No other MSL team could call a press conference and have half the town show up but the Peterborough Lakers. OK, the attendance wasn’t quite that high, but it was standing room only in the Memorial Centre’s Alumni Room on Wednesday night as the city’s lacrosse team introduced its new major sponsor and new board members. The presser was limited to media and Lakers staff only.
Last fall, five of the six Lakers board members resigned, including the club’s major sponsor, leaving only president Ted Higgins running the club.
Higgins has spent the winter wheeling and dealing with local lacrosse legends and now has a solid team in place to lead the Lakers to their next Mann Cup.
The biggest name to join the board is John Grant Sr., one of the great pioneers of the game and father of current Laker and NLL superstars John Grant Jr. Grant played lacrosse in Peterborough as a child and adult, and has spent time coaching junior teams in the area in his retirement. He won a Minto Cup and three Mann Cups, and is a member of both the Ontario and Canadian Lacrosse Halls of Fame.
“I’ve been involved with the minor lacrosse system here, and it’s kind of a natural fit, coming back with the seniors,” Grant said. “Our main goal is to win a Mann Cup, but also to get the players more active in the community this year.”
Former Outboard Marine employee and Ashburnham Contracting manager Bill Joiner was named the Chairman of the Board. The other new board members include Mark Vitarelli, Len Powers, Brian Cowie, and Ed Arnold. Vitarelli won four Minto Cups in Peterborough, and Powers won a Minto and two Mann Cups. Cowie has a Mann Cup under his belt and is currently seeking the federal Liberal nomination for Peterborough. Ed Arnold served as The Peterborough Examiner’s editor for a long time.
Bob Allan and Pat Baker will serve as advisors to the board. Both have banners in the rafters of the Memorial Centre for their contributions to Peterborough lacrosse.
The final board spot will be taken by Carl Oake of Century 21 United Realty, the club’s new major sponsor. Oake is best known in Peterborough for his annual swim-a-thon for local charities, this year benefitting Easter Seals.
While Wednesday was supposed to be a positive day for the Lakers, the team was once again mired in uncertainty early in the day as The Examiner reported from an anonymous source that head coach and GM Joe Sullivan has been let go. Neither Higgins nor Sullivan gave credence to the rumour, but recently retired Tracey Kelusky confirmed that Higgins has asked Kelusky would be interested in coaching the Lakers. Kelusky is currently an assistant coach for the Jr. A Lakers.