Toronto, ON- Its time for the showdown. The Cross-Canada battle, between two cities that have an underlying respect for each other, but not on Saturday, as Vancouver, the pride of the west takes on Toronto, the New York of the north. It’s two cities, two identities and two lifestyles, all of which go head to head on the floor between the Toronto Rock and Vancouver Warriors Saturday night at Scotiabank Arena.
Both of these teams have been featured in 49 Sports previews, however, lots has changed since we last checked in with Vancouver’s Warriors. Being located in Vancouver the Warriors are far away from the CUFLA scene, meaning many of their players have spent time in the NCAA rather than north of the 49th parallel.
Their only player who kind of played U Sports remains Tyler Codron, who played football with the University of British Columbia. So far this year, Codron has played all nine games, however, his offensive output is not one to be jealous of. The defensman has posted three assists and has yet to get himself a goal. Codron, who has been in the league since 2008 was on the minds of the Toronto Rock in 2010, when he was selected by Canada’s only team at the time in the NLL dispersal draft, that followed the folding of Codron’s original Portland LumberJax.
While there is no CULFA alumni on the Warriors, it does not mean that Codron hasn’t crossed paths with any of Toronto’s CUFLA talents. Reid Reinholdt, a forward for the Rock and alumni of Western University plays his summer lacrosse in Coquitlam, BC, meanwhile Codron suits up for the Maple Ridge Burrards who reside less than an hour away. Lots of the talent between the two teams have spent time in the WLA, as it is one of the destinations of choice for players who wish to compete in the box throughout the majority of the year.
Although Vancouver are light on their CUFLA content, it’s more than made up for by the six who play for the Toronto Rock. All that said, we will not see all six suit up against Vancouver as Brock’s Brandon Slade and Latrell Harris have been on the shelf for some time.
Laurier grad Riley Hutchcraft is a possibility between the pipes, however, unlikely considering the stellar play of starting netminder Nick Rose. The other CUFLA players on the roster are Nipissing’s Scott Dominey, who scored last week, McMaster’s Jaimseon Dilks, who was scratched the previous game, as well as the aforementioned Reid Reinholdt.
The top scorer from that handful of players has been Reinholdt, who had two assists in last week’s win over the Buffalo Bandits. However, if Brandon Slade comes back in, he also has scored four points in five games, not a bad output from the Badger.
Other than the CUFLA content, there is a much bigger picture of the game:
The Alterna Cup.
Toronto and Halifax have both matched up in the newly founded Canadian NLL Championship, but the Warriors have yet to play any Canadian based teams. Vancouver has had a tough time against the Rock dating back all the way to when the Warriors were still under the brand of the Washington Stealth.
The last time that the Warriors/Stealth organization got a win in Toronto was in 2012, making the game all the more important for Vancouver on Saturday. The records of the two teams so far this season are fairly equal, although Toronto do have the upper hand.
Despite having an extra win, the Rock still find themselves third in the division, rather than the Warriors who sit second. Toronto only sits a game back of North division leaders Halifax, meaning a win against Vancouver could be crucial to playoff aspirations. Vancouver on the other hand, well they are hoping to end the losing streak against the Rock and keep themselves in the post-season conversation.
It’s less CUFLA content than one would have guessed between the two sides, but it’s Vancouver vs Toronto, a rivalry that never disappoints in any medium.