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A former ‘unsung hero’ takes charge of Langley’s Sr. A Thunder

Ian Poole was assistant coach last season
A familiar face has taken the helm of the Langley Sr. A Thunder as Ian Poole has been named the new head coach of the Senior A Western Lacrosse Association squad. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

A familiar face has taken the helm of the Langley Thunder as Ian Poole has been named the new head coach of the Senior A Western Lacrosse Association squad.

The announcement was made April 30.

Poole played for the Thunder organization, helping them win back-to-back WLA championships in 2011 and 2012 – he was the recipient of the league’s Unsung Hero Award that second season.

READ ALSO: ‘Relentless’ Langley defender recognized with unsung hero award

Last summer, Poole served as the team’s assistant coach under head coach Curt Malawsky.

“The love of the game got me into coaching. As a player, I was always analyzing the game and communicating with my teammates, so that is what jump-started me into coaching,” Poole said. “Even though it was a brief time with Curt, I learned about how important composure on the bench and accountability are as a head coach. Being able to learn things from one of the top coaches around is invaluable.”

After playing his minor lacrosse in North Delta, Poole spent his junior years in New Westminster before embarking on his senior career, starting in Maple Ridge, and then in Langley.

He has settled in Langley and his three sons play within the Langley Minor Lacrosse Association, where Poole also helps coach their respective teams.

“I’m proud to announce Thunder alum Ian Poole as our seventh head coach in franchise history,” said Langley general manager Rob Buchan. “Ian was a student of the game as a player and is no different as a coach, bringing his calm demeanor behind the bench.

“We are looking forward to seeing him put his mark on the team with a hard-working, blue-collar style of play.”

Langley embarks on their 2024 WLA campaign on May 24 with a visit to Victoria to face the Shamrocks before playing their home opener at Langley Events Centre on Wednesday May 29 at 7:30 p.m. versus the New Westminster Salmonbellies.

Joining Poole behind the bench will be his brother Bryan, who will coach the offence, and Remo Spagnuolo, who is back for another season as the defensive coach.

“Remo has been around the league for a long time and seen the game from every angle and he’s great with the guys,” Poole said.

Working alongside his brother is nothing new as both have played and coached together for most of their adult lives.

“Bryan has always been more offensive-minded and has great game sense while I have been more defensive-minded, so we compliment each other well,” he said. “I know there’s a lot of talent on this roster and I’m excited to see what he has in store.”

Most recently, the Poole’s coached together in the Arena Lacrosse League, helping the Black Fish win the West Division championship.

The Thunder are coming off a 14-4 regular season which saw them advance to game 7 of the WLA Finals with Malawsky at the helm.

READ ALSO: Langley Thunder fall in make-or-break game 7

“I am super excited to take this challenge on,” Ian Poole said. “Having last year to get my feet wet is nice and I’m looking forward to keep the train rolling, so to speak.”

As for what fans can expect in 2024, the head coach said Langley will play a diligent, energetic, gritty style of lacrosse with an emphasis on working hard.

They also want to continue fostering a relationship with the community and giving the young players a goal to pursue.

“It is really cool to see how excited these young kids are when you tell them you are coaching the senior team,” he said. “That sense of community is huge, and we want these young players to grow up with a goal in mind to one day be able to play for the Langley Thunder Senior A team.

“It was nice last year looking up in the stands and seeing lots of familiar faces, so hopefully we can keep that going,” he added. “You have the best lacrosse players in the world playing five or 10 minutes from your house and that’s pretty cool.”

In addition to announcing the coaching staff, the Thunder named Stu Sterparn as the team’s director of scouting for Alberta and Saskatchewan. Sterparn has a long history in the game, coaching at various levels, including as head coach of the Serbian National team for the past eight years and for various teams at both the Junior B and Senior B levels in Alberta, among others. He also runs Northern Edge Athletics, a lacrosse/hockey store in Edmonton. And Murray Douglas is joining the Thunder as the team’s equipment manager.

Dan Ferguson

About the Author: Dan Ferguson

Best recognized for my resemblance to St. Nick, I’m the guy you’ll often see out at community events and happenings around town.
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