Season of firsts for Delta Islanders’ Jr. A lacrosse team

The Delta Islanders Junior A lacrosse team won the B.C. championship and will compete in the 2016 Minto Cup - both firsts for the club.

The Delta Islanders celebrate winning the clubs first B.C. Junior A Lacrosse League Championship after defeating the Coquitlam Adanacs in a marathon best-of-three series on Aug. 9. The team will compete in its first Minto Cup (the Canadian Junior A lacrosse Championship) in Langley on Aug. 20.

This season is one lacrosse fans in Delta won’t soon forget.

For the first time in the club’s history, the Delta Islanders are the British Columbia Junior A Lacrosse League champions and will compete for the coveted Minto Cup in the 73rd Canadian Junior A lacrosse Championship.

“To our community and to the program it’s massive,” said Islanders head coach Greg Rennie. “It’s the first time in 15 years the Islanders have made it this far and only the third time we’ve been in the B.C. finals in back-to-back years.”

The Islanders finished the regular season ranked second in the league with a record of 15-6-0, two points ahead of the New Westminster Salmonbellies and 12 points behind the undefeated Coquitlam Adanacs.

Islanders captain Brad Hofmann credits the entire team’s work ethic for the season’s historic finish.

“I can’t even explain how hard these guys work. These guys work their butts off every night for us. You can see how bad they want it,” Hofmann said. “I think that’s been more than just this season in the making. We’ve been a young team the other two years so I think the hard work in those seasons has payed off this season [with] us growing as a team and us growing as a family.”

The team’s chemistry was on display as they faced the Adanacs in a three-game playoff to determine which team would be crowned B.C. champion.

Coquitlam Adanacs goalie Christian Del Bianco makes one of 57 saves during game two of the three-game series against the Delta Islanders at the Sungod Recreation Centre on Aug. 7. The Adanacs won the game 11-10 in overtime.Delta came out swinging and handed Coquitlam its first defeat of the season, winning the first game 9-6. The Adanacs rallied, beating the Islanders 11-10 in overtime to take game two and force the tiebreaker. James Smith photo

Coquitlam Adanacs goalie Christian Del Bianco makes one of 57 saves during game two of the three-game series against the Delta Islanders at the Sungod Recreation Centre on Aug. 7. The Adanacs won the game 11-10 in overtime to force game three. James Smith photo

“These new additions at the end of the sea- son have really helped,” said Dave Bromley, whose son Spencer had one goal and three assists for the Islanders in game two of the series. “Kevin Orleman, Cam Milligan and Aidan Milburn are all excellent additions, have done really well. Even the call-up, the intermediate kid [Liam MacDonald]…everybody’s contributed very well, and it’s been a real good team effort so far.”

On Tuesday night, both teams fought tooth and nail in a marathon game that went into double overtime and, in the end, the Islanders emerged victorious, beating the Adanacs 11-10 to win the club’s first-ever BCJALL championship.

Both the Islanders and the Adanacs will compete in the Minto since, as host province, B.C. will have two teams in the tournament. However, going into the tournament as B.C. champs means Delta will get a more favourable matchup to start.

“Coquitlam deserves to be there whether they’re the B.C. champ or the host,” Rennie said. “I mean, they’ve been B.C. champs seven years in a row.”

For Hofmann, the team’s performance in the series shows they mean business and aren’t content just to make it to the Minto.

“I think it’s pretty obvious that this means everything to us,” Hofmann said. “I mean, we’re not just going to take part, we’re there to take over.”

This year’s Minto Cup will be held Aug. 20 to 29 at the Langley Events Centre. The tournament kicks off on Aug. 20 with the Adanacs taking on Ontario’s Orangeville Northmen at 5:00 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre, followed by the Islanders versus the Calgary Mountaineers at 8:00 p.m.