The Maple Ridge Burrards set off on their 2012 campaign this Sunday at home against the Coquitlam Adanacs and this season, head coach Daren Fridge hopes to continue his team’s upward trend.
“We want to set the bar higher this year,” said Fridge. “It’s beyond just making the playoffs, we want to contend for a championship.”
The Burrards qualified for the playoffs for the second year in a row last season, and for the second year in a row were knocked out of the playoffs in five games by the New Westminster Salmonbellies.
But a team that gets hot at the right time can go a long way in the WLA playoffs, as was the case with the Langley Thunder last season.
The Thunder snuck into the playoffs with the same number of regular season wins as the Burrards, but proceeded to upset the Salmonbellies and Victoria Shamrocks on their way to their first ever Western Lacrosse Association title.
With so much parity in the Western Lacrosse Association, Fridge hopes his bolstered left side and solid back-end will help the team rise above the fray.
However, with the Burrards roster thin injuries and college commitments, the team could face some adversity early on this season.
“I think this might be our most significant year for not having guys back,” said Fridge. “We’re pretty thin right, but we’re hoping things will change.”
Last year’s top scorer, Curtis Dickson, is still recovering from a shoulder injury sustained in the National Lacrosse League playoffs and may or may not be ready to play Sunday night, while Riley Loewen is away playing with Limestone College’s field lacrosse team in the NCAA championships.
Attacker Joel Dalgarno will miss this season with work commitments, while Jarrett Davis is currently away playing for the Rochester Knighthawks of the NLL.
The good news for the Burrards is that veteran attack Randy Daly will be returning this season, providing some much needed offence early on this season.
“We thought we had lost him to retirement, so we’re really thankful to have him back,” said Fridge.
Dayne Michaud, Aaron Pascas, Derek Lowe, and Tyler Miotto return to run the Burrards’ offence, while Tyler Codron, Kevin Reid, Creighton Reid, and Garrett McIntosh will anchor the Burrards’ back end.
Among the new faces this season will be Brandon Bertoia, Colton Porter, Daniel Amesbury, and Simon Giourmetakis.
“I know this team can make things happen,” said Fridge.
New look, new website
The Burrards have a new team website this season, which prominently features the Burrards’ original totem pole logo from when the team was known as the Vancouver Burrards, 76 years ago.
“We wanted to go back to our roots,” said Burrards president Lance Andre. “It’s the heritage of the team, and it’s a great look.”
The new logo is featured prominently on the Burrards website and is emblazoned on the team’s practice gear. Next season, Andre said the team plans to introduce new jerseys featuring the throwback logo, giving the team a slightly different look than their junior counterparts.
“We want to maintain that connection with our minor program, but we also want something that stands out,” said Andre, who also serves as president of the Ridge Meadows Minor Lacrosse Association.
Minor lax appreciation
The Maple Ridge Burrards are holding their annual Minor Lacrosse Appreciation night this Sunday. From 4 to 6:30 p.m. before the Burrards’ game against the Coquitlam Adanacs, the club will be holding a free hot dog barbecue, dunk tank, hardest shot contest, obstacle course, and autograph session with the senior men’s team. All Ridge Meadows minor lacrosse players and coaches are admitted free to the game, with admission for parents and siblings by donation.