Regional Combines Wrap in Saskatchewan
The fourth and final Regional Combine took place in Saskatoon on Saturday, January 18, 2020 at SaskTel Centre, home of the National Lacrosse League's (NLL) Saskatchewan Rush. Players from Saskatchewan, Alberta, and a large contingent from Manitoba all took part in athletic testing and a full game to showcase their athleticism, skill, and lacrosse IQ in front of Canada staff.
"Over the last three years Saskatchewan has consistently been at the top, or close to the top, as our most competitive Regional Combine," said Chris Fox Canada General Manager. "The inclusion of the Manitoba players added a layer of competition that put the combine over the edge. As a staff we were very impressed with everyone who participated." Fox added. Team Red defeated Team White handedly by a final score of 14-5.
Two players from Manitoba led Team Red in scoring, Cayden Onagi with 3 Goals, 5 Assists and Troy Gutowski with 3 Goals, 3 Assists. Additional heavy contributions on offence came from Jeremy Wudrick (Saskatchewan) with 2 Goals, 2 Assists and Zach Basisty (Alberta) with 2 Goals. The Saskatchewan goaltending duo of Rance Mayer and Shane Friesen combined for 31 Saves for Team Read. Team White was led by multi-point scoring players Easton Ong (Saskatchewan) with 1 Goal, 2 Assists and Ethan Berezowski (Manitoba) with 1 Goal, 2 Assists. Defensively, Liam Nolin (Saskatchewan) was a leader on the back-end for Team Read and contributed in transition with quality ball movement.
Players in Saskatchewan continue to show display an excellent foundation of lacrosse IQ. "Randy Trobak, Jon Paul, and the SWAT organization have built box lacrosse in Saskatoon and Saskatchewan over the last decade right." Fox said of Randy Trobak and the SWAT's development of grassroots lacrosse in the province. "The arrival and success of the Rush has been a perfect storm. We're thankful to work with Brandon [Urban] with the Rush, Scott [Ford] at SaskTel Centre, and Randy to provide players from the prairies an opportunity to represent their country." Said Fox of the Canadian Lacrosse League relationships with local partners.
With the Regional Combines complete Canada staff will now provide each and every players that participated with an individual evaluation, including results of their athletic testing and where they rank amongst their piers. As the junior season approaches Canada staff will enter their Summer Evaluation Period allowing players to focus on their regular season schedule in an effort to win a Founders or Minto Cup. If and when players are no longer in playoff contention or eliminated from playoffs, Canada staff will then approach players to join Canada to compete at the 2020 IIJL World Junior Lacrosse Championship in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Before the Summer Evaluation Period, Canada will travel to Melbourne, Australia to compete in the 2020 IIJL Commonwealth Cup in preparation for the World Juniors, supporting partners Australian Box Lacrosse, and growing the game of box lacrosse internationally.