When cuts were made for team Canada’s U19 squad heading to Turku, Finland, no doubt Dhane Smith was disappointed he didn’t make the cut. However, it may have been a blessing in disguise as the Kitchener/Waterloo star has been able to play with the big boys and show he’s ready to take the next step.
Smith finished his fourth season with the Kitchener/Waterloo Braves of the OLA’s Junior A circuit after being swept out of the post-season by the Peterborough Junior Lakers. Despite his team scoring twenty-two goals in three games, Smith still sits tied for fifth in playoff scoring with fourteen points, or he had a hand in nearly 64% of his team’s playoff goals. This stat should come as no surprise since he was the clear leader during the regular season. Smith locked up the Jr A scoring title with 107 points in nineteen games, three more than Reilly O’Connor, who played an extra game. (O’Connor is one of Canada’s leaders in Finland after two games.)
While most team leaders in points have countless goals and few assists, Smith scored thirty-eight goals on the season (second on the team to Kyle Jackson, seventh overall in the league) but sixty-nine assists (second overall). Smith’s game is clear from the numbers, he’s willing to do whatever it takes to win but when he’s on the floor, he goes about his business. Last season Smith finished ninth in league scoring with eighty-four points, and in 2010 tied for thirteenth with seventy-nine. He has been slowly climbing the ranks, but he’s been solid throughout his career. Smith’s 2012 success should come as no surprise.
It’s been said though, anyone can rip up the Junior leagues, but the real men succeed when they join the upper ranks. After not making team Canada, and with the Braves out of the post-season, Dhane Smith was summoned to the Kitchener/Waterloo Kodiaks of Major Series Lacrosse. In just four games so far, Smith has nine points (three goals, six assists), or an average of two and a quarter points per game. The top players in Major Series average closer to five points a game, but those are team leaders. Consider Smith still sees limited floor time and is stuck behind the likes of Jamie Rooney, Brendan Thenhaus, Jason Mainer, Brandon Ivey, Pat Saunders, Jesse Gamble and Aaron Wilson on the depth chart, the numbers are impressive.
Smith has been slowly climbing the charts in terms of points production. With one year of Junior eligibility left, assume he will use it to play for the Braves again. However, it will be interesting to see if perhaps a CLax team may want to see what he can do before then. Remember, Brian Beisel coaches Smith in the spring, and he is also the coach of the Brampton Inferno. The two know each other well. Depending on his performance there, what numbers he’s able to come up with in his final Junior year, and what he can do if given the chance in MSL next season, Dhane Smith could be a hot commodity come the 2013 NLL Draft.