Down Memory Lane - 2002 Lacrosse Draft
Down Memory Lane Articles - by Stan Shillington

The flirtation with Lady Luck has begun.

Team officials have been studying scouting reports for months and now it's time to make the decisions - will the sun shine on them or will misfortune rain down?

And that is why lacrosse buffs describe the Western Lacrosse Association's annual draft of over aged junior players a "crap-shoot.'

February 23, 2002, marks the 30th annual right of passage.

The rules are simple - last season's bottom-place team gets first pick, followed by the fifth-place finisher taking second, and so on. Of course, this is usually scrambled totally out of whack by old trades or sudden transactions.

The 2001 draft proved to be a bonanza for the six WLA clubs, with 154 of the top 18 draftees making roster spots - John Olson, Ben Prepchuk, Steve Evans, Kerry Sucheski,Blaine Manning, Jordan Guindon, Nick Schroeder, Lane Laycock, Bryan Poole, Matt Roik, Adam Bysouth, Travis Gillespie, Thi Pho Heng, Randy Daly and Darren Hilier. 

The draft was first held on February 12, 1973, to bring equality within the league. Future Hall of Famer Dave Durante went Number One, Selected by Coquitlam Adanacs from junior league champions Richmond Roadrunners.

Victoria then plucked Walt Weaver from the Surrey Salmonbellies, sending storm clouds rumbling over the whole procedure. Walt balked at the idea of playing on Vancouver Island, prompting Victoria to trade him to Vancouver for Burrards' top pick, Roger Dubyna, and sixth-round selection, goalie Grant McAuley.

But Weaver was still unhappy, so Vancouver shipped him off to Coquitlam for an unspecified amount of cash and the ever-present "future considerations.' Weaver was then packaged with Jim Grady and Ron Kulcheski and sent to New Westminster Salmonbellies for goalie Greg Thomas, Coquitlam resident Ric Bossley and Easterner Sandy Lynch, Peace, at last!

The second draft, held March 4, 1974 offered a greater abundance of talent (and fewer headaches), players such as Bob Tasker, Gerry Pinder, Taki Vohalis, Bill Mosdell, Nick Delmonico, Don Brown, Wayne Sutherland, and Paul Joseph.

The most prolific crop of graduating juniors went up for grabs at the 14th draft party on February 19, 1986. This was the year that Richmond Outlaws (now the Burnaby Lakers) was established.

In order to stock the expansion Outlaws, the league awarded the new club the first ten selections - Dallas Eliuk, Russ Heard, Keith Cowieson, Brien Juriga, Stu Watson, Dan LeMond, Don McNeill, Brad Henry, Jamie Stewart and Troy Poelzer. Quality players left over for regular drafting were Todd Katanchik, Tony Malcom, Rob Desormeaux, John Hamilton, Brian Baker, Andy Holland, Scott Leibing, Steve Downie, Steve Goodwin and Ray Hamilton. 

Future stars don't always come from the first few rounds, though. Invariably, teams find a gem hidden in the weeds, allowing the GMs to sport a smug look over the next few seasons, For example, in the tenth in 1980, Scott Phair ninth (1995), Russ Rawson seventh (1988), Marc Nadasdi sixth (1983), Tom Marechek fifth (1980), Paul Jones fifth (1985), Warren Blackwell fifth (1988), and Glenn Jensen sixth (1981).

Will this year's first-round selection match the glorious career of Dave Durante? Or will one of the GM weed pullers uncover a treasure in a later round? Only time will tell.