Today is part two of our mid-season Major Series Lacrosse review, featuring the Brampton Excelsiors, Brooklin Lacrosse Club, and Oakville Rock. Click here to part one.
Brooklin Lacrosse Club
Brooklin lost a lot this year, starting with the Redmen name, which was long overdue. While the name is historic to the club, it is widely considered offensive to Indigenous people, and since lacrosse was a gift from the Indigenous people’s Creator, the moniker was no longer in vogue (to put it mildly). The change occurred days after McGill University dropped the Redmen name from their athletic system.
But the newly named Brooklin Lacrosse Club (whose new logo is aces) lost a lot more in terms of players: Mark Matthews, Shayne Jackson, Ryan Keenan, Adrian Sorichetti, Graeme Hossack, Austin Shanks and head coach Derek Keenan. Whitby minor product Dan Lintner requested a trade away from his hometown team.
Suddenly Brooklin is being led by youngsters like Connor Kearnan, Austin Murphy and Jake Fox. They all have a great future, but at the moment are unable to keep up with other team’s veterans.
“I’m excited about all of our young guys. They each bring something a little different to our organization, characteristics and skills we identified as a group in the winter prior to the draft and any trades that we made. The one thing they have in common is that they bring youth and enthusiasm for us to build something sustainable,” said general manager and head coach Brad MacArthur.
It has to be difficult for the team to stay positive with an 0-7 record, but MacArthur says realism plays a part. Without using the term rebuilding, the team is looking for a new identity led by a core of players that, given a few years, will be a powerhouse once again.
“We believe in these young guys, and what they can bring to the table, but we’re realistic about their development and growth,” MacArthur said. “They have a competitive spirit about them and they keep fighting and battling and that’s all we can ask of them right now.”
The acquisition of Chris Boushy, who had a breakout season in Rochester, will be a boost for the club if, or when, Boushy returns to the East. He’s currently leading the WLA’s Victoria Shamrocks in scoring.
Brooklin isn’t far off from a win, either. Of their first seven games, two were lost by only two goals and two others by a single margin. They led most of the game against Brampton on June 13, and scored three late goals to tie the Lakers on June 6th. If not for two late penalties, they had a chance to take that one.
The Excelsiors have adopted a new identity this season and are now known as the Bug Juice Excelsiors in honour of their new major sponsor and team owner. The name hasn’t come without ridicule in the lacrosse community, and when the Excelsiors played in Peterborough last Thursday, they were conspicuously wearing last season’s jerseys instead of their new Bug Juice duds, although it appeared they made their return on Monday night in Oakville.
YourTV’s Scott Arnold reported on Peterborough’s broadcast that the Bug Juice jerseys were laid out to be worn but the players ended up in their classic jerseys for warmups. Arnold said that general manager Steve McCarthy’s response to the “why” was a terse “ask the coach.” We’re unsure which coach Arnold approached, but whoever it was replied that “the players want it.”
Rookie Jeff Teat leads the team with 30 points including 14 goals and 16 assists. Fellow rookie Clarke Petterson is tied for third with 14 points. Phil Caputo and captain Mike Burke are tied for second with 21 points each. Nolan Clayton has played every minute of their seven games and sports a 10.14 GAA. Brampton continues to have some great young talent but they haven’t been able to compete with the likes of Six Nations and Peterborough for quite some time. Anything can happen, but don’t be surprised to see the Excels in fifth place once again.
Oakville is in fourth place, currently in the middle of the pack with a 4-4 record, their biggest win a 17-4 triumph over the Peterborough Lakers who beat them in the MSL final last season. They started the year with back-to-back losses against Six Nations, and then ran into hot Cobourg and Brampton teams.
Obviously not happy with their start, the Rock made two trades over the last week, sending Tanner Thomson and Dallas Bride to Brampton for Derek Downs and Luke Van Schepen, and then trading the rights of Dan Lintner and Jay Thorimbert to Oakville for the rights of Chris Boushy.
Downs was one of Brampton’s biggest threats; he scored 20 goals last season in the MSL and had 16 goals as a rookie for New England in the NLL. Van Schepen did well for Rochester as a rookie defenseman. Thomson and Bridle are two very capable players who just didn’t have the impact that Downs is capable of, but they’re already doing very well with Brampton. In acquiring Lintner, who asked for a trade, and Thorimbert, the Rock gobble up two more members of their Toronto Rock team. Twelve players are on both clubs, which will certainly help the chemistry of the summer squad.
Hometown boy Andrew Kew leads the Rock with 26 points. Rob Hellyer is a close second with 23. Nick Rose is the main man in goal with a GAA of 8.10, and he’s backed up by Craig Wende.