Two former Coquitlam Jr. Adanacs were chosen in the first round of the National Lacrosse League 2016 draft Monday night.
With their second overall selection the Toronto Rock took Challen Rogers, while Mike Messenger was chosen one pick later by the Saskatchewan Rush. Both players currently ply their trade in the NCAA and were in the Coquitlam Jr. A ranks during the 2011-’15 seasons.
“Today my dream came true,” Rogers said in a tweet shortly after his selection. “Thanks to coaches, family and friends. Can’t wait to join the @TorontoRockLax.”
Being chosen second overall caps a busy year for the 22-year-old Rogers, who has been playing with Stony Brook University in New York, where he has amassed 22 goals and 37 assists in his senior year. He was a first team All-America East selection in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
But Coquitlam lacrosse fans probably remember him better as a strong two-way player who scored two goals and one assist during the Minto Cup finals in 2014. Over the course of his BCJALL regular season career the 6’4”, 205-lb. runner averaged 1.43 points per game, with 31 goals and 55 assists. He was also named the rookie of the year in 2012.
“I’m expecting big things out of him right away,” said Toronto Rock owner Jamie Dawick. “He is a big, strong, athletic kid. I think the NLL game is even better suited for him than the summer game. Of course there will be a little adjustment with the speed of the game, but he’ll be able to step in and contribute right away.”
Meanwhile, Saskatchewan Rush coach Derek Keenan said he expects Messenger to have a similar impact on his roster when the 2017 season gets underway.
The current New Wesminster Salmonbelly played his junior in Coquitlam, helping the club earn spots in the Minto Cup in 2014 and 2015.
These days the 6’2”, 220 lb. right-handed shooter has been calling Gaffney, South Carolina, home, where he plays with Limestone College in the NCAA.
“We’re really thrilled to get Mike Messenger on board,” said Keenan in a press release. “He’s a big, physical defender who fits our style. He’s athletic, he’s got some skill to move the ball up the floor and is capable of taking faceoffs as well. We think he can come in and play right away.”
Five other players with ties to Tri-City lacrosse were also picked up in the NLL draft on Monday night.
James Rahe, a Robert Morris University player that was with the Jr. A’s during their 2014 Minto Cup run was selected by Vancouver in the second round with the team’s 11th pick overall.
Matt Symes, who has split his BCJALL time between the A’s and the Port Coquitlam Saints before heading to the Maple Ridge Burrards earlier this year, was also selected in the second round by the Calgary Roughnecks. The 5’11”, 175-lb. shooter is originally from Coquitlam and has been playing with Whittier College’s field team for the last few seasons.
Jr. Adanac Jordan Magnuson, fresh off the team’s Minto Cup win last month, was selected in the third round 23rd overall. He posted one goal and an assist in the 2016 Minto finals and has 64 regular season games under his belt where he amassed 58 points.
Keegan Rittinger, who played with Coquitlam in the BCJALL during the 2014, 2015 and 2016 seasons, was chosen in the third by the Calgary Roughnecks with the team’s 27th overall pick, while Taylor Stuart was picked up by Colorado in the fourth round.
Stuart has also played most of his junior career with the Adanacs and was with the team during its 2014 Minto Cup run before heading to Nanaimo earlier this year.
The Heritage Woods Kodiak alum currently plays with Ballarmine University in the NCAA.