Lakers go to Church

Monday evening, Paul Rowbotham went to Langley and did a bit of gambling, but not at the Cascades Casino.

His first roll of the dice wasn’t too risky as the Burnaby Lakers general manager selected Robert Church of the Minto Cup champion Coquitlam Jr. Adanacs fourth overall in the Western Lacrosse Association draft.

Although Church, who is heading into his senior season at Drexel University, is only five-foot-10, his skill is sky high. He demonstrated that with 21 goals and 48 points in just eight playoff games last season. He also ran the powerplay for the senior Adanacs during two post-season games.

“What I like about him is he’s a good lacrosse player, but what I really liked about him is he was playing as a junior [in the WLA playoffs when], as soon as you walk on the floor there’s pressure on you, and he ran the power play like he’d been doing it all year,” said Rowbotham.

“It didn’t seem to faze him. I would have been scared. Here you are setting up the power play to go to the Mann Cup, and it never seemed to bother him. His biggest attribute is between the ears. He’s a smart kid, and then to back it up, he’s got good soft hands, he can move the ball and he can shoot.”

The big gamble came two picks later when the Lakers took six-foot-three, 225-pound New Westminster native Tyler Digby. He had 94 points in 17 games for the Jr. Salmonbellies in 2011 but did not play in 2012.

Digby is heading into his senior season at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh where he plays on the field lacrosse and football teams. He told Rowbotham he’ll wait until the CFL draft on May 6 to see if he gets selected or if he’s able to get a free-agent tryout if he doesn’t.

“It was a chance we took,” said Rowbotham. “He’s a big body, he’s got really good hands, he can shoot and he can do all that stuff.”

Burnaby didn’t have a second-round pick, but took Hamish Brindel of the Delta Islanders with the first selection of the third round, 15th overall, and then Nathan Klein from Coquitlam with the last pick of that round, 21st overall.

The Lakers’ other picks were Richard Lachlan (Port Coquitlam), Brock Whitely (PoCo), Brian Gillis (Langley), faceoff specialist Andrew Bromley (PoCo), Sean O’Neill (Delta), Emerson Scharnberg (Coquitlam), Nicholas Kozuback (Delta) and Jamie Malanfant (Delta).


• The first Burnaby Jr. Laker taken was David Beaumont by the New Westminster Salmonbellies in the seventh round.



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