The Coquitlam Junior Adanacs are hoping for some sort of clarity about the BC Junior Lacrosse League season by later this week.
Lacrosse Canada’s board of directors is expected to make a decision about the sport’s national championships, including the Minto and Mann cups, on May 5. The nature of that decision, as well as the state of COVID-19 public health orders in the province, will have a direct bearing on what kind of summer the team’s players will have, said Adanacs’ general manager Scott Wortley. “If there’s no national championship, what do you try to accomplish?”
While the BCJALL waits for direction from Lacrosse Canada and public health authorities, Wortley speculates the league could give its players at least a taste of competition by implementing a pod model similar to the BC Hockey League, where small regional groups of teams play each other at a central location. Wednesday the BCHL announced its five-week season will end May 11 with no playoffs or champion declared.
BCHL executive director Steven Cocker said the point of the foreshortened campaign was to give players a chance to continue their development and showcase their skills in game situations after months of being limited to socially-distanced practices.
“We are thrilled that we were able to reward our players for all the hard work they put in during what was a difficult and challenging season,” Cocker said in a press release.
Wortley said the BCJALL may take a similar approach, if the Minto Cup national championship is called off.
“That’s the biggest priority for us, to get the players playing,” he said. “Some of these guys are missing some of their prime years of development.”
While the Adanacs would normally be entering the second week of the regular season, the team is still holding workouts at the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex in two separate groups to keep numbers well below the facility’s capacity limitation of 50 set by public health orders. Wortley said those groups could be further divided as more players return from post-secondary schools they’re attending in the United States. He added the disarray of last year’s lost season and the uncertainty whether there will be games this season has thrown asunder the progression of many of the league’s young players. Some are even beginning to doubt their commitment.
“Some guys have jobs and it’s tough to tell them to focus on playing when we can’t even tell them what they’re committing to,” Wortley said, adding, “99% of conversations I’m having with players is, ‘are we playing?‘”
Wortley said even if the league is able to cobble together a makeshift season or competitive tournament play, don’t expect a normal Adanacs team that is able to roll through the regular schedule and compete for a championship. An all-new coaching staff led by Kyle Sorensen that was named in Dec., 2019, after former head coach Pat Coyle stepped up to the senior Adanacs in the Western Lacrosse Association, has yet to get behind the bench for a single game. And the lack of playing action last year for the players means many haven’t cemented their positions and would essentially be trying out to earn their roles all over again.
“Now it’s kind of an open door for everybody,” Wortley said. “Everyone is itching to get going.”