On Thursday, February 11, the Western Lacrosse Association held its annual WLA Junior Draft, and Island players were in the spotlight.
A Territorial Selection Round immediately precedes the draft, allowing teams to either protect a local player or draft a player from the remaining unprotected pool of players. This year, three teams chose to protect a local player, and the remaining four teams drafted players.
Of the four teams drafting a player in the Territorial Selection Round, the first team to draft a player was the Langley Thunder, selecting Nanaimo Junior Timbermen Thomas Vaesen. With the next pick, the Burnaby Lakers selected Victoria Junior Shamrock Austin Madronic, who was then immediately traded to the Nanaimo Timbermen. The Nanaimo Timbermen then selected Nanaimo Junior Timbermen Will Johansen.
In the first round following the Territorial Round of selections, the Nanaimo Timbermen selected Nanaimo Junior Timbermen Colton Lidstone, and then Victoria Junior Timbermen Caleb Keuber with their next pick.
Nanaimo went on to select Teioshontathe McComber, Zach Sawyer (Nanaimo Junior Timbermen), Matt DeGirolamo, Spencer Erwin, Jake Pelletier, and Cordell Primus.
Five of the top twelve players selected played their Junior lacrosse in either Victoria or Nanaimo, and nine more Island players were drafted. Nanaimo was able to hang on to three of four graduating Juniors, and six of Nanaimo’s nine selections were Island players.