The Langley Thunder have loaded up for the stretch drive in their quest for a third straight Western Lacrosse Association championship.
The senior A men’s lacrosse team was able to secure the transfer of a trio of players from the Ontario lacrosse clubs which held their playing rights on Wednesday night, just ahead of the transfer deadline.
The Thunder have added Mark Matthews — whom they tried to get last season — and Adam Jones from the Brooklin Redmen and Jeremy Noble of the Kitchener-Waterloo Kodiaks.
“I was just happy to get the call,” said Thunder vice-president and general manager Rob Buchan. “Grateful.”
Matthews was a first round pick (fifth overall) of Langley in the 2012 WLA junior draft.
Both Jones and Matthews were also first overall picks in the 2011 and 2012 National Lacrosse League drafts, respectively, by the Colorado Mammoth and the Edmonton Rush. Both players went on to win the league’s rookie of the year awards in their respective inaugural seasons, as well.
Noble, who is eligible for the 2013 NLL draft, is expected to be the top pick.
All three are good friends and have played together previously, Buchan said.
And all bring some offence.
“Very smart lacrosse players with very good abilities on the offensive end of the floor,” Buchan said. “Good passers, good finishers and just all-around great players.”
Matthews and Jones are left-handers, which will help Langley. The Thunder have struggled in the absence of left-handed offensive threat Lewis Ratcliff, who is out for the season because of a Canadian Lacrosse Association suspension. He has appealed but would have missed the season anyway because of shoulder surgery.
“To add those three guys to Garrett (Billings) and Athan (Iannucci) and (Alex) Turner Shayne Jackson, it will definitely be the best offence we have ever had,” Buchan said.
“This is a huge addition.”
Matthews, a 6-foot-4 210-pounder, was fifth in NLL scoring with 38 goals and 69 points in 16 games for Edmonton.
— Mark Matthews (@markmatthews222) June 27, 2013
Jones, a 5-foot-11 175-pounder, had 29 goals and 76 points his first year and 33 goals and 72 points in 2013 for Colorado.
— Adam Jones (@thejonesy16) June 27, 2013
Noble is a 5-foot 8, 165-pound junior with the Denver University Pioneers.
— Jeremy Noble (@jernoble45) June 27, 2013
As part of the agreement to let the players suit up for Langley, one of the stipulations is that their rights transfer back to their Ontario clubs for 2014.
As for what it cost the organization, Buchan did not provide the actual amount, but said it was nowhere near the six figures being reported.
“Nothing like what was reported,” he said. “Nothing out of the norm from regular transfers for high profile players; the same type of thing that we received for Garrett Billings when he went back east.”