The Delta Islanders are leaning on the Ridge Meadows Burrards Lacrosse Association as they look to re-build themselves into a championship contending team again.
The Islanders were in position to stock up their system with promising young talent thanks to having four of the top 10 picks in last Saturday’s (Jan. 21) B.C. Junior “A” Lacrosse League U17 Draft, held in person for the first time since 2020 at the Langley Events Centre.
The draft is for graduating U16 players that played for associations not affiliated with BCJALL teams.
With a coaching staff that now features longtime Ridge Meadows minor coach Justin Doucette as a second-year assistant, the Islanders selected Burrards’ product Blake Young second overall and promptly took his 16U A1 teammates Scott Williams and Jamison Thomson with the fifth and eighth picks. According to Delta GM Dave Bremner the additions were more than just going with the best talent available.
“Aside from being a very-well coached group of athletes from the Ridge Meadows area, we're seeing quality individuals who fit our system and our thought process to a tee,” explained Bremner. “Blake is a big, strong, right-handed offensive transition player. Scott is a kid that we view who could be a floor general. A very skilled and compact player is not afraid to go into the middle and doesn’t shy away from anything. In Jamie, we’ve got ourselves an incredible defender who plays with a bit of an edge and attitude.”
Delta used the 10th pick to select right-hander Sebastian Miles who was an all-star at 16U B provincials for Port Moody last summer. It was then time to turn to Vancouver Island to select Peninsula defender Andrew Sam (14th overall) and Saanich’s Devin Kirk (19th overall), also a defender. Surrey’s William Denman (23rd overall), Charlie Syberg-Olsen (34th overall) and Aryton Bodo (42nd overall) rounded out the selections.
Time will tell how many of the draft picks will immediately make the jump to the Junior “A” ranks or will need a year or two of seasoning in Junior “B” Tier One for the five-year age window.
The Islanders are coming off a 4-10 2022 campaign that saw them just miss out on the sixth and final playoff spot. The league is expected to revert back to a 21-game regular season in 2023.
“After our recent conditioning camp, what we saw is that we have a bunch of athletes who are willing to play both ways. A lot more transition style players who can fit in and do the job pretty good right away,” Bremner added. “We definitely want to be a faster team this year than we were last year. We feel that the skill level coming back with our returning guys is very good, especially on the offensive side of the ball. These (drafted) players coming in are going to complement that in a couple of different ways.”