ISLANDERS TURN TO HALL OF FAMER
The Delta Islanders have a living legend onboard to help get them contending again in the B.C. Junior “A” Lacrosse League.
Coming off a difficult 4-17 campaign, Kyle Goundrey had seen enough to try and change the culture within a core of players, dating back to the two years he also ran the Islanders former intermediate “A” program. He turned to Canadian Lacrosse Hall-of-Famer Andy Ogilvie to not only join him behind the bench but also share the head coaching duties.
Ogivlie was known as a hard-nosed defender who enjoyed a decorated career in the National Lacrosse League and Western Lacrosse Association, winning three Mann Cups. His last one in 2001 earned him playoff MVP honours with the Coquitlam Adanacs.
The 53-year-old Peterborough native also won a pair of Minto Cup national junior “A” championships with his hometown Lakers before taking his career out west.
“Obviously he is a legend but also I have been with these guys for a few years and we just needed a change,” explained Goundrey. “Just in discipline and a change in attitude of everything. What we had done hadn’t been working. You can’t just keep doing the same thing and expect to win.”
Ogilvie and Goundrey worked together as part of the WLA Adanacs coaching staff back in 2009. Now they are re-united to work with some promising talent that includes a 2000-age group that produced a midget A1 provincial title in 2016.
Training camp is heading into the homestretch with the team’s final pre-season game on Saturday when the Langley Thunder visit the Ladner Leisure Centre at 7 p.m. A week later, the Port Coquitlam Saints are in town for the regular season opener.
Wednesday night was the first time the coaches had an opportunity to implement systems after the roster was pared down to a more workable number. More cuts are coming in the days ahead.
It was no surprise to see Ogilvie looking after the defensive end of the floor while Goundrey, a high-scoring talent during his decorated career, is in charge of the offence.
“I am enjoying the attitude for sure. These guys are coming here and working hard, they’re listening to what we we say and I am getting no attitude back,” said Ogilvie who had spent the past two seasons on the WLA Thunder’s coaching staff.
“Up to this point, we had been doing scrimmaging and this is the first night working on game strategy. There must have been 30 defenceman at one point. I relied on Kyle a lot for his opinion as I was seeing these guys for the first time. I have asked for a lot of help so far.”
Ogilvie’s arrival coincides with a major change in the junior age structure.
B.C. Lacrosse voted in the off-season to drop Intermediate (Grades 11-12) entirely, putting the province on par with the rest of the country. Junior is now a five-year division and the new Junior ‘B’ tier one league has essentially replaced Intermediate ‘A’ as the next highest tier.
The shift certainly led to a lot of bodies at training camp and coaches with an open mind when it comes to finalizing the roster.
Jake Cantlon, Haiden Dickson, Mark Yingling and Max Stalling are four key players from the 2000 group who will be full-time junior “A” players this season.
“You have to remember the junior ‘A” team is the same age as wherever they are going to end up going,” added Goundrey. That’s one thing we try to stress to their parents who don’t want their boy playing junior ‘A’ yet. The age group doesn’t change just the skill level.
“If they are junior ‘A’ calibre then here is where they are going to play.”