last season, and then put up 51 points in 10 playoff games. He was the BCJALL Most Valuable Player last season. In 2010, he was rookie of the year, and he put up 242 points in three junior seasons.

Last season, at the trade deadline, the Burrards sent their leading scorer Derek Lowe to the Victoria Shamrocks in exchange for a second-round pick. They used it to pick up Jaeden Gastaldo of the Langley Thunder Junior A. He is a rookie with the NLL Colorado Mammoth. In his first game as a pro, Gastaldo had a goal and an assist.

Fridge anticipates having a transition player who plays great defence, but has a good enough stick to contribute offensively.

Fridge is loving the look of his lineup with the new additions.

“We’ve got a full attack now, with a balance of righties and lefties, and some depth,” said Fridge.

In the third round the Burrards selected goaltender Carson Michaud of the Port Coquitlam Saints Junior A. Once again this is a player with a big brother Burrard, as Dayne Michaud is a big transition player and also an assistant captain.

Fridge said Michaud has been a practice goalie with the Burrards, fits in well with the squad, and will help add consistency in net.

In the later rounds, the Burrards picked up some players who will push for spots on the team.

The draft was deep because half of the Coquitlam team that represented the B.C. Junior A Lacrosse League at the last four Minto Cups all graduated at once.

Andre said they focused on players who have good character, and will be good teammates.

“We want people who will work their tails off on the floor,’ he said.

“I’m pumped. We’ll contend for the whole thing if everyone comes to camp healthy and ready to go.”

The Burrards home opener will be May 19. Training camp will start in early April.

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