Evinrude Centre be darned; the Peterborough Century 21 Lakers aren’t going to let their arena displacement stop them from bringing a third consecutive Mann Cup title to the city.
Thursday, general manager Paul Day made a big trade that will help the Lakers on their 2019 journey back to the national championship, acquiring Kiel Matisz from the Brooklin Redmen. It was their first big move in preparation for the three-peat.”We want people to know we are committed to defending our title,” Day stated.
Matisz, 29, is currently the captain of the Philadelphia Wings where he is coached by Day. He has scored 14 goals and 26 assists and is on pace for his best season since joining the NLL in 2013. At 6’5 and 225 lbs., he is an offensive transition player who plays regularly at both ends of the floor. Before coming to Philadelphia, he spent six seasons with the Georgia Swarm franchise, winning the Champion’s Cup in 2017.
“We are excited to get Kiel,” Day said. “He is good friends with Kyle Buchanan. Both are in each other’s weddings this summer. He is a great leader and is ninth in NLL scoring and plays a regular shift of defense for us in Philly. He does all the little things right.”
Matisz last played in the MSL in 2016 where he was a solid contributor to the Redmen. He took some time off following that last season to concentrate on family and recovering from the NLL season. Making the drive from Hamilton every week wasn’t feasible then, but now his son is nine-months-old and with the chance to compete for a Mann Cup, he’s looking forward to getting back on the floor.
“I’m super excited about the trade,” he said. “The history the Lakers have is incredible. Having Paul Day as my coach, and living close to each other, we’ve developed a great relationship. I just want to help the team to the best of my ability and get us to that national championship level again.”
Matisz said he’ll play wherever the coaching staff asks him to.
“I don’t want to call myself a chameleon because I don’t know if that’s a good analogy but night in and night out, whatever the team asks of me or requires me to do I will. If you went to two national championships in a row you’re doing things right so I don’t know, with this being so new, what the need is going to be.”
He’s familiar with most of the Lakers, having played with or against them at some point in his career. He won the Swarm’s championship with Chad Tutton, and is currently roommates with Josh Currier when the Wings are on the road.
“Lacrosse is really small community and good news travels fast,” he acknowledged, and in fact he had just texted Ian Llord when we reached out to him for this article.
Matisz and Buchanan are looking forward to being teammates again.
“‘Moose’ is a dynamic player,” said Buchanan. “We went to university together at Robert Morris for four years. He brings a lot to a team. He’s the captain in Philly so he has a ton of leadership and is really respected. As a big body that can run, he can play every position. There’s really not a lot that he can’t do.”
“Bucky is my best buddy,” Matisz said of the Lakers’ 2018 top scorer. “College feels like the place where boys become men and we went through that process together. He used to live four blocks away from me. To reconnect with him will be the best.”
In exchange for Matisz, the Lakers send offensive righty Jake Fox and defenseman Tyler Gaulton to the Redmen.
Fox had most of his success with the Lakers as a call-up while still with the Jr. A Lakers but wasn’t able to find a regular roster spot in 2018. Gaulton spent most of the 2018 season with the Ennismore James Gang. Fox is currently in his senior year at Johns Hopkins while Gaulton is on the Saskatchewan Rush’s practice roster.
“Both Fox and Gaulton are excited for a chance to play more,” Day said.
The Lakers open their home schedule on May 30th with a banner raising at the Memorial Centre before moving to the Evinrude Centre.