Thunder add nine at WLA Draft

by Gary Ahuja

Caleb Pearson (#88) will continue his lacrosse in Langley after the Thunder selected him in the first round of the 2021 WLA Graduating Junior Draft on February 11. Gary Ahuja Langley Events Centre photo

The Langley Thunder added nine new faces to the program as part of the 2021 Western Lacrosse Association Graduating Junior Draft on Thursday night.

The Thunder chose to forego protecting a territorial pick and instead received a compensatory pick, using that to select Thomas Vaesen.

During the 2019 BC Junior A Lacrosse League season, Vaesen led all players with 53 goals and was fourth with 100 points in 21 games. That came on the heels of a 37-goal, 66-point season in 20 games in 2018.

The Thunder used their first-round selection (sixth overall) to draft Caleb Pearson out of the Langley Junior Thunder program.

Langley had a trio of second-round selections, drafting Erik Maas (ninth overall), Cal Slade (11th overall) and Aidan Ellis (14th overall). Slade played for the Junior Thunder while Ellis comes from the Delta Islanders organization. Maas played for the New Westminster Junior Salmonbellies program and received the team’s Ab Brown Award as Most Inspirational Player in 2019.

In the fifth round, Langley picked another Delta player, drafting Riley Merritt while the team’s sixth and seventh round picks – Joshua Bourne and Jordan Roberts – were both from the Richmond Roadrunners Junior Tier 1 program. And with their eighth-round pick, the Thunder chose Brayden Oake out of the Coquitlam Adanacs Junior Tier 1  program.

Including Pearson and Slade, a total of nine members of the Langley Thunder Junior program were also among the draftees.

Dylan McIntosh was a territorial protection pick of his hometown Maple Ridge Burrards while Nick Scott was selected by the Victoria Shamrocks as compensatory pick. The Burnaby Lakers then traded for the third overall selection to draft Connor Watson.

Riley Richardson was drafted by the New Westminster Salmonbellies in round five and a trio of Junior Thunder players went in round six with Kyle Nichols going to the Coquitlam Adanacs, Jackson Cowie to Burnaby and Joshua Brunsch to Maple Ridge. Brunsch played in 2019 with Langley in the BC Junior Tier 1 Lacrosse League.