Spring is in the air and that means the beginning of Junior B lacrosse when the Rockyview Silvertips kick off their Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League (RMLL) season on April 27 against the Calgary Chill.
Silvertips head coach Tyler Waycott said the team has been hard at work preparing for the upcoming season when training camp opened a few weeks ago.
“Things have been going very well. We officially opened training camp a few weeks ago and before that we were running as a group just before we opened camp a few weeks ago,” Waycott said.
“It’s been good so far, guys have come into camp in shape for the most part and we had our first exhibition game last week against the Calgary Shamrocks and I felt like we had a good showing.”
“The game (against the Shamrocks) went well, we lost 9-6 but I liked the effort we put into the game, I thought the guys did well. There are some new systems being implemented into the group this year so it was nice to see them trying to incorporate some of that into the game. It was a good all around effort from out group.”
Rockyview is trying to bounce back from a tough 2017 season, as the squad finished sixth last year in the South Division with a 5-15 record. The team finished the regular season scoring 137 goals, an average of close to seven goals per game, while giving up 205 goals an average of just over 10 per game.
Waycott said teams across the league can expect Rockyview to be a tough team.
“We’ll be a quicker team (this year) than last year’s squad. Everybody is a little bit older, with another year under their belt … our returning players will have a little bit higher expectations from the coaching staff,” Waycott said.
“Speaking to those players, they have higher expectations of themselves. We’re definitely going to be a harder team to play against, a harder working group, that’s usually my philosophy as a coach. I’m more of a hard work beats talent kind of guy and that’s certainly what you’ll see from the Rockyview Silvertips this year.”
The Silvertips head coach also mentioned that the team should have a number of returning players, while also some newcomers that they added through the RMLL draft process.
“I believe we only lost five guys from last year’s roster,” Waycott said, adding he will have to wait to comment on final numbers until after the Junior A camps conclude.
Until then, there are new prospects the team is excited to see play.
“We hosted the draft back in February and we held the first round, first overall draft pick this year so we selected a guy by the name of J.D. Halcro and then took Nolan Oakey in the second round.”
“I believe our draft was split between seven Rockyview kids and the rest came from the greater Calgary area.”
Rockyview will open their 2018 campaign against the Calgary Chill, a team that finished last year as one of the top team’s in the RMLL with a 16-4 record.
“We have an exhibition game against them on April 11, so that’s a good test to see how we match up. They were one of the better teams in our division last year, but the league is a little bit restructured this year with Regina moving into our league and Olds getting a team,” Waycott said.
“So we’re playing out of the Central Division now as opposed to the South (Division) we played in last year. The Calgary Chill are in our division, so it’ll be a good test to see what they have to start the season.”
The Silvertips will follow the April 27 game with a long road stretch, where they will travel to Red Deer to play the Rampage on April 29 and will be followed with three straight games against the Regina Swat on May 5 and 6.
Rockyview will then return home on May 11 when they host the Calgary Chill at the Plainsman Arena in Airdrie.