The season may have ended disappointingly early and the sting is still fresh, but the Burnaby Lakers have a few things to celebrate.
The Western Lacrosse Association unveiled its awards this week, with a handful of Burnaby players – and coach – earning kudos for the past season.
The Lakers head coach Peter Tellis was named the Dorothy Robertson Coach of the Year, after piloting the club to a 10-7-1 record. It was good enough to tie for fourth place, but due to a losing record against fellow 10-7-1 rival Nanaimo, left them outside the playoff picture.
It was a big improvement over 2018’s lean 6-11-1 mark.
In a statement posted on Lakers' Twitter account, Tellis shared the award with his assistants, Kyle Sorensen, Julian Kolbe and Adrian Yorke, team staff and the Lakers players.
“This is a group award and I’m honoured to share it with all these people,” he stated.
Burnaby’s Robert Church, meanwhile, was presented the Commission Trophy as the Most Valuable Player.
Available to play most of the team’s regular season games after a rare early playoff loss with the National Lacrosse League’s Saskatchewan Rush, Church finished second in WLA scoring with a league-best 43 goals and 44 assists, just three points back of scoring champion Mitch Jones of New West.
Church was also selected to the first all-star team. Joining him on the first team were New Westminster Salmonbellies' Mitch Jones and Mike Messenger, Maple Ridge's Frank Scigliano, Victoria’s Graeme Hossack and Nanaimo’s Jon Phillips.
On the second all-star team, Burnaby netminder Eric Penney and team captain Dane Stevens led the way. Penney turned aside a league-best 674 shots (tied with New West's Alexis Buque) and posted 10 wins and the fourth-best goals-against average at 8.58 per game. Stevens finished 12th in league scoring with 25 goals and 30 assists over 16 games.
The second all-star team also included New West's Brett Mydske and Jordan McBride, Victoria’s Steve Priolo and Chris Boushy, Maple Ridge's Mike Mallory and Coquitlam’s Jaeden Gastaldo.
Boushy would be selected as the league’s Ed Bayley Memorial Award rookie of the year, while Hossack was honoured as the first recipient of the newly named Les Wingrove Memorial Award, for the top defensive player.
Scigliano was voted the Leo Nicholson Memorial Award winner as the WLA’s top netminder.