There were a few anxious moments during the first round of the National Lacrosse League draft, but in the end the Vancouver Stealth got who they targeted and James Rahe will get the chance to stay home.
The Stealth were without a first round pick in Monday’s draft but had the first selection in the second round, 11th overall.
Leading up to the draft, the Stealth had coveted the six-foot-four right-hander and Rahe really wanted to be selected by Vancouver.
“A lot of nerves. A little bit went sideways there with a couple of picks not going as some people expected. I was just hoping and praying that it worked out well,” Rahe said about what was going through his mind as he followed the draft in Toronto online.
Stealth general manager Doug Locker admitted there were a few anxious moments leading up to his first pick.
“(James) was our target and we were thrilled to get him,” Locker said by phone the next morning, ahead of the league’s board of governors meeting.
“He can do so much, he is not just a right-handed goal scorer but we think he can play in multiple roles for us and gives us more weapons and more options.”
Rahe is very familiar with the Langley Events Centre, having playing parts of his junior A career and now his senior A career with the Langley Thunder.
In 78 games in the BCJALL with Langley and Coquitlam, Rahe put up 118 goals and 239 points. He also won a Minto Cup with the Six Nations Arrows, with 15 goals and 53 points in 19 playoff games.
“To get a kid like James Rahe in the spot we did, we were very lucky,” said Stealth coach Jamie Batley.
“James is a big, strong athletic player who we can use in a variety of roles for our club.”
The Stealth also selected Adam Jay (32nd overall) Cody Teichroeb (41st) and Danton Miller (49th) with their other three picks.
Rahe graduated from Robert Morris University — where he also played field lacrosse — in May with a degree in mechanical engineering.
The fact he has been away at school for much of the past four years would have made moving away to pursue his professional lacrosse dreams a lot tougher, he admitted.
“It would have been tough to have to leave right away,” he said.
Now that his pro future is a bit more certain, the 22-year-old will begin looking for work in his field.
“I couldn’t be happier to be staying at home, this community raised me and I can’t wait to play in front of them at the Langley Events Centre,” he said.
Rahe’s other focus is getting into the best shape he can ahead of training camp in late November.
“A lot of guys on this team I grew up watching. I have always loved watching Garrett Billings play and now the fact that hopefully I am going to be on the floor with him is a dream come true,” Rahe said.
The Stealth begin the NLL season on Jan. 6 with the team’s home opener Jan. 14.