Junior Stealth invitation letters from Stealth President and General Manager Doug Locker will begin going out soon for a handful of selected British Columbia's top youth lacrosse athletes. Approximately 100 of BC's top players in the peewee, bantam, and midget age groups will soon have the opportunity to represent their province in three major tournaments this summer.
The Junior Stealth Black Teams (peewee, bantam, midget) will compete at the Canada Day Tournament in Calgary, then will go to San Jose, California for the USBOXLA Nationals, and will end the season at the National Lacrosse League's Junior Tournament.
The Junior Stealth Red Teams (peewee, bantam) will also compete in Calgary and San Jose. As the NLL only allows one team from each division, the Red Team players will receive a complimentary entry to the Stealth's Top Cheese 3v3 Tournament.
Full details on the team selection process, costs, and travel may be found in the Junior Stealth section of this website.
The Junior Stealth were one of 102 teams competing from Alberta and neighboring provinces in the 39th Annual Canada Day Lacrosse tournament in Calgary, Alberta this past weekend.
The Junior Stealth were represented in three categories of the “B” bracket; Pee Wee (10 and 11 year olds), Bantam (12 and 13 year olds), and Midget (14 and 15 year olds). Each team played two games on Saturday and Sunday and one game on Monday.
"It’s always fun attending the Canada Day Tournament and it makes it even more enjoyable seeing all three of our teams do so well,” said Doug Locker, President and General Manager of Stealth Lacrosse Academy. “It's pretty special seeing each team develop over the weekend and to watch the connection between players and coaches. I'm already looking forward to getting these teams together again for our next two tournaments."
For the second year in a row, the Midget team captured gold in the ‘B’ Division, downing Moose Jaw 4-3 in a physical final on Monday morning. The game featured outstanding goaltending from both teams. The Junior Stealth were the top seed with 45 goals scored while only allowing 9 in the round robin. The team beat Cali Lax 9-4 in the semi-final, going a perfect 5-0, despite playing with only nine runners and two goalies throughout the entire tournament. The Midget team was coached by Stealth defender Kyle Sorensen.
The Bantam team was also the number one seed after the round robin, outscoring their opponents 58-2. They made it to the Gold Medal game after a 13-1 semi-final win against Blackfalds on Sunday. That set up a final against the second seed, Standing Buffalo on Monday afternoon. In a hard fought defensive matchup, the Junior Stealth fell 4-3, picking up the Silver Medal. The Bantam team was coached by Stealth transition player Tyler Garrison.
The Pee Wee’s won three of four round robin games, scoring a division high 49 goals and only gave up 14. The team won bronze, defeating Medicine Hat 8-2 on Monday morning. They dropped a tight 7-6 decision to Medicine Hat in their opening game on Friday before bouncing back with a convincing 19-1 victory over the Knights later that afternoon. On Saturday the team defeated High River 13-3 and Prince George 11-3 to advance to the Bronze Medal game. They were coached by Stealth transition player Jarrett Toll and Stealth defender and captain Curtis Hodgson. Hodgson is also the Director of Stealth Lacrosse Academy.
“I am thrilled with how our first weekend of Junior Stealth tournament competition went in Calgary,” said Hodgson. “Obviously having all 3 teams medal is a nice accolade, but it was more gratifying to watch the kids on each team improve and develop over the course of the gtournament. We are lucky to have great coaching and support systems in place for our kids. I'm looking forward to getting ready for and competing in California.”
The Junior Stealth teams include players from Campbell River, up to the Shuswap and as far south as Seattle.
The Junior Stealth are off to their next tournament, August 1-2, USBOXLA Nationals taking place in Irvine, California.
The Vancouver Stealth and CitySide Lax announced a strategic partnership to develop youth lacrosse players in the Pacific Northwest. The partnership aims to advance skills and lacrosse IQ, and increase the number and quality of competitive events for rising players. Importantly, the duo will bring a set of instruction using both box and field lacrosse that has been proven to quickly improve athlete skills and game wisdom for any age player.
