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The move is complete and the wait is over marking a new era in pro sports hitting the floor in Vancouver as the National Lacrosse League officially kicks off at Rogers Arena.

If you were one of the fortunate ones to attend the home opener four days prior to the arrival of Saint Nick you are fortunate enough to be among this historic making game.

Tonight’s game would see “cub” reporter Markus Bollen attend the game in a way in which to utilize his talents assisting the Sportswave Crew and to his credit – he did an exceptional job.

Markus “Cub” Reporter

The team was purchased in the off-season by Orca Bay from American business person Denise Watkins who moved the franchise to Langley from Everett who were known as the Stealth.

Sticking with the name of the Stealth, they eventually became known as the Vancouver Stealth in 2014 rather than the Langley Stealth  mainly for the purpose of attracting fans to the venue.

Say what you will, it worked but not on a regular basis and ticket sales were sparse and attracted only the lacrosse community which made sense with the odd new fans.

She (Watkins) kept Doug Locker as the team’s President and GM stating that he was “one of the most passionately committed peoples he’s ever worked with.”

Ownership brought in Dan Richardson President and GM of the WLA New West Salmonbellies who has an impressive resume of building a building a winning team.

Dan Richardson – Warriors GM
Photo Jason Payne

Next in line was to bring in an assistant who he could rely on in the building process and for this he hired Ken Thomas who was the Assistant GM with the “Bellies” under Richardson.

He is also a member of the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame also managing to win a Mann Cup in 2001, while also finishing in the top 10 in the WLA scoring in five seasons.

His (Dan) mindset of building a winning team both and off the floor is unsurpassed and unmatched by others involved for Canada’s National Summer Sport.

Working with ownership the first task was to “lock-down” a coach and in doing so the search was short lived.

He hired Chris Gill a fourth generation Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame inductee and a former player with the Vancouver Ravens when they played in the NLL from 2002-04 also at Rogers Arena.

He follows the bounce of the ball getting his talent from his Grandfather Les Dickinson, Grandfather Bill Dickinson and his Dad Sohen Gill, so as you can see there’s no shortage of talent in the family.

Once this process was complete it was on with the acquisition of players, two of which are from the Delta Islanders one of eight teams in the BCJALL.

Delta’s Mitch Jones played in 2007 eventually moving on to play in Orangeville and Brampton winning a Minto Cup finishing third in Minto Cup scoring.

Delta’s other standout player now with the Warriors is Delta Secondary Logan Schuss who went on to play with Ohio State managing one point in all 15 games he played.

photo Credit Richard Lam/PNG

During his time with the Islanders he managed to turn on the red light 6 times adding 2 assists helping the Islanders pull out a 16-7 victory over the Shamrocks.

His pro debut saw him suit up with Minnesota in the 2014 season for two seasons then being traded to the Stealth part way into the 2015 season where he has called home ever since.

The foundation was set with all eyes on the home opener, which to the dismay of many was postponed due to a labor problem between the NLL and the Players.

The season was pushed back with the Warriors opener set for December 21st, which saw them hit the floor following an impressive 14-13 O/T victory the previous weekend in Calgary.

This win gave the Warriors motivation heading into their home opener but they would need more than motivation to overtake Calgary!!

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