Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Abolished draft jeopardizes parity in junior lacrosse

The junior Victoria Shamrocks stand to benefit from a controversial rule change around player recruiting in junior box lacrosse.
After four years of existence, the B.C. Junior Lacrosse League midget draft (2007 to 2010) has been cancelled after the B.C. Lacrosse Association ruled against it for 2011.
By doing so, the league has now reverted to the same rules that allowed the Burnaby Lakers to dominate the BCJLL for 12 years (1996 to 2008) while basement dwelling teams suffered annually.
From the junior-A Victoria Shamrocks’ perspective, recruiting from the open market gives his team a big advantage, general manager Rod Wood said.
Under the midget draft, players in the catchment area of the Westshore were protected by the Shamrocks. But if the Shamrocks organization wanted free agent players from the unprotected Victoria-Esquimalt, Saanich and Peninsula catchments, it had to catch them in draft.
Now, all free agents are eligible to play for the BCJLL team of their choice.
In the Shamrocks’ case, it’s a favourable situation Wood said.
“Practically every (lacrosse playing) kid from the South Island wants to be a Shamrock.”
It means Nanaimo will likely stand in line behind Victoria when it comes to attracting free agents from the South Island, a lacrosse hotbed producing some of the best
players in North America. And the situation is much more uncertain on the mainland, where the Coquitlam Adanacs are the 2010 Minto Cup champions, with New Westminster right behind them.
Wood sees the draft from opposing sides and is actually for it, though he admits his club can better recruit without a draft.
“As a GM it’s great to have a large pool to draw from and it will help my team, but as a governor on the league’s board, it’s not going to help the smaller, weaker teams,” Wood said.
“The problem now is top prospects from unprotected catchments like Maple Ridge are free to go to Coquitlam and New West,” Wood said.

- by Victoria News

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