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'Our expectations haven't changed at all': Burnaby Lakers ready to hit the floor for 2022 home opener

The local senior 'A' lacrosse club will host New Westminster on Friday (June 10) in a two-year return to Bill Copeland Arena.
Burnaby Lakers forward Philip Buque (#51) celebrates a goal with teammate Toron Eccleston (#98) on June 2, 2022, against the New Westminster Salmonbellies.

Like other teams, the Burnaby Lakers had a major disruption the past two seasons as a global pandemic paused numerous sports leagues.

But now, that's in the rear-view mirror. 

The club will make its long-awaited return to Bill Copeland Arena for its 2022 home opener on Friday (June 10) against a familiar face in the New Westminster Salmonbellies. 

Despite having the last two years cancelled, Burnaby Lakers general manager Kevin Hill said the situation created new opportunities for the team. 

"On the floor, we have three years of rookies that we needed to evaluate, not to mention due to COVID-19, some players have decided to retire or play at a different level," he told the NOW

"We are not the only team to experience this and a majority of teams in the WLA [Western Lacrosse Association] are going through the same process." 

Hill says his and the coaching staff's expectations haven't changed, wanting to see the team perform at a top-level throughout the year. 

"Myself and the coaches all have the same goals, having a good, productive season and making the playoffs. Once we make the playoffs, everyone knows anything can happen." 

Hill noted this year is going to be different for the league as a whole, saying there is a "youth movement" which he expects to result in a fast-paced season. 

"I know the Lakers will be playing a fast style of game and with the group of players we have assembled, our future is bright." 

The 2022 season is still very young, but the Lakers currently find themselves in sixth place with two points and a 1-2 record. 

Burnaby launched its latest WLA campaign — B.C.'s highest level of competitive lacrosse — on May 28, suffering a one-goal loss (14-13) against the Coquitlam Adanacs at the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex. 

On June 2, the Lakers rebounded, defeating the New Westminster Salmonbellies 13-11 on the road at Queen's Park Arena. 

The winning feeling came to a crashing halt the next night (June 3) against the Victoria Shamrocks when the Lakers suffered a 21-6 setback at the Q Centre. 

To date, forwards Connor Watson (four goals and nine assists) and Ryan Martel (six goals and seven assists) lead the team in scoring with 13 points each. 

For the Lakers' full schedule, you can visit the club's website.