Burrards players back in the Valley with NLL clubs

Incoming Maple Ridge Burrards head coach Chris Gill will be in the stands at the Langley Events Centre tonight (Friday) as the Vancouver Stealth take on the Colorado Mammoth in National Lacrosse League action.

Obviously the former lacrosse standout loves the game, and is a season ticket holder. But he will also be keeping a close eye on players who have roster spots with his Western Lacrosse Association (WLA) team, as he tries to improve on last year’s 8-10 season.

“It’s good to see how players are progressing,” said Gill, noting that both defender Creighton Reid and forward Joel Delgarno are part of the Mammoth lineup, and he gets a chance to see them playing at the top level of the game. Delgarno had a relatively quiet year with the Burrards, with eight goals and 26 points, and has a goal and five assists in two games with the Mammoth.

Next weekend will bring the Edmonton Rush, and last year’s Burrards team captain Jarrett Davis.

WLA scoring champion and the Burrards top asset, Curtis Dickson will arrive in Langley with the Calgary Roughnecks on Feb. 15. He is off to a slow start this season, with five points through two games. Last year ‘Superman’ Dickson put up 58 goals and 103 points to win the WLA scoring title and league MVP honours.

Nobody has scored that many goals in a season since 2000, when 61 were netted by another Burrard – Chris Gill.

Gill will be scouting players, but he also loves the NLL game.

“In the NLL, the rules have changed a little bit, where they’re trying to push the pace,” he explained.

Unlike the controlled pace of the WLA, where players have a 30-second shot clock, the NLL gives players only eight seconds from the time they get control of the ball in their end to move it over centre. There’s more charging up the floor, more hits, more defences pressing, more turnovers and just more action.

Gill likes the Langley location, and sees the Vancouver franchise as having a better shot of success playing in the Valley.

“It’s central. It isn’t exactly a hotbed of lacrosse in Vancouver – all of the growth is in Tri-City, Maple Ridge and Langley. It’s the perfect spot for it [the NLL team].”

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