Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Commissioner's Blog - Welcome to the 2015 season

The Six Nations Chiefs enter the new MSL season as defending Mann Cup champions, but they'll have plenty of
competition for this year's Ontario title and the chance to try to make it three in a row. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
Welcome to the 2015 season!

The Major Series Lacrosse league has been preparing for the opening of the 2015 season with many management changes. The 2015 draft of Junior players has taken place and the schedule has been set up for an 18-game draw.

The 2014 season was the closest and most competitive in recent years. It wasn’t until the last game was played that positions two through five were decided.

The Canadian Mann Cup championship was won by Six Nations which just beat out Oakville Rock for the final playoff position in Ontario. In preparing for the 2015 season, which will be even more competitive than last year, teams have made some changes to hopefully improve their standing.

The Brampton Excelsiors hired Paul Stewart of the Brooklin Redmen to be their head coach in the coming season. Paul has worked with Brooklin the past two seasons when they ended up in first place and their coaching staff was picked as coaches of the year. Brampton will be a young team, having added several Junior stars to their lineup.

Oakville Rock has several organizational changes due to the tragic passing of Terry Sanderson in the off-season. His position as general manager has been taken over by Josh Sanderson (Terry’s son) who is still one of the best lacrosse players in the world. Oakville narrowly missed the final playoff spot last year. Eight of their losing games were decided by one or two goals and they just kept getting better. Without question they will be challenging every team in the coming season.

The Brooklin Redmen, led once again by Wayne Colley and reinforced with new assistant coaches Brad MacArthur and Gil Nieuwendyk, will once again be a team to beat. Shawn Williams is returning and will provide leadership for the Redmen.

The Peterborough Lakers had a devastating off-season with complete changes in their executive and management of the team. Ted Higgins has worked vigorously to fill in the gaps left to him. He has announced that Paul Day is taking over the position of general manager previous held by Joe Sullivan. Paul is well known in lacrosse circles as a successful coach and manager at all levels. The Lakers are loaded with outstanding lacrosse players led by Shawn Evans, John Grant and goaltender Matt Vinc. Paul Day’s announcement of his coaching staff appointments led by Mike Hasen who only seems to know how to win championships along with new assistants Mike Accursi and Tracy Kelusky finishes off a wonderful rebuilding job by Higgins.

Kitchener-Waterloo had its best season in 2014 fielding a young, fast vigorous team. They have added seven new players that they obtained in the 2015 draft. They will only be stronger coming out of the gate and will improve as the season moves along. Steve Dietrich will continue as the general manager and coach.

Duane Jacobs of the Six Nations Chiefs, who have won the Canadian championship Mann Cup the last two seasons, is returning as the general manager along with his head coach, Rich Kilgour. They will be a strong team again as they make their play to become a three-time national champion.

There will be no sure games during the season as every team that goes on the floor will be capable of winning the game. The fans will be treated to the most competitive lacrosse that the game has seen in years.