By Cheryl Brown
The BCJALL Graduating Midget Draft is today. All players who do not have a Junior A lacrosse team in their catchment area and live in the lower mainland or on Vancouver Island are eligible for the draft. If a player is fortunate enough to live in an area that is home to a Junior A team then they are automatically protected by that Club.
Players like Chase Wright of Surrey and Colton Lidstone of Shawnigan Lake will know after today who owns their rights if they are drafted. Today only 48 players will be drafted but 236 are eligible. If a player is not drafted, then they are considered free agents, and are then free to be approached and signed by any of the teams in the league. There is a hiccup though. If you are drafted by a Jr. A Team you are expected (unwritten rule) to play for the Intermediate A team affiliated with that Club. From what I understand GM’s of Intermediate A teams do not want players to play for them if they do not have their rights or have them signed for the Junior A team. Their reasoning makes sense. Why would you want to develop a player for a couple of years knowing that the will eventually be playing for a competing organization.
For this reason you will find parents actually changing their residence in order tohave their son protected by their first choice club. Some moves are not always forthright and so the League has the daunting task of having to investigate all of the submitted change of addresses to ensure that they are legitimate.
The Draft opens with Langley choosing Connor Evers of Ridge Meadows. Evers has played for Team B.C. for both Box and Field lacrosse and was recently named to Team Germany for the World Under 19 Championships this upcoming summer. Evers was an obvious first over all pick. Connor told me that he was feeling nervous and had butterflies going into the draft. Evers was one of the lucky ones. He was hoping to be drafted by Langley so being the over all number one draft pick to the team of his choice was the perfect scenario for the 16 year old. His response when I asked him how he felt about being coached by coach Sean Springett (fondly referred to as Springer) “I am extremely excited and looking forward to it”. “With my previous relations (Springett was the Midget A Team B.C. Assistant Coach) I feel as though we bonded well and he’s an amazing coach and an even better person”.
Langley Thunder Jr. A Coach Shaun Springett with Connor Evers and Asset GM Kevin Hill
Sixth over all pick Will Clayton will be playing for Port Coquitlam in Junior A. Will Clay as he is referred to is currently attending Culver Prep School in Culver Indiana and is committed to Loyola University for Field Lacrosse and will be a huge asset to the Coquitlam Team.
Colton Lidstone (Team BC Midget Box and Team BC U-18 Field Lacrosse) from Shawnigan Lake but who plays for Cowichan is watching the BCJALL Twitter feed with his friend Brayden Brown (Team BC Midget Box and Team BC U-18 Field Lacrosse) who because of living in Langford is protected by the Shamrocks Organization. This is a nerve-wracking process for the boys. They know where they want to play and it doesn’t always work out this way. Colton who has always dreamed of playing in the Shamrocks Organization is the very first pick by Nanaimo. I didn’t want to put this young man on the spot because I knew he was disappointed. It is flattering I am sure when you are the first overall pick for a team but disheartening when you are not drafted by your team of choice.
He will have a year or two to decide if he will report and play but the big decision is if he will play Intermediate this year for Nanaimo. When I asked Tyson Leies why Colton was Nanaimo’s number one pick he said “ Colton Lidstone is fast, hardworking transition player who played for the Cowichan Valley Midget A Thunder and was highly touted by many BCJALL teams and was highly praised by his midget coach”. “The Timbermen hope that in a year or two’s time; Colton can continue developing his skill levels and his size and maturity will make him a great 2-way player for us for the future. We are really excited to have selected Colton and our other draft selections in the 2016 Jar. A Entry Draft”.
I asked BCJALL Commissioner Karl Christiansen if in his opinion GM’s try not to draft players from outside of their area i.e. Mainland GM’s drafting Island players in fear that they will not report as it is too hard for them to attend practices. Christiansen responded by saying “I believe the GM’s have a tendency to avoid too much the drafting of players from the mainland to the island and vice versa”. “However it has happened in the past where teams have done so”. “This year it happened when Port Coquitlam drafted Brayden Zunti in the 5th round”. “They must have done some homework on this player and Bob Bell the Head Coach was at one time a Team BC coach so he knows many of these kid’s.
Colton Lidstone- First Pick by Nanaimo Jr. A
Chase Wright who this past summer played with Team BC Midget for Box Lacrosse (from Delta/Surrey) has chosen to attend todays draft in person rather than watch via social media as the league chose not to stream the draft live this year. Chase is picked up by Port Coquitlam and was 21st overall. He was able to experience the full effect of the draft by going up when his name was called to shake the hand of GM Ken Woolard and put on a PoCo jersey for an official photograph. Wright was hoping to be drafted by Langley like his Team B.C. teammate Connor Evers but said that it was a good opportunity to play anywhere but he knows that PoCo is a good solid team.
Chase Wright with Port Coquitlam Saints Jr. A GM Ken Woolard
Dawson Gordon (who admits he was a little nervous) is a Saanich player who attends Claremont Senior Secondary for the Claremont Lacrosse Academy was watching the twitter feed from home with his dad and his friend Josh Pickford (36th overall and final Victoria pick). Dawson was hoping to be drafted by the Shamrocks and has always had being a Shamrock in the back of his mind since he started playing lacrosse at the age of 5. He was ecstatic when he read the BCJALL tweet announcing that he was the 13th overall pick and the #1 pick for the Jr. A Victoria Shamrocks. Jr. A Shamrocks GM Tim Dennett is thrilled with his number one draft pick. “Dawson will have a lot to offer to the Shamrocks”. “He is a player that works hard all the time and has a very high lacrosse IQ which is very valuable”.
First Victoria Shamrocks Jr. A pick Dawson Gordon
With the draft over the teams will start preparing for tryouts and the new seasonsome as early as next week.Congratulations to all of the 2016 BCJALL Draft Picks. For a full list of the picks please refer to the BCJALL website http://www.bcjall.com/event/2016-bcjall-entry-draft