Third Regional Combine in Saskatchewan
SASKATOON, SK - For the third straight weekend forty (40) junior-aged players participated in a Regional Combine as Canada prepares for the 2019 World Junior Lacrosse Championship in Hamilton, ON.
The Saskatchewan Regional Combine was a homecoming of sorts as it took place at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon. The same building that hosted the 2018 World Juniors where Canada won Gold only five (5) months earlier. "It was great to be back in the building and see so many smiling and familiar faces." General Manager Chris Fox said of he and Canada's return to SaskTel Centre. "Scott Ford (SaskTel Centre General Manager) and Brandon Urban (Saskatchewan Rush) are so accommodating, they make us feel very welcomed every time we are in town." Fox added.
The Saskatchewan Regional Combine was the first on the 2019 circuit to include out-of-Province players. Players from Manitoba and Nova Scotia made the trip to Saskatoon for the opportunity to showcase their skill and build relationships with the Canada staff. "The commitment we are seeing from players speaks volumes to their dedication and passion to compete internationally at the World Juniors." 2018 Canada Assistant Coach Jon Paul boosts about out of province players.
With more players participating in the selection process Canada staff reiterated that the Canada program fully supports players and their junior teams in their pursuits to win a Founders or Minto Cup. "While we need to go through our process and build relationships with players, we communicate to them that their first priority is with their junior team." Chris Fox emphasized. "If a player's team does not make the playoffs or is eliminated in the earlier rounds, if selected, the player able to join us for a training camp prior to the World Juniors and will have an opportunity to compete internationally and play high-caliber lacrosse into August." He added "In no way does competing with Canada at the World Juniors interfere with playing Junior."
With Australia, Canada, Iroquois, and the United States confirmed for the 2019 World Junior Lacrosse Championship, the IIJL is working with Germany, Israel, Japan, and Poland, to narrow down the fifth and sixth Nations that will be competing in Hamilton along side the other four Nations. "It's important that we work collectively with developing countries to make sure that they are in good financial standing, have secured qualified staff, and that their players have a proper understanding of the box game before committing to the Championship." Chris Fox explained as he also serves as Chair of the IIJL World Junior Lacrosse Championship.
The forth and final Regional Combine, taking place in Ontario on January 26th. At the completion of the combine Canada staff will provide evaluations for all one hundred and sixty athletes that participated at the combines across the country.