(Paul Evans Photography) Maple Ridge Burrards sniper Curtis Dickson is an ambassador for the World Indoor Lacrosse Championship.

World lacrosse championships coming to the Valley

Burrards players Dickson and McIntosh played for Canada this year

The World Indoor Lacrosse Championship is going to be held in Langley in less than a year, and local fans of the sport could have some Burrards to cheer on, with both Curtis Dickson and Ben McIntosh having played for Canada this year.

They played in the 2018 outdoor championships in Israel, winning silver.

Now the biggest tournament ever in the history of the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Indoor Lacrosse Championship is set, with a record 20 countries going for gold Sept. 19-28, 2019 at the Langley Events Centre.

Dickson is an event ambassador for the championship, and hopes to make the team.

“There is nothing quite like representing your country. Playing on the world stage is pretty cool and I have been fortunate enough to do it three times now,” he said.

Dickson played for Canada in 2014, 2015 and again this past summer (2018), winning a pair of gold medals in the first two competitions and then silver at the 2018 event. The middle of those three events was indoor lacrosse while the other two were field competitions.

“It is a special moment to represent your country and hear your (national) anthem,” he said. “That is what everyone is there for, to play for their country. It is a pretty special experience.”

This will the fifth edition of the championship, which is held every four years, and Canada is gunning for a fifth consecutive gold medal having beaten the Iroquois Nationals in the Championship final all four times.

“This is more Canada’s game (than field lacrosse),” said Dickson. “We have dominated the indoor over the years.”

The United States have also made the podium in each of the four events, taking the bronze medal.

The trio of lacrosse heavyweights will be joined by Australia, Austria, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, England, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Serbia, Scotland, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland.

Some of the teams will not challenge the big three on the floor, but Dickson said they make it a world-class event, and he enjoys mixing and mingling with lacrosse men from other countries in the athletes village.

“We’re trying to grow the game of lacrosse, and this is a step in the right direction,” he said.

The 2015 event – which was held on the Onondaga Nation and in Syracuse, NY – featured 13 teams. The inaugural event in 2003 featured six teams while eight competed in both 2007 and 2011.

Dickson is known as Superman for his aerial goals where he launches himself at the edge of the goalie crease and shoots as he flies through the air. It seems a no-brainer that he would be on the team, but he is taking nothing for granted, saying there are a dozen Canadian players that will compete for his spot.

“It’s a tough roster to crack,” he said. “It’s a pretty big honour to be chosen for that team.”

In 10 career National Lacrosse League games at LEC with the Calgary Roughnecks, Dickson has 34 goals and 32 assists for 66 points, a hefty 6.6-points-per-game average. And in another five games as a visitor to LEC with the Maple Ridge Burrards of the Western Lacrosse Association, Dickson has tallied 11 goals and 19 points.

He would love nothing more than to build on those gaudy stats, all the while helping his country go for a fifth consecutive gold medal at the World Indoor Championship.

Dickson said a Mann Cup with the Burrards is also still high on his list of career goals, and he expects them to compete for a WLA championship again next year, and hopefully host the Mann Cup.

“We have a very good chance – we have the majority of our guys coming back.”

Having Dickson and McIntosh, two of the country’s elite scorers, coming back for another season, makes them instant contenders.

“Ben is a fantastic lacrosse player, and makes things a lot easier when you’re on the floor with him,” said Dickson.

He said there are a lot of other talented players as well, like Dan Taylor, Jean-Luc Chetner and others, who have been big parts of the team’s success.

“It’s an exciting time in Maple Ridge – we’ve got a good young team.”

As good as they are, the Burrards were swept by the Peterborough Lakers in four straight at the Mann Cup.

Dickson played with the Lakers and won a Mann Cup there in 2017. His experience is there are more professional players in summer lacrosse in Ontario.

“That entire Peterborough team is NLL calibre, top to bottom,” he said, and pointed out the Laker goaltending duo had faced each other in the NLL championship.

But he said the first game of the WLA playoffs was the first time the Burrards had their A lineup together all season.

With more time together next season, they will be better, he predicts.

The Victoria Shamrocks proved the Ontario champions can be beaten in 2015, he said.

“The Mann Cup is pretty special for anyone who grew up in B.C., who plays summer lacrosse,” he said. “It’s definitely on everyone’s bucket list to win one.”

He could have a lot of hometown sports drama next season.

Dickson’s parents were able to travel to watch their son play for Canada in 2014 in Denver, but they were unable to watch him in 2015 in Syracuse or this past summer in Israel.

“If I am fortunate enough to be chosen for this team, it would be pretty special to have so many family and friends nearby and able to watch with it being just down the road,” he said.

• For more information on the event, please go to www.wilc2019.ca.

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