The Maple Ridge Burrards were snubbed by the Western Lacrosse Association as they won their championship in Victoria on Saturday night, and now the league has apologized.
The Burrards had no opportunity to hoist their trophy, honour their playoff MVPs, or otherwise celebrate the WLA championship because the trophies were not there.
Burrards coach Rob Williams said he felt bad for his players.
“Tyler Codron, our captain, works his butt off all year long, and he should have been handed the championship trophy,” said Williams.
The trophy is named for Ted Fridge, father of Daren Fridge – who is a longtime Burrard player, coach and executive member – for his contributions to the sport.
Williams said if the Shamrocks had won the championship, the trophy would have been at the arena, as it was four years ago when they beat the Burrards.
The Burrards players and personnel were not happy about the oversight.
“People make mistakes,” said Williams.
“We’re going to the Mann Cup, so who cares.”
The league put out a statement on its website on Tuesday: “The Western Lacrosse Association is committed to promoting the great game of lacrosse and maintaining the highest levels of excellence. Regrettably, we did not live up to those standards, and dropped the ball in our failure to properly recognize our 2018 Champions, the Maple Ridge Burrards, with a post-game ceremony following their victory last Saturday night. We offer our sincerest apologies to fans of the WLA, and in particular, the Burrards players, coaches, and management, as well as their great fans.
“We congratulate the Maple Ridge Burrards on adding the 2018 Ted Fridge Trophy for WLA playoff champion to their list of accolades, and also congratulate Curtis Dickson, Ben McIntosh, and Frank Scigliano on the sharing the Bill Ellison Trophy as playoff co-MVPs.”
Burrards GM Lance Andre said he wants to believe that it was an honest mistake, despite the poor relationship his organization has had with the WLA.
The Burrards were seen as the bad boys in the league in 2016, with the WLA threatening that late-game fights involving Maple Ridge could result in the team being suspended from the league.
Usually, the WLA commissioner travels with the team to the Mann Cup, but that year he chose not to accompany the Burrards.
Andre said those past disputes between the Burrards had nothing to do with the lack of celebration.
And the Burrards haven’t been fighting and getting players suspended.
“We’ve changed our ways. We were the Burrard Street Bullies, but we’re good enough to play lacrosse now – we don’t have to try to intimidate teams.”
Andre said this season has been about changing the team’s identity, and they have had had no suspensions.
“We went as far as deciding we’re not wearing our black shirts anymore,” he added.
“We’ve mended a lot of fences. We want to be known as a great lacrosse team.”
Andre said the league wanted to know what it could do to make it up to the Burrards. The GM suggested an apology, and said he was satisfied with the league’s statement.
“We, right now, don’t want to focus on the negative,” he said.
The Burrards now look ahead to their next series, a best-of-seven Mann Cup Championship to be held in Ontario, in either Oakville or Peterborough, who are tied at 2-2. That series starts Sept. 7.
WLA commissioner Paul Dal Monte will be traveling to Ontario with the Burrards.