The Maple Ridge Burrards, with their first pick in the 2018 WLA draft, selected a home-grown talent.
The Burrards chose Mitch McDole in the second round, 13th overall, with their first pick.
The Burrards traded their first-round pick and the WLA/CLA playing rights of Matthew Syms to the Coquitlam Adanacs for the WLA/CLA playing rights of Matthew Dinsdale.
In McDole, the Burrards get an offensive-type player.
“We were pleased that Mitch was available for our first pick of the draft. Mitch is a Ridge Meadows Minor Lacrosse and Burrard intermediate A graduate, so it’s always nice to bridge that connection when there is a player with ability available to us,” said Burrards general manager Rey Comeault.
“Mitch is a goal-scoring, left-handed offensive player who will fit in nicely with our group of lefties. He’s starting to fill out, so we’re confident Mitch will be able to create space for himself and continue to have the vision to make good decisions in distributing the ball to our very skilled offence when that option presents itself.”
McDole, 6’0″ and 175 pounds, was selected 53rd overall in the NLL draft this past October by the Calgary Roughnecks, but the left-handed has since been released.
McDole, who graduated from SRT in Maple Ridge, also played two years of field lacrosse with the Young Harris College Mountain Lions in Georgia, where he had 42 goals and 19 assists in 30 career games.
But he wanted to return home and passed up the final two years of his scholarship.
He had been told he might be picked as high as sixth or seventh in the WLA draft by Coquitlam or Langley, but has happy to fall to his hometown Burrards.
“I was really pumped,” McDole said. “I really wanted to play here. It’s nice to he home.”
McDole played one game with the Burrards last season as an affiliate and recorded three assists, in addition to hitting three posts.
“I should have scored,” he said, smiling.
McDole hopes to make the Burrards’ roster this coming season, and still has aspirations of playing in NLL with the Roughnecks, who feature several current Burrards in Riley Loewen, Garrett McIntosh and goalie Frank Scigliano, as well as another Maple Ridge product, Anthony Kalnich.
“I’ve just to get bigger,” said McDole, who’s taking time off school to work, workout, and let a shoulder injury fully heal.
With the Burrards, he sees an opportunity for him to fill an offensive role, scoring goals, creating space and make plays for others.
“I’m lucky to get to play alongside some of these great players. Hopefully I can learn from them.”
The Burrards also drafted Greg Lunde, who played junior with the Port Coquitlam Saints, with the first pick of the third round, 15th overall.
“We were very surprised that Greg was available to us in the third round,” Comeault said. “He’s a very talented right-handed 0ffensive player who has the ability to score in many ways.”
The Burrards also drafted Connor Leies, Sam Shiel, Pearson Willis, Josh Kemp and Andrew Gresham.
The Maple Ridge Burrards finished second overall during the 2017 WLA regular season, then lost to the New Westminster Salmonbellies in the first round of the playoffs, in seven games.
The Burrards won the WLA title in 2016, the first such title for the organization since moving to Maple Ridge.