Mann Cup Preview
The 2022 Mann Cup has the Major Series Lacrosse Peterborough Century 21 Lakers hosting the Western Lacrosse Association Langley Thunder in a best-of-seven series for national supremacy.
The Thunder face the daunting task of trying to break a long period of no WLA team winning the Mann Cup in the East since 1986 - when New Westminster beat Brooklin in 6 games.
The Thunder originated as the North Shore Indians in 1994, before relocating to Kelowna as the Okanagan Thunder (2000-2001). After a brief return to North Shore (2002-2003), the Thunder have played out of Langley since 2004.
Finishing with a 12-6 record in the regular season, they defeated the Victoria Shamrocks in 6 games in the WLA semifinal and followed that up by eliminating the Nanaimo Timbermen in 5 games to win the 2022 WLA title, their third in team history. The Thunder previously won the WLA championship in 2011 and 2012.
In 2011, the Thunder hosted the Mann Cup, losing to the Brampton Excelsiors in 5 games. In 2012, they travelled to Peterborough, losing in 6 games.
The Thunder are led by general manager Rob Buchan, head coach Rod Jensen and assistant coach Fred Klomp and offensive coordinator Dave Pym.
The Thunder roster is loaded with offensive firepower, including Dane Dobbie, former Laker Curtis Dickson, Connor Robinson, Chase Scanlan, Dylan Kinnear and Robert Church.
In goal, Frank Scigliano and Steve Fryer provide outstanding ball stopping capability.
On defence, stalwart players such as Cal Slade, Reece Callies, Trent Kellner and Tyler Sceviour make it difficult for opposition offensive players.
The Lakers finished in second place during the MSL regular season with a 7-5 record. In the semifinal, they defeated the Brooklin Lacrosse Club in 5 games and followed up by winning the Ontario championship in 6 games over the Six Nations Chiefs.
Having a roster stacked with Mann Cup experience, the Lakers have an opportunity to win their fourth consecutive Mann Cup.
The Lakers brain trust include general manager Paul Day, along with head coach Mike Hasen and assistant coaches Tracey Kelusky and Bob Keast.
On the floor, the Lakers offence is led by Joe Resetarits, Shawn Evans, Thomas Hoggarth, Holden Cattoni, Cory Vitarelli, Mark Matthews and Kiel Matisz.
The team has a troop of solid defenders, which include Lakers team captain Robert Hope, along with Chad Tutton, Bryce Sweeting, Ian Llord, Paul Dawson, Matt Gilray and Eric Shewell.
A trio of stellar goaltenders Doug Buchan, Mike Poulin and Matt Vinc guard the nets.
“The Langley Thunder, like any visiting team, faces the daunting task of having to travel across the country and play on the road in front of a passionate and loyal hometown fan base," WLA Commissioner Paul Dal Monte said. "However, the Thunder have veteran leadership and talent that gives them a legitimate shot to win.”
In no way is Commissioner Dal Monte conceding the Thunder cannot win the Mann Cup.
“Having been involved in more than a few Mann Cups over the years as both a player and commissioner, I hesitate to speculate on the outcome," Del Monte said. "Peterborough is a great team and an organization littered with current and future Hall of Famers, but at the end of the day, you still have to play the games and take things one shift, one game at a time”.
It appears, the 2022 Mann Cup is shaping up to be perhaps a classic battle between two teams with outstanding goaltending, strong defensive units and an array of deadly offensive talent. Fans should prepare themselves for end-to-end excitement from some of the greatest lacrosse players in the world.