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Another pro lacrosse star expected to join Ladner Pioneers

Eli McLaughlin would be back in the arena where he starred as a junior player after helping Colorado Mammoth win NLL championship
Pioneers leading scorers
(Left to right) Tyler Pace, Ryan Keith, Logan Schuss and Spencer Bromley are currently among the top five scores in the Western Senior Lacrosse Association for the unbeaten Ladner Pioneers.

With the July 1 roster deadline looming, the unbeaten Ladner Pioneers are still planning to make another huge addition to their already loaded roster.

Eli McLaughlin of the newly-crowned National Lacrosse League champion Colorado Mammoth is expected to at least dress for the minimum required three regular season games and be eligible for Ladner’s post-season quest of advancing to the 2022 President’s Cup national senior “B” championships in Leduc, AB slated to start Aug. 28.

The Surrey native and Delta Islanders’ alumni led the NLL in playoff scoring before being sidelined in game one of the championship series against Buffalo with a shoulder injury. McLaughlin had verbally agreed earlier he would suit up for Ladner this summer, passing on his usual Western Lacrosse Association (WLA) duties.

“We'll find out what's going on with his shoulder, but I am assuming he will be here as I haven't heard anything different. I guess we'll find out (with the) signing deadline (coming up),” said Pioneers head coach Ross Frehlick. “He needs to get his games in to be qualified, but that just means he has to be on the roster and the bench (for the required number of games).”

Ladner improved to 10-0-0 on the season with a 15-6 win in Victoria on Saturday. Ontario native and NLL star Ryan Benesch was back in the Ladner line-up and had four goals, to go along with his 11-point outing two nights earlier in a 21-6 home floor win over PoCo.

Frehlick already had eight NLL players secured when another impact pro player joined the club last month.

Coquitlam native and Calgary Roughneck standout Calgary Roughnecks was already doing some skill development work with Delta Minor Lacrosse when he agreed to play. The 27-year-old now leads the league in scoring with 44 points in seven games. Teammates Logan Schuss and Spencer Bromley are right behind him with 39 points each.

The Pioneers host Victoria on Saturday (3 p.m.) and have two games remaining with the second place North Shore Indians (7-3) in what is very likely a preview of the WCSLA championship series that will determine a trip to nationals. The Indians’ roster includes Vancouver Warriors’ goaltender Alex Buque. They also could be adding more talent prior to the July 1 roster deadline.

“We’re hoping so,” added Frehlick. “Our biggest worry is needing to be prepared for when we get to President’s Cup. I mean, we are not guaranteed a spot yet but we are definitely planning to be there.”

Boxla bits…

-New lighting being installed in the Ladner Leisure Centre (LLC) next month means the Pioneers will open the WCSLA playoffs at Sungod Arena in North Delta before returning to their home floor for the finals. Ice installation for the Vancouver Giants training camp will commence after Aug. 15.

-The club should know more after nationals if they will be named hosts of the 2024 President's Cup. That's when B.C. is expected to be up again in the tournament rotation. Ladner last hosted the event in 1997.