Maple Ridge Burrards president Lance Andre can’t wait for Sunday.
That’s when he gets to see the many weapons he has assembled for the coming Western Lacrosse Association season brought to bear.
That’s also when the Burrards get to begin erasing the memory of the last-place, injury-plagued 4-13-1 campaign of a season ago.
“We’re going to be one of the highest-scoring teams in the league,” predicts Andre.
“It’ll be exciting.”
They open the season against the Langley Thunder on Sunday at 6:45 p.m. at Planet Ice.
Leading on offence will be Curtis Dickson, who is coming off a season of 42 goals and 62 points with the Calgary Roughnecks of the National Lacrosse League. He was third in the NLL in goals scored.
“He’ll probably be at the top of the WLA in scoring,” predicts Andre.
“He’ll be our cornerstone.”
The Port Coquitlam product is a pure goal scorer, and has become almost impossible for a defender to contain.
“He’s dynamite one-on-one, and in front of the net.”
In the 2013 playoffs, Dickson managed eight goals and 10 points in two games. Seven of his goals came in the second half of a 14-13 loss to the Washington Stealth. With his team down by five, he scored three goals in less than three minutes.
He suffered through injuries last year and only played two games for the Burrards, but had eight goals and 13 points. In 2011, the year he was the NLL rookie of the year, he put up an impressive 46 goals and 78 points in 17 games in Maple Ridge.
And there is lots of other pro talent. Another Roughneck, Aaron Pascas was limited to just five games in Maple Ridge last year after a car accident, and he will provide more offensive punch.
Joel Dalgarno had to sit out a season while he pursued a career as a firefighter, but he plays for the Colorado Mammoth and brings more elite-level skill.
Creighton Reid is also a Mammoth, but rather than scoring goals, the hard-nosed defender takes charge in his own end of the rink.
All of those players are from the Coquitlam/Port Coquitlam area. Jaeden Gastaldo is a New Westminster transition player
Some home-grown talent on the roster is Mike Mallory of Pitt Meadows, who was drafted by the NLL Washington Stealth.
And Andre made some moves to shore up his own end of the arena, in a trade with the Victoria Shamrocks that brings Chris Levis and defender Michael Krgovich back to the mainland.
Levis earned the WLA’s Leo Nicholson Trophy as Outstanding Goaltender in 2003, he was the WLA playoff MVP in 2007 and was named to WLA All-Star teams in 2003 and 2008.
After spending eight seasons with the Coquitlam Adanacs, Levis was traded to the Shamrocks at the 2011 trade deadline. He made six regular season appearances for Victoria in each of the two seasons since then and has started in all play-off games.
Former captain of the Minto Cup Champion Coquitlam Adanacs, Michael Krgovich was drafted by the Shamrocks at 17th overall in the 2012 draft, but has yet to don a jersey for the island club. Krgovich is known as a strong defender and will bring additional size to Ridge.
In exchange, Victoria has received the Burrards’ fourth-round pick in the 2014 draft and second-round pick in 2015.