2019 Junior A Season Embarks

by Aidan Rai

The winter snows have thawed, and spring has begun to bloom through the prairies. As Canadians begin to slowly creep out of their winter hibernation, the dawn of a fresh Junior A lacrosse season is at last upon us.  With the offseason drawing to a close and the first batch of competitions being prepared for this weekend, it is time to prepare ourselves for what is gearing up to be an interestingly unpredictable roller coaster of a season.

Kicking off the schedule will be a duo of battles between the St. Albert Miners and the Saskatchewan SWAT.  The SWAT have built themselves up as a competitive and formidable squad since their introduction to the league during the 2016 season and they are looking to snag their first league championship in 2019.  The team will likely be coming out of the gate full of determined energy after their frustrating six game elimination from the playoffs last season at the hands of the Mountaineers. Their first game will not be a walk in the park however as they are coming up against a revamped and reloaded array of Miners.

The most interesting development over the offseason that dropped the jaws of the most devoted lacrosse fans across the league was the merging of the two Edmonton based Junior A teams.  For years there have been two Edmonton teams, but due to disappointing results over the past few seasons, the Miners and the Blues (Formerly known as the Titans and the Eclipse) have fused together under the Miners banner. Since the announcement of this decision, the fate of this new team’s results has been up in the air.  Will these former foes be able to gel and combine? Will the concentration of the talent pool be enough to achieve success?  We will soon find out if Edmonton lacrosse can thrive once again.

The two Calgary based teams, the Mountaineers and the Raiders, do not start their seasons until May 25th.  Though this may be disappointing for fans in Calgary this scheduling will allow players still in University to return to their teams with more games remaining in their schedule, thus making the action that much more exciting once it begins.

The Okotoks Raiders captured the league championship last season with a seven-game series nail biter over the Mountaineers. While this team has achieved similar success in the past, their personnel are anxious for greater results at the national level in the Minto Cup tournament.  If they want to achieve such success however, they will need to first get past the strong competition in the RMLL.

Though achieving a Minto Cup berth, the Calgary Mountaineers fell to the Raiders in the league championship series last season.  After having a full offseason to dwell on their loss, they are likely to start their season with a bang, especially when they come up against their bitter Calgary rivals on June 5th.  They will have to deal with the other two teams before they can take their first swipe at revenge, however.

Four teams enter; one team leaves.  This is the script for every season.  Which team will emerge above all the rest?  We have a long way to go to the discover the answer, but the journey starts now.