After their most successful season in almost 40 years, the Maple Ridge Burrards are making a change at the top, as Rey Comeault takes over as general manager.
“Comeault’s knowledge of the game and the players in this upcoming generation is going to give him the expertise he needs to excel at being a great general manager,” said a statement from the Burrards.
“His rapport with the players and others in the game will be a key to his success.”
Comeault is excited about the opportunity.
“We’ve assembled a really good group, and lots of local talent,” he said.
Due to work commitments and other coaching responsibilities, Daren Fridge, who has been with the organization for his whole adult life, hands the GM’s role to his assistant GM of five seasons. Fridge has served as player, head coach and GM, all as a Burrard, and goes back more than 25 years to the organization’s days in Vancouver.
Now he will move into a director’s role, and will focus on scouting and preparing for the 2017 draft in February, and growing the team’s alumni relations.
The Burrards have two first-round picks in the upcoming draft.
Comeault said they will attempt to package those picks and move up to one of the top two positions, where an impact player could be drafted.
If not, they will be drafting for depth, with a lineup that is already set in all key positions.
“We’re not in any kind of frantic mode,” said Comeault. “We’re pretty shored up everywhere.”
Last year, the Burrards needed a backup goaltender to all-star Frankie Scigliano, and drafted four netminders to make sure that position was covered. One of them, Charles Claxton, was in camp with the Vancouver Stealth of the NLL, but was recently released.
Comeault said he takes over the WLA squad went it’s on an obvious upswing. They were the 2016 WLA champions, and went on to the Mann Cup senior A lacrosse national championship. They came up against the dynastic Six Nations Chiefs, who won their third Mann Cup in four years by beating the Burrards in five games.
The challenge is to get the club its first Mann Cup.
“We want to get over to that next level,” said Comeault.
Attracting players gets easier with the team’s success.
“Guys want to be on teams they think are going in the right direction,” he said.
Rob Williams, the 2016 WLA coach of the year in his rookie campaign, is back to run the bench.
Comeault will be looking for an assistant coach to run the defence, because Tyler Codron has had his knee surgically repaired and rehabbed it, and he’ll be a floor general again this year.
Creighton Reid, who was hurt early last season, will also be back. So a championship team is getting better.
“Instantly, we’re bringing in two top-notch defenders right off the bat,” said Comeault.
He added the team will also work to continue attracting strong fan support, and said it made the team hometown proud in their league championship series against the Victoria Shamrocks, when fans filled Cam Neely Arena.
“Thoughout the playoffs, it really made a difference.”
• Burrard defender Colton Porter is making a strong bid to play pro lacrosse close to home. The Chilliwack native is still in camp with the Stealth. In five seasons with the Burrards, Porter has 15 goals and 36 assists.
“He’s a very talented defender,” said Comeault. “He’s got great speed and work ethic, and he’s great in transition.”