The Western Lacrosse Association recognized a Burrards standout player with a league honour, as Gabe Procyk won the league’s Unsung Hero Award.
“This award is given to the player judged to be valuable and inspirational, yet approaches his role quietly; the league’s ‘Unsung hero,’” said the WLA announcement. He shares the award with Jason Jones of the New Westminster Salmonbellies.
His coach, Rob Williams said Procyk is a highly skilled player who took on every role the coaching staff threw at him, including defensive assignments, even if it didn’t result in him piling up points. He did post a respectable 14 goals and 32 points in 17 games.
“Game in and game out, he gave us everything he had,” said Williams.
The coach saw Procyk creating turnovers, forcing the opposing team into eight-second violations for not advancing the ball, and otherwise putting pressure on opponents.
“He’s got a really well-rounded game, and he’s got a bright future.”
Procyk was a key piece in the Burrards’ April trade with the Coquitlam Adanacs, when they parted ways with one of their top scorers Ben McIntosh.
Williams said he expects Procyk to be drafted into the pro ranks in the upcoming NLL draft next month.
The rookie is a key player for the rebuilding Burrards, who just finished a season that saw them finish in the WLA basement with a record of 1-17.
Williams said the organization giving a lot of young players experience this season will pay dividends in the future.
“We made a commitment to try and stay local, and build the team the way we did in 2016,” he said. “I was really proud of the guys. They played hard from the start to the end. There’s a bright future for a whole bunch of them.”
He said the losing did not lead to hard feelings on the club.
“For the most part, they grew as a team, and enjoyed playing with each other,” he said.
He said the team’s record reflects the challenge of jumping from junior lacrosse to the WLA.
“It’s men against men. It’s a big jump, and I thought our guys handled it well.”
Williams expects the players to return and for the team to keep improving, until it is again ready to compete for a Mann Cup. Whether he returns as head coach has not yet been discussed, he said, but he expects to continue in some capacity.
“I really believe in what we’re doing,” said Williams, and after some 20 years with the organization, added “I’ll still be around for sure.”
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