OTCB: Vancouver Stealth GM Doug Locker can’t wait for Saturday night; plus Beers, Benesch and Tuts stop by on the radio show

Vancouver GM Doug Locker is excited for a new era in Stealth lacrosse. (Photo: Cory Shannon)
Vancouver GM Doug Locker is excited for a new era in Stealth lacrosse. (Photo: Cory Shannon)

When the Vancouver Stealth take to the Langley Events Centre floor Saturday night against the Minnesota Swarm things will look quite different on many levels but for GM Doug Locker, he welcomes the change with open arms. Having been with the club since its days in San Jose, Locker has watched an organization gain momentum, falter then rise again like the Phoenix; this time though, he, as well as many in the lacrosse world, hope the Stealth never have to change area codes again.

There is plenty of speculation, both positive and negative surrounding the return of the NLL to British Columbia and while there may still be a few skeptics out there, these are the best players in the world and fans will get to see them up close and personal in their own backyard. Vancouver lacrosse fans can be fickle and tend to be very outspoken about what they like and don’t like. Well if the last three NLL games to be played at the LEC are any indication, then the Stealth should have a very vocal fan base.

Locker, like many GMs in the league this year has had some tough decisions to make leading up to the season with shrunken roster sizes and a new salary cap in place but like moving from San Jose to Everett and then to Langley, he’s faced the challenges head-on and is as excited as all of the players for the home opener.

One-on-one with Vancouver Stealth GM and all-around good guy, Doug Locker, this week on the OTCB Podcast.

Talk to any of the players on the Stealth roster and they will comment on how the Stealth have been a first-class and well-run organization since Denise Watkins took over despite their shortcomings in attendance and relocations. Locker echoes those sentiments when talking about the team’s very loyal owner who fell in love with the game when the Stealth were playing out of the HP Pavilion in downtown San Jose. That dedication has had a trickle down effect throughout the entire organization and now working with the LEC, this franchise is in a fantastic position to actually set up some solid roots.

While the goal, as it is every year for every NLL team is win the Champion’s Cup, Locker and the Stealth want to make sure they get off on the right foot at home and ensure every one has a memorable experience. First up, a ‘fan-expo’ prior to Saturday night’s game in the Stealth’s new practise facility out back of the LEC in the Field-house.

“Fans will be able to come out and meet some of the players, check out all of our facilities and participate in some fun games and events leading up to the start of the game,” comments Locker who knows the importance of connecting with the fans on a more personable level.

The Stealth will also be working with the BC Lacrosse Association in recognizing many of the game’s great who have come from the area to make a name for themselves in the sport, starting with New Westminster Salmonbellies legend Wayne Goss. “Working along side the BCLA has been a refreshing one as they want the same results as we do; to continue growing the game and having as many of our guys giving back to the local associations,” says Locker, who notes that they are in the process of getting all of their players certified as coaches.

Things will look a little different Saturday night at the LEC as the Stealth have unveiled a brand new turf, will have new jerseys, a few new members on the team and for Locker, fingers crossed, a jam packed building.

Never one to hold back his thoughts about players, teams, the league and the trials and tribulations of running an NLL team, Doug Locker opens up on this week’s edition of the Off the Crossebar Podcast.

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Also this week on the Off the Crossebar Radio show we go a little more in-depth into the Stealth’s season opener with defender Matt Beers who, like many guys on the team is excited to be playing at home in front of family and friends. Just don’t ask for tickets as the request line is full. Ryan Benesch of the Buffalo Bandits stops by as well to talk about his first game with his new team and what it’s like to play alongside John Tavares, who he grew up watching. And of course Paul Tutka joins the show to talk Mammoth goalies, the Lovell era in TO and the debuts of some of the NLL’s top rooks. Check out this weeks OTCB Radio show over on NLL Radio.

Teddy Jenner is one the leading sources for lacrosse information. He comes by his love of lax honestly with a lifetime of experience, two Mann Cup championships and six years of play in the NLL. Email him at ted.jenner@ilindoor.com, follow him on Twitter @OffTheCrosseBar or catch him on Team 1410 radio in Vancouver, B.C., as the host and producer of the Off the Crosse-Bar Radio Show In 2012, he was awarded the BCLA's Norm Wright Merit Award- handed out to a member of the media deemed to have have contributed to the promotion of lacrosse.

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