For a handful of local lacrosse players, Wednesday was the start of something big.
The National Lacrosse League held it’s annual draft, which saw recent college grads and junior stars get the red carpet treatment in preparation for the upcoming winter season.
After the expansion New York Riptide tagged Ontarian Tyson Gibson with the first overall selection, the Burnaby Lakers’ Ryland Rees was grabbed by the expansion franchise Rochester Knighthawks. It was the second straight year that Rees was chosen second in a draft.
The Langley native, who wrapped up his Stony Brook University last spring, made his Western Lacrosse Association debut earlier this summer after being picked second overall in the WLA draft.
With Burnaby, Rees showed his versatility by producing four goals and two assists over nine games while playing a primarily defensive role.
In the second round, New Westminster junior Salmonbellie sniper Will Malcom was chosen by the Colorado Mammoth with the 23rd overall pick.
Malcom dominated the B.C. Junior A circuit this past summer, racking up a league-best 106 points, including 41 goals and 65 assists. His two-year total with the junior ‘Bellies is 67 goals and 122 assists over 42 games.
Also chosen in the second round was Nathan Kozevnikov, picked by the Buffalo Bandits. Kozevnikov, who played field lacrosse this past spring for Robert Morris University as well as with the Langley junior Thunder, had a brief stint with the New West junior squad in 2018.
In the fifth round, Vancouver used the 67th pick to chose ex-junior ‘Bellie Keegan Bell. The power forward spent the past year as a rookie in the WLA for both Victoria and Langley.
Ryan Jones, who played with the New West juniors in 2018, was selected 71st overall by the San Diego Seals.