Two straight trips to the President’s Cup national championships and the Ladner Pioneers are working hard on and off the floor to make sure there is a third.
The Pioneers will take a 7-1-0 record into a pivotal stretch of their schedule that begins Thursday night when the third place Coquitlam Adanacs (5-2-1) visit the Ladner Leisure Centre at 8 p.m.
It’s then off to Queen’s Park Arena Saturday to take on the Royal City Capitals before a huge road trip to Nanaimo four days later for a first place showdown with the defending champion Timbermen (8-1-0). The Capitals then come to the LLC the following night.
Ontario native Zach Herreweyers made his debut in a couple of blowout wins over the last place Valley Rebels — piling up 16 points, including eight goals.
The 24-year-old is fresh off his National Lacrosse League season with the runner-up Buffalo Bandits and has played in B.C. before with the WLA Salmonbellies. The high-scoring lefty also enjoyed a decorated collegiate career in the field version of the game with Loyola University.
The club has also acquired the playing rights to Luke Wiles — another Ontario standout who played nearly a decade in the NLL. The 36-year-old had 14 points in four games with St. Regis last season and is expected to play a four game stretch once he arrives in B.C.
Defensive depth is on the way too from the other side of the Rockies in homegrown products Andrew McBride and Cody Hawkins.
McBride is a former captain with the Calgary Roughnecks who will make his debut against Coquitlam while Hawkins was a standout with the Delta Junior “A” Islanders. Both now live in Alberta and are active in coaching roles with junior teams.
The club is also talking to other players and additional signings are likely prior to the July 1st roster deadline.
It’s not only to counter a string of recent injuries but to be in position to get to Montreal in August for the President’s Cup and be a legitimate contender after appearances at the 2017 and 2018 tournaments. Head coach Ross Frehlick made it clear after last year’s event in Nanaimo more scoring depth was needed after watching his team contend for a podium spot and eventually finish fifth.
This season has also been dedicated to the memory of former player and assistant coach Thomas Haydon who lost his battle to cancer last fall. He played on the last Ladner team to win nationals in 2004.