Curtis Hodgson, Director of Stealth Lacrosse Academy, said this about the relationship, “It was important for us to partner with an organization that shares our desire to provide a positive environment for developing players. We always play to win, but we also want kids to love the game and learn other lessons. We’ve known and played lacrosse with the Cityside Lax founders for years and have the greatest respect for what they’ve developed.”
CitySide Lax co-founder Chris O’Dougherty responded, “We are extremely excited about our partnership with the Vancouver Stealth. After being a part of the Stealth organization as a player for the past six years, I'm thrilled to join the Vancouver Stealth’s efforts to grow the game. Our organization, CitySide Lax is looking forward to the opportunity to continue to make a positive impact as coaches. We believe the Vancouver Stealth and newly named Director of Stealth Lacrosse Academy, Curtis Hodgson can help us deliver our mission of “Perfecting F.U.N.”
The Stealth have been conducting youth box lacrosse camps and clinics in the Pacific Northwest since 2009. Its Junior Stealth program consists of invited players who compete in box lacrosse tournaments across the United States and Canada. Since its founding, Junior Stealth teams have won medals in prestigious events, including the Canada Day Tournament in Calgary, the largest box lacrosse tournament in the world; USBOXLA Nationals, one of the top box lacrosse tournaments in the U.S.; Battle in the Box, and the National Lacrosse League’s Junior Tournament.
Founded by National Lacrosse League and Major League Lacrosse pros Drew Snider and Chris O’Dougherty, CitySide Lax has quickly developed into one the Pacific Northwest’s premier lacrosse training and travel teams. The founders developed a training model based on F.U.N. (Fundamentals, Understanding, and Next level) that has earned Cityside Lax respect from players, parents, and coaches in the region.
For more information on the Stealth Lacrosse Academy or the Junior Stealth teams, please contact Curtis Hodgson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on CitySide Lax programs, please contact Chris O’Dougherty at OD@citysidelax.com.
Reigning National Lacrosse League Rookie of the Year and Vancouver Stealth forward Logan Schuss was named the Stealth Lacrosse Academy Offensive Coordinator in a first for the team. Schuss will be instrumental in developing an offensive system that youth players will understand and can implement in tournaments this summer.
In addition to his box lacrosse skills, Schuss is an accomplished field lacrosse athlete. He was a captain at NCAA Division I Ohio State University, where he was a three-time first team All-ECAC, 2010 ECAC Rookie of the Year and 2012 ECAC Offensive Player of the Year. He was the three-time winner of team's Offensive MVP award and won Community Service accolade as a freshman. His 147 career goals at Ohio State set a school record by a margin of 21 goals. He is the second all-time points leader at OSU.
As a youth coach, Schuss is well-known in his hometown of Ladner, BC for giving back to the game. His youth camps are a highlight for the area's youth players.
A big welcome to our new Stealth Lacrosse Academy Director, Curtis Hodgson. "Hodgie" as he's known in the locker room is a veteran coach and an outstanding role model. He teaches social studies and P.E. and is the athletic director at his school. He is the Stealth's longest playing athlete and a widely respected defender in the National Lacrosse League.
As the Academy Director, Hodgson will oversee all elements of training, tournaments, and coaching. He is one of the most positive coaches the Stealth management has had the pleasure of observing and is a favorite of youth athletes. He was named Team Captain of the Stealth this season and has had a huge role in mentoring the rookies as they adjust to the expectations of professional play.
Asked about his new role with the Academy, Hodgson said, "I am honoured and excited about the opportunity to be Stealth Academy Director. As an educator and team captain I have a strong passion for teaching and mentoring players as well as growing the game of lacrosse. I've worked closely with the program over the last couple of years and look forward to building and contributing to the Academy."
Click HERE to see the Stealth's press release for more information on Hodgson.
A great weekend in Denver, except for the bad weather at the tail end that affected flights home. No matter. We walked away from the tournament with two gold medals (Pee Wees and Midgets) and a silver (Bantams).
