Sam Clare is showcasing his versatility through the first couple of weeks of action in the Arena Lacrosse League (ALL).
As an official affiliate league of the National Lacrosse League, the five-year-old circuit now has a four-team ALL West Division operating out the Langley Events Centre. It provides players an opportunity to continue to play at a high level throughout the winter and there is plenty of local talent taking advantage, including Clare.
The 28-year-old Ladner native filled the net coming through the Delta Islanders system as a youth and junior age player. He then made the switch over to a defender/transition player where he thrived initially for the senior “B” Ladner Pioneers before joining the WLA’s Burnaby Lakers. He also spent the 2019 season with the NLL Vancouver Warriors.
Part of his commitment to the game included a stint in the ALL a couple of seasons ago with the Toronto Monarchs. Now he is back in the league again, this time as an attacking player with the Sea Spray, earning first star honours in his team’s 20-6 win over the Black Fish on Dec. 17 with four goals and eight points. He also was named first star for his five point outing in a season-opening 17-16 win over the Shooting Eagles and currently sit second in league scoring.
Other Islanders’ alumni thriving at the LEC is former team captain Mark Yingling who is also among the league scoring leaders with 10 points as a member of the Shooting Eagles.
The team with the most local flavor are the Black Fish, coached by Rod Jensen and Fred Klomp. The roster includes Jon Phillips, Evan Messenger and Nick Jensen, all three key players during the Islanders run to the B.C. Junior “A” Lacrosse League championship in 2016. Phillips and Messenger play for the WLA’s Nanaimo Timbermen in the summer, while Jensen is a member of the Burnaby Lakers. Ryan Jones, who led the Islanders in scoring for three consecutive season, is also in the Black Fish line-up.
The ALL West Division returns to action on Jan. 2 with games at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the LEC.