The Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League (RMLL) recently updated the name of their Senior B division to “Alberta Series Lacrosse“. Here in Northern Alberta we have three teams (listed in alphabetical order) – the Beaumont Outlaws, Edmonton Warriors, and St. Albert Miners.
Heading into last season, the Outlaws were poised to finish over .500 for the first time since the 2011 season. The Warriors were set to prove their first under .500 season since 2016 was due to injuries and bad luck. The Miners were set to host the Presidents Cup, the Sr B National Championship, and held themselves to the expectation of winning it all.
So where are all these teams today in terms of their respective 2021 season outlooks? I reached out to Outlaws President Stu Sterparn, Warriors new head coach Jordan Wheaton and Miners General Manager Jordan Cornfield to ask three questions trying to give fans a sneak peak at what to expect.
Question one comes with a prequel, as the Outlaws Stu Sterparn explained the following concept to me…I’m presuming contracts in RMLL are year-to-year, so do you have the rights to your players from 2019? Do you return the rights to the players drafted in 2020?
“Actually quite the opposite, players rights are held indefinitely…all of the players we have drafted remain on our roster until traded or retired.”
Now for the interview:
- With players rights held indefinitely until traded or retired (thanks again for the info Stu), where are you in respects to your 2021 roster?
WARRIORS: We love the potential in what our roster can bring in 2021. With the addition of some very important draft picks available in the draft this year, we believe that if we can stay healthy, we have a team that can compete every night.
MINERS: In the year that we’re hosting the Presidents Cup obviously everyone on a protected list is eager to play.
- How do you draft young men that have literally not played sanctioned lacrosse in almost two years?
OUTLAWS: I can’t really divulge too many of our draft secrets but I will say we know most of the Edmonton based players since they were young. Not too many surprises by the time they get to Sr. Edmonton is still a relatively small, tight knit community. Lacrosse is an even smaller community. There is only a certain amount of players that graduate from Jr every year. Many of our current players are out there coaching minor lacrosse or evaluating players that have had successful careers up till this point. All three Sr teams in the North are also aligned with a Jr team. This gives the Sr league a small feeder system. Our JrB Outlaws were just starting to find success before the pandemic.
WARRIORS: We rely on conversations with their junior coaches and players on our roster who have played with them in the past. We also try to reach out to the players and talk directly to them about the coming season. It will be a tougher year than any other, but we are lucky to have great people to speak to about the potential players, include themselves.
MINERS: Typically, players who we draft are players we can see building our future on. We like to draft character guys who understand process in building a successful team. Most of the time they won’t immediately jump into our line up and play an intricate role on the floor right away.
- If I were one of those magazines that did “far too early previews” of a team what would you predict as being a strength of your team heading into what is hopefully a normal’ish 2021?
OUTLAWS: The Sr Outlaws team’s strengths are our team…the guys show up everyday, like each other, work well together, & they genuinely love lacrosse…in the past I can’t always say that about our group. Chemistry is a big part of a war disguised as a game.
WARRIORS: We have always been a team that has built from the back end first. Every one of our players is important, but in a normal year we would be very excited about our defense and goaltending. We are hopeful some injuries that plagued us in 2019 on both ends of the floor will, in combination with the upcoming draft and our 2020 draft picks that never played last season, make for a very exciting season.
MINERS: We have been doing virtual team events/ get togethers since the pandemic started. The boys are excited to get back at it, we are hoping there will be some clarity on the season shortly.
A statement about the 2021 Senior B National Championships from the Canadian Lacrosse Association: “The Canadian Lacrosse Association (CLA) appreciates that the lacrosse community is eager to know what the future holds for our 2021 National Championships…The COVID-19 pandemic continues to bring uncertainty to sports and return-to-play across Canada at this time. As such, the CLA Board of Directors has decided to re-evaluate the 2021 National Championship events at their next scheduled meeting on March 17, 2021.” Pandemic allowing, Alberta will be hosting the prestigious tournament.
Thank you gentleman for time and your sharing.