If you live in Delta you are aware that the start to the season for the B.C. Junior “A” Lacrosse League (BCJALL) was delayed due to the Delta Ice Hawks hosting the Cyclone Taylor Championship.
That’s not a bad thing as all the user groups playing out of the Ladner Leisure Centre were in favor of the delay.
The delay was discussed at a meeting held at the City Hall in Delta a couple of years back, when it was also discussed that the Pioneers are looking at holding a National Championship in 2023.
To the surprise of some, the Vancouver Giants owner Ron Toigo was also at the meeting and also agreed to the push back.
All that would mean for the Giants is that they would push their training camp back by possibly two weeks which still allows them time for camp to get in.
The province’s top circuit for players between 17 and 21 years of age, has made some significant changes since the last time it played a full-season prior to the pandemic in 2019.
The regular season starts May 13, which is about three weeks later than usual thanks to the schedule being reduced from 21 to 14 games.
Each of the eight teams will play each other twice (home-and-away) with the top six advancing to the postseason in early July.
The first and second place teams will get byes to the semi-finals while the other four teams (3-versus-6 and 4-versus-5) will play a best-of-three series to see who joins them.
The mid-May start should mean most teams will have key players back on the floor from their collegiate field lacrosse seasons.
The extended playoffs are an attempt to provide more momentum for the B.C. teams that will advance to the Minto Cup national championships, typically in late August.
The Delta Islanders will be trying to get back to the postseason for the first time since they won their only league title back in 2016.
They open their league schedule May 14 when the Langley Thunder pay a visit to the Ladner Leisure Centre at 7 p.m.
Dave Bremner, Delta GM mentioned “There’s a couple of reasons why we are trying this for this year. Each season we go through the trials and tribulations of having kids at school and coming back so late.
We want to showcase our premier players and the later start will give teams a better opportunity to play at full strength.”
Bremner continued “With just 14 games, we also expect the intensity of the games to be much higher, which brings out better lacrosse.
“There’s also the hope of what we would call being ‘battle ready’ for the Minto Cup. We’re hoping that with seven games, a little bit longer playoff series, will get us ready playing against the top tier talent.”
Bremner went on to add there will be about eight rule changes too including face-offs that will be similar to the National Lacrosse League.
The five-second crease count is down to four and teams now have eight seconds to get the ball across centre compared to 10. All tweaks are to speed up the game.
“Off the ball slashing will be called more to free up the offensive players,” continued Bremner. “Too many men on the floor, both on offence and defense, will now be a penalty instead of change of possession. These are some of the things the fans will need to know before coming to the games.”
The Islanders had more than 90 players show up for evaluation sessions before rosters were finalized for the three teams, including the Junior “B” Tier One and West Coast Junior “B” levels.
“To have (that many kids) come out over a couple of weeks is phenomenal,” added Bremner. “And it is not just the quantity but the quality of players that we are excited about. We feel that we will have three very competitive teams in their respective leagues. We think our junior ‘A’ team is deeper than the last couple of seasons with a new attitude and a different work ethic. We will be bigger and more athletic so we are happy with the rule changes.”