Familiar face back to lead young Thunder

by Gary Ahuja


May 22, 2018

A familiar face is back behind the bench to lead a collection of new, young talent as the Langley Thunder look for a return to the Western Lacrosse Association post-season.

Head coach Rod Jensen returns after a two-year absence and at the height of the team’s greatest success, it was Jensen strategizing behind the bench.

From 2011 to 2015, the senior A lacrosse team won back-to-back WLA championships and made a pair of appearances in the Mann Cup Finals in 2011 and 2012.

And after moving to Australia for two years as part of a teaching exchange program, the veteran bench boss is back and ready to lead a young, but talented roster sprinkled with highly-touted players new to the WLA.

At the WLA draft in February, the Thunder had four of the first eight selections, nabbing Connor Robinson first overall, and then adding Eli Salama, Preston Lupul and Kai MacDonald at fifth, seventh and eighth overall, respectively.

Robinson led all BCJALL scorers with 50 goals while adding 80 assists in just 20 games last season. And over the course of his five-year junior career, he amassed 176 goals and 268 assists for 444 points in 96 games.

All four players, as well as Jake Sundar (fifth round, 29th overall) are signed for this season, as is 2017 first overall pick Tyler Pace and the team’s second round pick from that draft, Aiden Milburn, who missed all of last season with injury.

And among the returnees for 2018 are another pair of first round picks from last season, Reece Callies and Johnny Pearson, who were taken fourth and sixth, overall, respectively in 2017.

Added altogether and Langley has seven of the top 14 players selected in the previous two WLA drafts.

“We are definitely going to be young but we have some guys that have played in some really big games, some Minto Cup champions, some Mann Cup and some NLL experience as well,” said Thunder General Manager Rob Buchan. “We just have to spend some time together and let them gel as a team and hopefully with the right coaching, systems and some hard work, we will get to see some results.”

The GM is excited by the team’s depth up front and the Thunder should have some stability between the pipes as their goaltending boasts plenty of experience.

Tyler Richards and Brodie McDonald — who have been in the league since 2008 and 2011, respectively — will battle for time in the crease with Sundar.

The team’s first chance at game action is May 23 as they host the Burnaby Lakers at the Langley Events Centre. Game time is 7:30 p.m.


For more information:

Gary Ahuja, Langley Events Centre, C: 604.613.5242

Rob Buchan, Langley Thunder