With the National Lacrosse League’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) roster space in the NLL went from twenty three players down to twenty and it has forced teams to make some tough releases this season. Several big name veteran players were let go which had many Canadian Lacrosse League clubs waiting to pounce; and they did on December 28 at the CLax Entry Draft.
Niagara snatched Mike Hominuck in round two, Durham capitalized by scooping up veteran and proven leader Gavin Prout in the fifth round (18th overall) while Barrie took a chance in the eighth round by selecting solidified sniper Scott Evans. Rumour has it that Prout will sign with Durham but Evans has yet to decide what his future with winter lacrosse will be as of yet.
Prout playing for Durham makes a lot of sense. His hometown is Whitby which is just a short skip away from Durham’s home arena (GM Centre) and in the summer he plays for the Brooklin Redmen of the Major Series Lacrosse league which is basically Whitby, shortening the travel time once again. Travelling takes its toll on anyone and playing in your hometown year round is most player’s dream, making it all the more likely that we’ll see Prout in a TurfDogs uniform this winter.
Adding Prout to the roster could be the missing piece of the puzzle and it might just be enough to get the TurfDogs the Creator’s Cup which they came so close to hoisting last year, losing in the semi final to the eventual runner up Toronto Shooting Stars. Prout will bring tons of experience to the TurfDogs which is something the young squad lacked last season.
The Barrie Blizzard also tried to add some leadership and experience. Along with Evans, the Blizzard selected another big name lacrosse veteran in former TurfDogs Coach/GM Jonas Derks who they grabbed in the seventh round (27th overall).
It’s unclear if these big name players will play in the CLax this season but if they do it will be a major boost to a league that has been struggling. CLax already has some great players and with big names like Evans and Prout the league just might get the attention it needs and deserves.
After two mediocre seasons the Canadian Lacrosse League is due for a breakout year and all the pieces are in place to make that happen. The new league owners seem eager to grow the league and they seem to have the resources to make the 2014 season a success.
CLax boast some of the best athletes in Ontario and the ‘classic’ style of play seems to be a hit with lacrosse fans. There are no offensive or defensive specialists; it’s old school lacrosse where everyone plays both ends of the floor which makes for fast paced on the edge of your seat action.
The lack of roster space in the NLL this season is perfect timing for CLax as it could be a breakout year for them. There’s enough big names in the league now that they should gain some respect from some of the doubters but only time will tell if CLax can survive long term.
Scott Arnold is the Toronto Rock Beat Writer for In Lacrosse We Trust and the Director of Broadcasting for the Lacrosse Radio Network. He is also the play by play voice for the Canadian Lacrosse League (CLax), Major Series Lacrosse (MSL) and the Peterborough Jr. ‘A’ Lakers. You can follow him on Twitter @ScottArnold12.