Jr. A to build local lacrosse talent

As the Toronto Beaches gear up for game one of the 2013 lacrosse season, coach Bruce Codd says he’s excited by how hard his team is working on and off the floor.

Beaches' Ryan Lee takes a shot on goal during second period action against Peterborough. The Beaches Jr. A lacrosse team hosted a mini tournament on April 21 with Peterborough, St. Catherines and Barrie. The Beaches tied their first match against Peterborough 9-9 and defeated Barrie in their second match 11-7. PHOTO: Phil Lameira
Beaches’ Ryan Lee takes a shot on goal during second period action against Peterborough. The Beaches Jr. A lacrosse team hosted a mini tournament on April 21 with Peterborough, St. Catherines and Barrie. The Beaches tied their first match against Peterborough 9-9 and defeated Barrie in their second match 11-7.
PHOTO: Phil Lameira

After a mini-tournament and a solid month of training, Codd says this year’s Beaches squad is shaping up to be a fast, athletic team with a good crop of younger players.

“So far they’ve worked very hard and tried to soak up everything we’ve been throwing at them,” he said. “When you start with a good work ethic, good things happen to you.”

The Junior A team signed lot of new faces this year, including draft picks Tanner Thomson and Chris Wilman from the Mimico and London minor teams, goaltender Rance Vingeux from the Mississauga Tomahawks and three top scorers from the Junior B loop: Dereck Downs, Ryan Lee and Chad Levick.

The Beaches’ top three scorers from last season – Jordan Robertson, Jackson Hulbert and Greg Davidson – are all returning this year and will lead the team as captain and assistant captains.

Davidson in particular had a “breakout year” in 2012, Codd said.

“I can’t say enough about the good intangibles he brings to our team,” he said. “He doesn’t say a whole lot, but he comes and works hard and excels at both ends of the floor.”

Off the floor, Codd says the Toronto Beaches are trying new ways to build up local lacrosse talent in the Beach this summer. Players will help coach minor league teams, and every player in the minor league got a free season ticket this year to see how the game is played at the next level.

With “huge” minor league systems, Orangeville, Whitby, Six Nations and Peterborough are the hotbeds for Ontario lacrosse right now, Codd says, and he would like to see the Beach join the pack.

After 13 years as a fierce defender in the National Lacrosse League, Codd spent his first pro season behind the bench last season as an assistant coach to the Calgary Roughnecks.

“It was a great way to take the sting out of not playing,” he said.

“At that level, you’re coaching the best players in the world, arguably. You notice a lot of the intangibles that they have – attention to detail, and the way they prepare both physically and mentally.

“Hopefully we can pass on some of those traits to the young guys.”

The Beaches play its first home game of the year on May 13 against last year’s season champs, the  Six Nations Arrows. All Toronto Beaches home games kick off at 8 p.m. in the Ted Reeve Arena.


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