The top pick of the Langley Thunder can’t wait to get his senior lacrosse career underway.
Langley’s Thunder chose Brad McCulley, of the Victoria Junior Shamrocks, with the third overall pick in the first round of last Thursday night’s Western Lacrosse Association Junior Draft, held at Langley Events Centre.
“I’m looking forward to playing in the WLA just because I’ve been watching those guys and the league my whole life,” he said. “And the competition level is so high, it’s just going to be an amazing experience to play in this league. I’m just hoping I can come in and contribute for the team as quickly as possible.”
Last season for the Junior Shamrocks, McCulley – a six-foot-one left-handed forward – had 26 goals and 57 points in 16 games.
But it is more than the offensive numbers which intrigued Thunder general manager Rob Buchan.
“He is talented offensively, but he is also very unselfish. He works extremely hard to create space and opportunities for his teammates,” Buchan said.
McCulley was the first of six drafted by the Thunder as Langley took a trio of forwards, two defenders/transition players and a goaltender.
The team took a pair of players from the New Westminster Junior Salmonbellies program, Dalton Lupul and Ryan Wilkinson.
Lupul had 14 goals and 25 points in 21 games, with Buchan calling him a sparkplug who is disruptive defensively and can use his speed in transition.
Wilkinson had a goal and a dozen points in 19 contests and he was selected with the draft pick the team acquired alongside goaltender Dan Lewis from the Coquitlam Adanacs for Keegan Rittinger.
Port Coquitlam Saints’ Connor Frost was the Thunder’s fourth-round selection. Frost had 32 goals and 58 points in 17 games.
Gordie Bowden, a Junior B goalie for the Coquitlam Junior Adanacs, was the team’s fifth-round selection. Bowden had an 8.63 goals against average and a .797 save percentage.
And in round six, Langley drafted Tanner Riley, a hard-nosed defender out of Port Coquitlam. Riley had no points in 15 games but did lead the team with 56 penalty minutes.