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Maple Ridge Burrards add talent in WLA draft

GM says team added size, grit, talent, and an elite goaltender
Declan Fitzpatrick is a key addition to the Maple Ridge Burrards WLA team. (Courtesy of Ryan Molag/Langley Events Centre)

The Maple Ridge Burrards came out of the Western Lacrosse Association draft with a lot of players the organization is excited about.

GM Lance Andre said his organization left the draft at the Langley Events Centre on Feb. 6 as big winners, with some of the top 21-year-old players in the province.

The first roster additions to the Burrards were the territorial protection picks, where WLA teams can choose two players from their community to go straight on the roster, without being subject to the draft.

Those picks were Declan Fitzpatrick and Will Carrier.

Fitzpatrick is a big, skilled lefty from the Langley Thunder Junior A team. He was third on the team in scoring with 19 goals and 39 points in 14 games last season. He also led the team in penalty minutes with 37, which was third in the league. He’s listed as 6’4” and 225 pounds.

“He gives us some things we’ve been lacking on offence – size and grit,” said Andre.

Carrier is a defender who has already been called up by the Burrards when they needed a player. He had three goals and 14 points in 19 games with the Delta Islanders Junior A team.

“He’s a perfect fit for our team,” said Andre.

With the first overall pick, they took Marcus Klarich, who led the BC Junior A Lacrosse Association in scoring, and was voted the league MVP.

Through 21 games with the Victoria Shamrocks and Burnaby Lakers junior teams last season, he had 50 goals and 114 points. He was dealt to the Junior Shamrocks at the trade deadline, as they chased a Minto Cup championship. Pundits say he is a rare combination of deceptive passer and elite shooter, who is a great powerplay quarterback.

“He was the best player in the draft,” said Andre. “He outscored everyone in junior last year, by a lot. He’s got fast feet and a great outside shot.”

The Burnaby resident has already played three games with the Vancouver Warriors of the National Lacrosse League.

The Burrards took goaltender Adam Bland in the second round, ninth overall. Andre said he had expected the Calgary Roughnecks backstop to be selected third or fourth, so his team had to take a time out to change their draft strategy when the talented Bland fell to them.

“It was a no-brainer pick,” he said.

Bland was second in save percentage in the BCJALL at 0.828, and third win wins with eight.

With two more picks at the bottom of the round, they selected Rhys Porteous and Aidan Solomon. Porteous is a righty offensive player who brings size and toughness, and had 28 goals and 56 points to lead the Delta Islanders in scoring. Shamrock Soloman is a defensive player who Andre said was the last cut from the Vancouver Warriors, and again slid in the draft to where the Burrards were surprised to get him.

The Burrards third-round pick was Carter Clark, a defender and faceoff specialist out of the Junior Coquitlam Adanacs.

In the fourth round they chose Braiden Struss-Reid. Andre said he could be a diamond in the rough, and as the son of longtime Burrard Kevin Reid – a former team captain and current assistant coach – Andre expects the young Reid to bring a big work ethic. He had 13 goals and 29 points in 19 games with the Junior Thunder last season.

Their final pick of the draft was Jordan Alain.

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Neil Corbett

About the Author: Neil Corbett

I have been a journalist for more than 30 years, the past decade with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.
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