In the Ontario Junior A ranks, eight teams will make the post-season. Of those eight teams, two will travel to Whitby to play for the Minto Cup. One will be the Whitby Warriors, who will play host to the 2012 edition of the championship. That clearly hasn’t stopped them from wanting to win it all. Take, for example, their 13-2 record so far this season. Or their 7-1 record at home. Or perhaps the fact that earlier this week they held four of the top ten scoring positions in the league. Or maybe the team’s goal differential approaching +100 (at the time of this article, a +92). If that wasn’t enough, see also one of the biggest Junior A trades in recent memory that went down on Monday morning, acquiring Chris Attwood from St Catharines.
Let’s start at the beginning. Last season Attwood dominated the Junior B ranks for the Six Nations Rebels. Through twenty games Attwood recorded sixty-two goals and seventy-three assists for a league high 135 points. Attwood and the Rebels would go on to win the OLA Jr B league as well as the Founder’s Cup. With Six Nations hosting the 2012 edition of the Founder’s Cup, it was expected (or dreamed) Chris Attwood would stay with the Rebels to defend the title on home soil. However, after conflicting reports, he declared his intention to move to the St Catharines Athletics of the Junior A league.
In the meantime, Attwood was drafted to the Canadian Lacrosse League with the Ohsweken Demons first ever pick, fifth overall. Attwood missed two games down the stretch to injury, and was virtually ineffective in first two back. He still managed seventy-one points on the season (thirty-five goals, both league highs) however. The Demons would clinch a playoff spot and eventually the Creator’s Cup, on home floor.
Summer ball arrives and Attwood finds himself on a team looking for a playoff spot. St Catharines looked to be making a late push by trading for Mike Triolo from Toronto followed by Ryan Daikin and Garrett Daly (Daly would later be dealt to Brampton). At the time of this writing the Athletics held the eight seed, one game ahead of Toronto. Leading the team in points, Attwood sits eighth overall in the league with fifty-six (twenty-eight goals and assists).
And so we arrive at Monday morning. Chris Attwood is dealt to Whitby for a package of draft picks. For St Catharines, it is a confusing move. Obviously Attwood is a talented lacrosse player as he’s shown on every level. Perhaps there is a dressing room issue we won’t know about. Some may even see this as St Catharines waving the white flag on their season and preparing for future years. Whatever the case, Whitby now boasts five of the top ten in offensive scoring. If they weren’t the favourite to win the Minto Cup before, they are now.
This may not go down as the Gretzky trade in terms of epic proportions. But there’s no doubt Chris Attwood improves the Whitby Warriors. How he fits into their system remains to be seen. One thing is for certain: Attwood will be returning to the Minto Cup and looking for his third trophy in twelve months.
NOTE: Initial reports indicated Jordan Houtby was also part of the deal. It now appears he wasn’t. InLacrosseWeTrust apologizes for the error.