ISLANDERS NEW GM LEARNING ON THE FLY

Delta opens regular season Saturday night when PoCo Saints visit Ladner at 7 p.m.

/ Delta Optimist

MAY 4, 2018 08:00 AM

It’s baptism by fire for new Delta Islanders general manager Matt Disher.

With the season opener on Saturday, the former National Lacrosse League standout goaltender is making sure all the administration duties are in order as he oversees two teams — the Junior “A” Islanders along with the new Junior “B” tier one squad.

“It’s dealing with all the paper work. It’s a learning curve especially with the five-year system now,” said Disher.

“For me, it’s in my head as I grew up in Ontario (where junior has always been a five-year program). But’s also understanding the GM role, getting players signed and making sure you don’t break any rules.”

After a stellar career in the NLL, along with the WLA Salmonbellies, the 41-year-old was looking to be involved in the game again.

He was a guest coach a couple of years ago for Kyle Goundrey when he was running Delta’s Intermediate “A” program. This time he has a much greater role after former GM Greg Rennie opted to be behind the bench this season and is now overseeing the Junior “B” tier one team in Richmond.

“I have known (Kyle and co-head coach Andy Ogilvie) for a while and they must think I’m a sucker,” laughed Disher. “They wanted someone who was a lacrosse guy who also could help out on the management side of things. I just didn’t expect to be jumping into (this big) of role right away.”

Disher’s biggest challenge now is making sure both teams have plenty of depth. He has learned quickly big numbers in pre-season training doesn’t mean those players are here for good. There is also the juggling act of more incoming talent and assigning players accordingly. The latest arrival was Richmond native Ryan Jensen who is looking to crack the Junior “A” roster after being released by Coquitlam.

“You find yourself always looking at numbers. The more talent the better it is for us,” added Disher. You don’t want to one day be short players because kids are busy these days. Junior ‘A’ is a big commitment but there are always those occasions and you have to be ready for them.”

Once all the paper work is in order, Disher added he will also help out on the coaching side as a goalie assistant. It’s a position he has watched closely throughout training camp.

“I will probably become more active once all the administrative stuff is done. I’m looking forward to that,” he chuckled.

Boxla bits…

It’s a significant test right out of the gate for the Junior “A” Islanders when they open their regular season on Saturday night at home against Port Coquitlam. The Saints finished third last season with a 13-8 record and opened their 2018 campaign Sunday with an 11-5 home floor win over Victoria.

Coming off a 4-17 season, Delta needs to show it can be competitive again with the next tier of teams in the league, never mind dealing with a perennial powerhouse like defending champion Coquitlam.

Game time is 7 p.m. at the Ladner Leisure Centre.

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