Saturday was a blur. After finally settling into rooms around midnight on Friday, our first group of kids were in the vans at 7:30am with a first game at 8:30am. Denver time. Fortunately, the same kids who probably can't be bothered to wake before 11am on most weekends were rarin' to go when they got to the rink. All three of our teams went to business quickly, making swift work of the opponents. The rest of the day went similarly, with just two losses on the day; one each for the Bantams and Midgets. Several of the kids then went on to play in the All-Star game before they could get a meal and tuck in for the night.
Sunday started even earlier. With the first playoff game scheduled for 7:30am, the Pee Wees were in the vans at 6:30am. Ouch. As with the prior day, each of the Junior Stealth teams dispatched their semi-final competitors to set up championship possibilities. At one point in the morning, the author was standing near a group of parents marveling at the talent on the Bantam team. A know-it-all dad said the Junior Stealth prowess was due to the players being Canadian and growing up playing box lacrosse. Little did he know that most were Washingtonians who had only been introduced to the game in the past few years. No matter. Better to let them fear the "Canadians" than correct them.
The Pee Wees were again in a position to set the tone for championship play. They faced the CaliLAX team coached by former Stealth defenseman Shaydon Santos. The well-coached CaliLAX team had not performed well in Saturdays meeting with the Junior Stealth, but we knew they would be better prepared for a championship game. It was a battle. Goals were tougher to come by as the team defenses and goalies looked great on both sides. In the end, it came down to a shootout. With veteran Junior Stealth goalie Nolan Smith in net we had reason to be confident and he didn't let us down. He shook off every attempt as though he were Tyler Richards' younger brother. Now, someone from the Junior Stealth had to put the ball in the net on the other side. It was Joe Connelly who did it with style. After his finish he ran up the boards behind the net, getting big air to celebrate.
Cheering the Pee Wees were the Bantams, anxiously waiting their turn on the turf. We faced the hometown Denver Elite team, which had narrowly won on Saturday in a brutal match-up. On Sunday, however, it looked like they would run away with the title easily after two periods. The Junior Stealth found themselves uncharacteristically down 0-6 with just 15 minutes to go. Stealth defenseman and Junior Stealth Coach Curtis Hodgson stepped in to give a pep talk at the break. He was positive and the young athletes responded with five straight goals putting the Junior Stealth within one. With less than a minute to go, the coaches had no choice but to pull the goalie and attempt a six-on-five. It wasn't to be. A missed shot, the loose ball by Denver Elite and an empty net sealed the deal. The Bantam team would take silver, but proved they had heart and talent in that last fifteen minutes.
Finally, the Midget team stepped on the turf looking at the older group of Denver Elite players. As with the Bantams, the only team that had stopped the Junior Stealth on Saturday were the hometown favorites. The goalies on each side looked huge, filling the real estate in the four foot wide goals. Offensive tactics required players to get the goalies moving in order to find any light. Each team did find the net though, and this nail biter also ended tied with just two goals apiece. Justin McLellan stepped into goal for the Junior Stealth and was a brick wall against every shot coming his way in the shootout. To get the win, Briggan Weaver snuck it in five hole and the second gold of the day went to the Junior Stealth.
A final note. The coaches - Lewis Ratcliff, Curtis Hodgson, and Mitch McMichael - all commented on how much they enjoyed coaching this group of kids. One of the greatest compliments a coach can make about a player is that they are "coachable." The author heard that comment several times this weekend about the entire group of Junior Stealth athletes. Kudos to all the kids for that compliment and thanks to the parents for supporting and sacrificing for the next generation.
Denver Battle in the Box Tournament in full swing. We are looking good! Coaches are in great spirits and having fun with the kids, and the kids are exhausted but battling hard. All the kids are getting involved in the activity with tough defense, great goalkeeping, and outstanding offense. No team has scored more than six goals on us, while we have four games of at least 10 goals.
Honorable mentions for Tim McGonegle with six goals in his first Pee Wee game. Joe Connelly had four in the same game. In the most recent Midget game, Steele Fosth scored five goals, and Stuart McDonald aced four.
The Bantams are getting warmed up to play, so we'll report again this evening. Don't forget to check the scoreboard for updates.