Once again, the Ridge Meadows Burrards led the way with 11 players chosen as the BC Junior A Lacrosse League held its midget draft, with the local picks including second overall Jacob Pahnke to the Port Coquitlam Saints.
The Ridge athletes were among 48 young lacrosse players taken in the draft, which was held at the Langley Events Centre on Saturday. The draft was for players born in 2002 and was for those who are non-resident players – meaning they do not fall into the catchment area of one of the eight BCJALL franchises.
The first overall selection was taken by the Burnaby Junior Lakers, who nabbed Semiahmoo’s Sam La Roue.
The Lakers obviously got the player they wanted as they arrived at the draft with his name plate already on the back of the jersey.
For his part, La Roue was not surprised he went first overall based on pre-draft conversations he had with the team.
“It is exciting (to be selected first overall) but now I have to focus on how much value I can add to my new team,” he said.
Ridge Meadows dominated the early part of the draft, which included Pahnke and five of the eight first-round selections.
Josh Wahl, president of the Port Coquitlam Saints, had acquired a lot of picks, and took four of those players. He was delighted to get Pahnke.
“We liked his leadership and work ethic, and we see him as a future leader for us,” said.
Langley picked Ridge’s Cameron Ickert fourth overall, then Port Coquitlam took Kenyon Nyman fifth, Jordan Kujala sixth and Sawyer Morais eighth, giving them four Burrards taken in the first round.
Wahl loaded up on Ridge kids only after a lot of scouting, he said.
“First and foremost, they were the best players available,” he said, adding that they play midget at the top level, are well coached, and bring a high lacrosse IQ that will help them transition to junior.
“And they are really good kids – we spoke to all of them before the draft,” he said.
He likes that Nyman and Kajula are multi-sport athletes who both bring good size, and it was a bonus that Morais’ brother Mason already plays with the Saints.
“We were extremely happy how everthing worked out for us,” said Wahl of the draft.
The other Ridge Meadows players taken were:
• Declan Fitzpatrick in the third round (20th) to Langley,
• Noah Bradley in the third round (22nd) to Poco,
• Jordan DiPlacito-Alain in the fourth round (29th) to Burnaby
• Jonis Forrer in the fourth round (30th) to Burnaby
• Will Carriere in the fourth round (31st) to New Westminster
• Jakob Bailuk in the firth round (33rd) to Poco
Saanich Lacrosse had seven players selected, while the Surrey Lacrosse Association had six taken and Mission Lacrosse had five.
Some 195 players were eligible to be selected and those who were not chosen are now eligible to try out with any of the clubs.
For a full list of draft results, please click here.
The BCJALL regular season gets underway in the spring as the eight teams compete for a provincial championship. There’s also the added motivation of getting into the Minto Cup, which will also be hosted at Langley Events Centre from Aug. 15 to 26. The provincial champions and the runner-ups will earn a berth into the national championship.