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Lacrosse is back: Port Coquitlam Saints champing at the bit for start of junior season

The Port Coquitlam Saints finally get to play in the new spectator arena at the city's new community centre
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The PoCo Saints are back on the floor, and in a new facility, as the BC Junior A Lacrosse League team prepares to play competitive games for the first time in three years following the two-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

PoCo Saints general manager Josh Wahl rates the anticipation level around his team at “11 out of 10.”

Not only are the players excited to be playing competitive lacrosse again, a lot of them are new, and the Saints will be playing in the bright environs of the Port Coquitlam Community Centre.

The team also has a new coach.

National Lacrosse League veteran Travis Cornwall takes his place behind the Saints bench, alongside his brother, Jeff, who plays for the NLL’s Saskatchewan Rush.

Their own youth and playing experience will be instrumental in getting the best out of a young group of players enriched by a productive draft, in which the Saints had seven picks over the first two rounds.

“We’re going to be learning as we go,” Wahl said.

Providing a steadying presence will be veteran goalie Ryder Bremner, a second-round pick out of Surrey in the 2019 draft.

Other core players include Hunter Myers, who’s expected to drive the offence, and Kenyon Nyman, a fourth-year veteran currently playing Junior A hockey in Ontario.

Jacob Pahnke, the Saints’ top pick in the 2019 entry draft, will be a leader on defence.

Braden Laity, the second overall selection in the 2020 draft, will also get his first serious taste of meaningful junior lacrosse.

Wahl said the Saints’ youth and athleticism position the team well to take advantage of new rules being implemented this season to speed up the game and heighten excitement. They include:

  • an eight-second time limit on ball possession in the defensive zone
  • new face-off procedures and more space between restraining lines on the floor
  • sudden death overtime in the regular season

“There’s a good buzz,” Wahl said.

Of course, some of that may be coming from the bright lights in the new spectator rink at the PoCo Community Centre. In fact, Wahl said, the facility is so well lit, the team had to ask the city to turn it down a bit.

The improved lighting, enhanced seating and other amenities at the $132-million facility will improve the spectator experience. The players will also benefit, as Wahl said the Saints are in the process of building out a feature dressing room with private lockers and team branding.

“Everybody is just excited to see the team play,” Wahl said. “They’ve been missing lacrosse for so long.”

PoCo Saints 2022 home schedule:

  • May 13, 8 p.m. vs. Burnaby Lakers
  • May 20, 8 p.m. vs. Langley Thunder
  • May 27, 8 p.m. vs. Delta Islanders
  • June 3, 8 p.m. vs. New West Jr. Salmonbellies
  • June 5, 4 p.m. vs. Victoria Shamrocks
  • Jun 24, 8 p.m. vs. Coquitlam Jr.Adanacs
  • July 3, 4 p.m. vs. Nanaimo Timbermen

More on the return of lacrosse this summer