Sports

Cobourg Nissan Kodiaks preparing for Major Series Lacrosse season

By Jeff Gard, Northumberland Today

COBOURG - 

The Cobourg Nissan Kodiaks are building their roster as they prepare for their second Major Series Lacrosse season.

The Kodiaks had nine picks, including the first and third overall selections, in the recent MSL draft.

Chris Cloutier, an all-American NCAA Division 1 standout from the University of North Carolina, was chosen first overall by the Kodiaks. He's a Kitchener native who was the MVP of the 2016 NCAA Division 1 championship field lacrosse playoffs.

“He was the above-the-crowd kind of phenomenal player that we were looking for,” said Kodiaks general manager John Webb. He's an NCAA Division 1 All-American.

“He's played at this level before. He got called up when he was 17-years-old and played for the Kitchener Kodiaks back then,” Webb noted, adding that Cloutier scored around 15 points in only a handful of games during that stretch.

“He proved four years ago that he could play in this league,” the GM also said. “He's a great offensive threat on the left side. He's definitely that go-to guy that can step in as a rookie and contribute offensively.”

Webb said overall the draft was a great way to continue building an exciting roster for the lacrosse fans in Cobourg.

“We were very fortunate to pick up some really key pieces offensively and defensively,” he said.

Joel Coyle, taken third overall, for example, is considered a defensive specialist on the left side.

“We went with a really good athlete in Joel Coyle out of Orangeville. He was the captain of the junior A Northmen who went to the Minto Cup (Canadian junior) championship. He's ready to step in. He's one of those all work ethic guys who can play at either end. It's just 100 per cent effort every shift.”

Also drafted by the Kodiaks were: seventh overall Dylan Hutchison (transition) from Peterborough Jr. A; 11th overall Andy Campbell (offense) from Orangeville Jr. A; 15th overall Jamie McMahon from Orangeville Jr. A; 19th overall Drake Smith (offense) from Kitchener Waterloo Jr. A; 20th overall Logan Holmes (offense) from Windsor Jr. B; 25th overall Cole McWilliams (transition) from Peterborough Jr. A: and 26th overall Josh Miller (defence/transition) from Peterborough Jr. A.

Webb pointed out that Holmes scored over 200 points in 34 games for Windsor last season. That draft pick as well as the one that secured Miller for the Kodiaks were the result of a trade.

Cobourg dealt the rights to former Kitchener MSL player Jordan Dance to Brampton for Dan Keane and the two picks.

Webb said Keane is a former Division 1 star at University of Delaware, an “amazing offensive threat from the right side” and who is “very excited to attend camp and play for us this year.” The GM added that Keane was a late cut for Toronto Rock last year and is currently playing in Arena Lacrosse League, and is second in league scoring with 29 points in five games for the Paris RiverWolves.

Prior to the draft, the Kodiaks were also able to protect Joel Tinney from the Toronto Beaches, the closest junior affiliate for the Kodiaks. He's another NCAA player, playing for John Hopkins University.

“He's another real offensive threat on the left side,” Webb said.

Webb expects 12 to 15 players from last season to return with camp opening in mid-to-late April and MSL season beginning at the end of May.

Most home games will once again be Sunday nights at 6 p.m. at the Cobourg Community Centre. The full schedule will be released soon. The club, which had Cobourg Nissan return as title sponsor, averaged more than 900 fans per game last season at the CCC.