Monday, January 25, 2016

Kodiaks moving from KW to Cobourg

The Kodiaks are starting a new chapter in their history and it will be written in Cobourg. The team, which debuted in Kitchener-Waterloo with a highly successful three-year Senior B run before moving up to Major Series Lacrosse in 2006, is heading to the Eastern Ontario city starting this summer after its proposal to move was approved by the MSL board at the draft meeting held on Sunday.

Owner Al Orth said the opportunity to move to Cobourg arose in discussions with the group that staged KW's “home” game in the city last summer, when about 1,800 fans showed up to see the Kodiaks play the Peterborough Lakers. Another game was being arranged for Cobourg this summer and the talks grew into a permanent move with a trio of co-owners coming aboard.

“I am really excited about the future for the Kodiaks in Cobourg,” Orth said. “The three new owners joining me are John Webb, Eric Graham and Chris Galbraith. They are great lacrosse people with diverse business backgrounds and a shared passion for the game. The tremendous fan support we experienced when we hosted a regular season game vs the Lakers last summer tells me the Kodiaks will be well supported in their new Cobourg home.”

The Kodiaks franchise started in Sr B in 2003 and won the Presidents Cup national championship that year. They won again in 2005 when they played host to the tournament. KW went 14-0 in the post-season that summer, riding the stellar goaltending of current GM Steve Dietrich to a 5-3 win over the Tri-City (British Columbia) Bandits in a gold medal game watched by about 2,200 fans.

Fan support has been difficult to maintain for the team in recent years, with only a few hundred turning out for most games. That has been a factor in the team's inability to achieve consistent success on the floor. Orth and his new partners expect that increased attendance at the Cobourg Community Centre will help put the team in a better position to be competitive in an MSL that is probably as deep in talent as it has ever been.

The Cobourg Kodiaks could get a competitive boost immediately from a pair of draft picks from Sunday who would have been unlikely to go play in KW but are much more likely to make the regular trip now. The Kodiaks selected defender Adam Bomberry and forward Seth Oakes fourth and fifth overall. Both live in Akwesasne and played for the town's Jr B Indians, leading them to a Founders Cup title last year.

Akwesasne (located just inside the Quebec border where Quebec, Ontario and New York all meet near Cornwall) is less than four hours away from Cobourg but it can take anywhere from 6-8 hours to get to KW from there, depending on traffic as you pass through Toronto.

The Kodiaks will continue to play their home games on Sunday afternoons in their new home, starting this May.