2022 was not the year anyone hoped for the Jr. A Brampton Excelsiors. After two years off from COVID, and news that the much anticipated return of the Major Excelsiors would have to wait another year, eyes turned to the Brampton junior clubs. Both teams missed the playoffs, with the A’s particularly struggling in a very talented league. However, the season was not without its highlights and plenty of positive takeaways.
“We came into the season with only seven veterans, and of those seven, only four had played a regular season Jr. A game before.” said Head Coach Paddy O’Toole. “That means we played every game with 16 players who had never played Jr. A before.” This was a significant set back for the team in a league where many future NLL stars prove themselves. “It was a steep learning curve as the skill and speed of a Jr. A game is different.”
O’Toole will be returning this year for his second season heading up the bench, with his assistant coaches Dylan Evans and Michael Burke coming back as well. These coaches came away from 2022 looking at the silver linings. “We had some tough ones early,” Paddy explained. “but as the season went along you could see the players’ talent and lacrosse I.Q. start to kick in and our on floor play improved dramatically.” The bench boss has confidence in his team for the upcoming season. “Now with 16 players returning we look to build on that late season success and hit the ground running in 2023.”
Behind the scenes, General Manager Chris Lowe has been busy solidifying the Jr. A Excelsiors for 2023 and beyond. “Last year was a total rebuild with 18 players graduating from the COVID shutdown.”
Lowe took over as GM in 2022 following the replacement of the BELC’s Board of Directors. “We had no draft picks for the next three years, so we had to make smart moves to rebuild those picks while developing our young players and knowing our pipeline from minor coming in the next few years.”
Stepping into a situation like that can be a daunting task, but Chris has made sure to surround himself with strong people who will support him. “We have a very committed, quality staff that is very engaged and communicates well to establish where we need to improve and work towards the end goal.” He is full of confidence in the direction the team is heading. “Our future is bright and we will continue instilling the Excelsiors’ culture as we continue in 2023.”
The Jr. A Excelsiors open the 2023 season on May 20th, with two games on the road before their home opener on May 26th. Join us at Memorial arena to cheer the team on as they host the visiting Whitby Warriors, game time 8:00 pm. Kids accompanied by an adult and wearing an Excelsiors’ jersey will be admitted free . The team’s full schedule can be found on our Jr. A team page.