The Langley Junior Thunder added six new faces via the BC Junior A Lacrosse League Midget Draft.
The Thunder chose two players apiece from the Ridge Meadows Minor Lacrosse Association and Mission Lacrosse, as well as one player each from the Surrey Lacrosse Association and the Port Coquitlam Minor Lacrosse Association.
The draft was held on Saturday afternoon at Langley Events Centre for players born in 2002 and was for those who are non-resident players, meaning they do not fall into the catchment area of one of the eight BCJALL franchises.
“We are thrilled to welcome these young men to our organization,” said Ryan Williams, the assistant general manager and director of scouting for the Thunder.
“We have selected some valuable pieces who will be help us in our quest for first a BCJALL championship, and then ultimately, a Minto Cup championship.”
Langley selected Cameron Ickert, a left-hander who can play defence or transition, with the fourth overall pick in the first round.
“Cam was a player that was always high on our list because of his athleticism, speed, strength and defensive awareness,” Williams said. “And after speaking with some other players in the pre-draft process that know him, the words ‘great team guy’ kept coming up.”
Ickert said it meant a lot to be selected in the first round.
“There are so many kids to pick from so I am really just honoured that Langley picked me,” he said.
Ickert said he tries to play an aggressive, physical style of defence.
The Thunder’s next two picks were for a pair of offensive left-handers, Ridge Meadows’ Declan Fitzpatrick in the third round and Surrey’s Braiden Reid in the fourth round.
Fitzpatrick is massive at six-foot-five and 220 pounds and uses his size to not only create space for his teammates, but also possesses a hard, accurate shot.
Reid is familiar to the Thunder, having played part of his minor lacrosse in Langley and spending some time with the Langley Junior B program as a call-up in 2018.
“Braiden is an old-school player and plays with an edge. He outworks players in the corners and is an in-your-face type player,” Williams said. “And he will bang bodies up front and goes hard to the net.”
Mission’s Kai Maenpaa, a versatile left-handed player who can be deployed on both ends of the floor, was picked in round four, with Williams expressing surprise he wasn’t selected earlier.
“He has a heavy shot and has good speed in transition,” Williams added.
The team’s fifth round pick was Mission’s Nathan Jensen, a left-handed defence/transition player.
“When you see Nathan play, ‘heart’ is the first thing that will come to mind. That and his ability to stay up front with a good shot and vision,” Williams described.
And with Langley’s sixth-round pick, they took goaltender Lucas Price. Price played in Port Coquitlam but had recently moved to Pitt Meadow, making him eligible for the draft.
The 2019 Minto Cup, Canada’s Junior A National Lacrosse Championship, will be played at Langley Events Centre in August. The championship will feature the league champions of the Ontario Junior A Lacrosse League, Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League, and the BCJALL. The BCJALL runner-up will round out the four-team field.