Rob Williams was named coach of the year in the WLA as the league announced its major award winners from the 2016 regular season.
Also honoured were forward Mike Mallory and goaltender Frank Scigliano, who were named to the first and second all-star teams, respectively.
Williams guided the Burrards to a record of 11-6-1 in his first regular season, and has them playing for the league championship for just the second time in team history.
“We are the most confident team I’ve seen in a while,” said general manager Daren Fridge, who was himself a long-time Burrard coach. “We’re never out of any game.”
“The great quality about Rob – the moment the award was announced, he thanked all the people around him,” Fridge added.
He said Williams has installed a defensive system that suits the players he has. Hard work is the overriding message, and Williams has got great buy-in from his players.
“He has built a great dressing room. The morale is great, and the guys love each other.”
Williams has paid his dues in the game. He played 106 games in the NLL, was on Team Canada, and also did 13 seasons in the WLA. As an assistant coach he was with the Burrards for eight seasons with both Fridge and Chris Gill.
“He has definitely earned it,” Fridge said of the award. “My hope is that sometime he gets an opportunity in the NLL.”
Mallory has played in the shadow of lacrosse greats like Curtis Dickson and Ben McIntosh, but this year the Pitt Meadows native emerged as the team’s most reliable and consistent offensive weapon.
He finished fourth in the league in points with 67 (23 goals, 44 assists) in 18 games. His point totals have grown in each of his four years in the league.
Fridge said Mallory is a great combination of skill and smarts, and is also a coach in the community.
“He’s had a great season, and he continues to contribute.”
Fridge said Scigliano must have been close in the voting for top goaltender after leading the league with 10 wins, but Burnaby’s Zak Boychuk is also a top netminder, and allowed fewer goals.
Scigliano has remained great in the playoffs, said Fridge, posting better numbers than the regular season, and outplaying his opponents in both series.
The complete list of award winners:
Maitland Award, Justin Goodwin (New Westminster)
Rookie of the Year, Ryan Lee (Nanaimo)
Coach of the Year, Rob Williams (Maple Ridge)
Outstanding goaltender, Zak Boychuk (Burnaby)
Defensive Player of the Year, Brett Mydske (Langley)
Unsung Hero, Chris Wardle (Victoria)
Regular Season Scoring Leader, Rhys Duch (Victoria)
Three Star Award, Rhys Duch (Victoria)
Most Valuable Player, Rhys Duch (Victoria)
First All-Star Team: Zak Boychuk (goaltender, Burnaby), Brett Mydske (defence, Langley), Justin Goodwin (defence, New Westminster), Rhys Duch (forward, Victoria), Robert Church (forward, Burnaby), Mike Mallory (forward, Maple Ridge)
Second All-Star Team: Frank Scigliano (goaltender, Maple Ridge), Ian Hawksbee (defence, New Westminster), Kevin Neufeld (defence, Coquitlam), Logan Schuss (forward, New Westminster), Cory Conway (forward, Victoria), Corey Small (forward, Victoria)