The Maple Ridge Burrards have continued adding talent to their roster, determined to host the Mann Cup national senior A lacrosse championship this season.
The Mann Cup moves from east to west each season and this year it will be hosted by the champions of the Western Lacrosse Association.
The newest Burrard is Ryan Keenan – a left-handed offensive player. In three National Lacrosse League seasons and 52 games with the Saskatchewan Rush, the 24-year-old has put up 59 goals and 177 points.
Keenan was the first overall pick in the 2016 NLL draft. He played college lacrosse with Quinnipiac University and led the school to its first-ever win in NCAA championship tournament. He had a 30-game scoring streak, producing 33 goals and 51 points
Keenan is a good size for a forward at 6’0”, 185 pounds.
“He will round out our offence. He’s a great offensive player,” said Burrards general manager Lance Andre.
He had to make a deal with Brooklin of Major Series Lacrosse, which held Keenan’s Canadian Lacrosse Association rights. Andre said it was a cash transaction.
With Brooklin, Keenan had 39 goals and 121 points in 39 career games.
Andre said Keenan wanted to play for a season in B.C. and the Burrards were a great fit.
The Maple Ridge-based team has made the Mann Cup two of the past three seasons and has a number of Keenan’s teammates from the professional ranks in sniper Ben McIntosh, another new acquisition in Jeff Shattler, as well as Matthew Dinsdale. All play for Saskatchewan in the NLL, with McIntosh and Shattler second and third in team scoring this past season. Keenan was fifth and Dinsdale seventh.
Andre looks around the WLA at other talented rosters.
“New West has loaded up quite a bit, too,” he said. “It will be a good league this year.”
He expects whichever team comes together and finds chemistry the fastest will host the Mann Cup.
“The key word is ‘team’ – we’ve got to put it all together now.”
Andre is hopeful that having players who are NLL teammates will the Burrards gel, but is not concerned with winning the regular season crown.
“Our goals are to make the playoffs and win the Mann Cup.”
• The Burrards will open the season with several key players competing for an NLL championship with the Calgary Roughnecks. Players Curtis Dickson, Riley Loewen and Dan Taylor are all in the series.
Burrards head coach Rob Williams is also with the Roughnecks, as an assistant.
• The Burrards open the WLS season Sunday, May 26, 6:45 p.m. at Cam Neely Arena.