There’s been an off-season trade in the Western Lacrosse Association. The Coquitlam Adanacs have acquired Jaeden Gastaldo from the Maple Ridge Burrards in exchange for Travis Irving and a fourth-round pick in the 2015 WLA draft, according to the WLA’s web site. Gastaldo was a second-round pick by the Burrards in the 2013 draft and posted five points in 17 games with Maple Ridge as a rookie. The transition player also had a strong freshman season with the Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League. Irving was selected by Coquitlam in the second round of the 2012 draft and has played a total of 25 games for the Adanacs in two seasons. Coquitlam finished fourth in the league in 2013 before falling to Langley in the opening round of the playoffs. Maple Ridge had a tremendous start to the season before faltering down the stretch to miss out on the post-season.
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Larry Henry is in the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame as a member of the 1968-1972 New Westminster Salmonbellies team that was inducted on 2004. On Nov. 9, he gets a solo plaque. The diminutive but high-powered forward won 4 Mann Cups and 1 Minto Cup with New Westminster and finished his 11-year senior career with 607 points (313-294). He didn’t start playing until age 14, but a brother who took an interest in the game was his influence. “I was fast,” he said with a laugh to the Delta-Optimist. “And when I wasn’t using my speed I used the other tricks in the trade to get myself open or to the net.” If the name sounds familiar, it’s for a good reason. His 2 nephews — Gord Henry Jr. and Steve — were standout players for the Delta Islanders and Gord’s son, Mike Henry, is current captain of the Islanders. Larry Henry joins a class of 11 people and 1 team for the Class of 2013, which will be inducted next month at a ceremony in Burnaby.
The Maple Ridge Burrards are hoping Chris Gill’s success as a player will translate into success as a coach. The Burrards have brought in Gill as their new head coach, taking over from Darren Fridge, who retains the general manager half of his role with the team. Gill told the Maple Ridge News that he likes the look of his team. “They’ve had a good team the last few years, they have drafted well. The pieces are in place, player-wise,” he told the paper. He’s hoping those pieces can gel to help the team improve on its up and down season from 2013, which saw the club open with a 4-1 streak then suffer through a 4-9 run to close the season on the outside of the playoffs looking in. Gill said he’s excited about taking over a team on the rise. “A hundred per cent – you don’t want to go to a team that is on its last legs. You want a team that’s young and eager and wants to win. If you want to coach in this league, this is where you want to be. I’m excited to be part of the team, and we’re looking at taking a run at the Mann Cup this year, and for the next 10 years.”
The Maple Ridge Burrards are pleased to announce that Chris Gill has been appointed as the new coach for the 2014 season. As a player in the Western Lacrosse Association, Gill accumulated 482 goals and 351 assists in 282 games over 13 seasons. Gill’s teams made the playoffs nine times and he was a Mann Cup Finalist on two occasions. Chris also had a decorated NLL career with stops in Baltimore, Toronto, Vancouver, Colorado, Edmonton and Calgary. Along the way, Chris raised the Champion’s Cup three times and he recorded 557 points in 173 career NLL games, retiring from the NLL in 2010. “Chris’ craftiness around the crease will now transfer in his role as head coach. He interviewed very well and has some very creative plans to address some of our challenges from last season,” said Daren Fridge, Burrards General Manager. “We were looking for a dynamic leader with valuable experience at the highest level of lacrosse and Chris is exactly what we are seeking.”
