Alberta Talent on Display at Regional Combine
[Photos: Sergei Belski]
On Saturday, thirty six (36) select athletes from across Alberta competed at the first of four Regional Combines being held by the Canadian Lacrosse League to evaluate players for potential inclusion on the the 2020 IIJL World Junior Lacrosse Championship roster and other preliminary IIJL events.
Each of the four combines commence with a series of drills designed to test athletic speed, strength, agility, and endurance. Results from the athletic testing are shared with players to provide them with a metric of where they rank amongst their peers in their respective combine and collectively across all four combines.
At the completion of the athletic testing players were split into two teams, Team Red and Team White, and competed in a full scrimmage using National Lacrosse League rules and three-man officiating crew. "As a development league it's important for us to focus on all areas of growth including officials." Reinforced Chris Fox Canadian Lacrosse League Founder and Canada General Manager. "Working with Brian Lemon and the NLL to provide additional value to the referees we work is an opportunity to help develop their skills."
With focus on transition and athleticism teams combined for a total of 28 Goals in a back and forth affair. Leading Team Red in scoring was 2019 WJLC returner Callin Harris with 3 Goals and 2 Assists. Providing that athletic spark in transitions was Jacob Power while another 2019 WJLC returner, Bryce Schmermund, provided leadership out the back gate and contributed on the scoreboard with 1 Goal and 1 Assist. Team White had plenty of firepower, led by Eric George with 4 Goals and 1 Assist and Kean Moon with 4 Goals. In transition, listed as a defender, Mason McQuiggin scored 3 Goals and added 1 assist. While Evan Gartner, in his third year attending the combines but yet to join Canada due to impressive Minto Cup runs with the Calgary Mountaineers, provided stability and strength out the back gate. Team White defeated Team Red by a score of 18 - 10.
Another key factor in the Mounties success has been former Head Coach Joe Vetere, who is instrumental in organizing the Alberta Regional Combines for Canada. "Being able to see guys return year after year has really highlighted their development and dedication to the sport, which is a very positive step forward for the game and the province." Said Vetere who will be joining Canada staff on the bench for the 2020 IIJL World Junior Lacrosse Championship. "It was another very successful weekend with Alberta born players showcasing their talent and athleticism. They showed a lot of speed, skill, and determination that should push players in other provinces to elevate their play during their own combines." Vetere added.
This year's Alberta Regional Combine was hosted by the Calgary Roughnecks at Scotiabank Saddledome. "We can't thank Ms. Blades, the Roughnecks, and Saddledome staff enough for their hospitality," said Fox. "Being able to provide our players with the opportunity to compete in a professional atmosphere gives them valuable experience heading into World Juniors where we will be competing in another world-class NHL venue in Winnipeg." Fox added.
Canada is back in action again on Saturday, January 4, 2020 as staff prepare for the British Columbia Regional Combine in Langley, BC at the Langley Events Centre Field House.