Chris Wardle showed this summer that he’s got some pretty nice touch around the net. He popped in 46 goals with the Victoria Shamrocks, good for third in the BC Jr A league. He also added 44 assists for a 90-point total. Those numbers led to him being selected by the Vancouver Stealth in the National Lacrosse League draft. As with all of the young players trying to crack NLL lineups in this age of nine deeply talented teams, he’ll be hard pressed to actually make the Stealth’s roster. But he’s excited about having been drafted and looking forward to the opportunity to go to training camp. And he’s not lacking for confidence. “The jump to the NLL is going to be a big adjustment and it’s going to take some time,” Wardle told the Langley Advance. “However, I feel that I am ready.” It may help that he’s had at least a taste of top-level competition. The forward got into a Western Lacrosse Association playoff game, suiting up for the senior Shamrocks in the WLA finals against the Langley Thunder. “Playing in the WLA playoffs was a great experience,” Wardle said. “It gave me a bit of experience playing with bigger guys and at a faster pace game, which I believe will help me with the adjustment to the NLL.”
It started in 2007 for Ilija and 2010 for Alex. But for these 2 Gajic brothers, their time with the New Westminster Salmonbellies ended this week with Thursday’s announcement that the ‘Bellies traded the brothers to the Burnaby Lakers. The ‘Bellies get Colton Clark and a second-round pick in next year’s Western Lacrosse Association draft, but they’re also getting the stomachache that comes with balancing what’s best for the team and what’s best for the players who have done so much for that team. “The guys in the room had ample chance the past three or four years,” New West GM Dan Richardson told The Province. “They didn’t get it done. We needed to change the make-up in the room. It was a very, very hard decision to make. We just have to change the ways we are doing things. It’s nothing against Ilija or Alex. They’re great players, great people, they come from a great family. This is business.” READ MORE »
It’s the end of an era for the New Westminster Salmonbellies. The Bellies have traded away Ilija and Alex Gajic, marking a major break with the roster that had helped them to three straight Western Lacrosse Association titles from 2008-2010. The Bellies, though, have missed the playoffs the last two years and obviously felt it was time for some change. The Gajics, along with New West’s third-round pick, 16th overall, in the 2014 WLA Draft, are headed to the Burnaby Lakers. In return, the Lakers send New Westminster righty forward Colton Clark and their second-round pick, 12th overall, in the 2014 draft.
Clark, 24, was fourth on the Lakers in scoring in 2013 with 13 goals and 24 assists for 37 points in 17 games. Over three WLA seasons, his numbers are 49/82/131 in 47 games. READ MORE »
Expectations were high for the Maple Ridge Burrards in 2013. They did not meet those expectations and it cost coach Daren Fridge his job. “I understand the decision,” Fridge told The Maple Ridge News. “We didn’t get the results we wanted.” After a 4-13-1 season in 2012, the Burrards were excited about their young offense in 2013 and they had every right to be. The Burrards scored 184 goals, second-most in the Western Lacrosse Association. A 5-2 start hyped the excitement, but the team was 3-8 down the stretch and the 189 goals-allowed were second-most in the loop. In that 11-game slide to end the season, Maple Ridge lost 4 goals by 1 goal and they finished the season with an 8-10 record and out of the playoffs for a second straight summer. Fridge will stay with the team as general manager and help with the search for a new coach.
It’s been said before that a picture is worth 1,000 words. With that in mind, we’ve got a few pictures lined up here from the 2013 Mann Cup, courtesy of photographer Kevin Light. This year’s tournament in Victoria, B.C., featured all you would expect from a pair of league champs: great lacrosse, heightened emotion and vocal fan support. But in the end, there can be only 1 champ and this year, it was the Six Nations Chiefs. The Cup is back at Six Nations for the first time since 1996 and until someone can bring the Chiefs down, there’s no disputing that they are kings of the lacrosse world. READ MORE »
IL Indoor had a pair of writers at the 2013 Mann Cup in Teddy Jenner and myself. We put our heads together and have produced the Mann Cup All-Star team. The team consists of three forwards, two defenders and a goalie, as all-star teams are wont to do. Given the low scores of the early games and the outstanding play of both defences, though, when we first discussed our early candidates for the team, there were actually three defence/transition players and just two forwards. But as you’ll see, another forward basically forced his way onto the team with a series-altering performance at the games progressed. So make the jump to see exactly who made the team and why. READ MORE »